We have all experienced that feeling of frustration, anger, and confusion at least once in our life when we return to our carefully parked vehicle and find a penalty charge notice on the windshield. Where did we go wrong? Did we, in fact, even go wrong somewhere or could the fine be the result of an over-zealous parking attendant or some confusion over where parking is allowed and where it is not? Let’s take a look at what you can do if you think that you have received an unfair penalty charge notice.
Types of fines
First things first, it is important to know what type of fine you have received:
- Penalty (or excess) charge notice. These are issued by councils and apply to public land, such as the local high street, or a council-run car park.
- Parking charge notice. These apply to private land, such as a supermarket car park, and are issued by the landowner.
- Fixed penalty notice. Issued by the police where they manage parking, such as on red routes
The penalty charge notice appeals process
If you intend to appeal the fine, then do not pay it. Payment signifies acceptance of the charge and by extension the contravention. Take the following steps if you wish to lodge an informal appeal, which is the first step in the process:
- Take photos of the vehicle, where it is parked, and what notices are around it. Make sure to show where markings may be absent or unclear and/or signs are difficult to decipher. Also take photos of any pay and display tickets you may have and where they are placed in the vehicle.
- If you have any witnesses include a written statement from them, clearly marking it as such, explaining in their words what happened.
- If your vehicle was illegally parked because it was broken down then get a repair note, clearly including dates, from your mechanic.
- Write to the council enclosing all your evidence and include a letter stating exactly what happened and why you believe the fine is unfair. Many councils offer this as an online option where you can upload images of the photos you have taken. If this is not available then keep hold of the original photos and receipts and send copies; in the event things get lost in transit, you still have the originals. Also consider using recorded delivery to prove that they arrived at their destination.
If your informal appeal fails, you can still go down the route of a formal appeal. This is still free to do and the informal appeal rejection letter will give you details of how to do this. It is worth noting that the 50% discount will still apply if your informal appeal has been rejected, but the clock restarts at this point. Therefore, if the council’s reasons for rejection are strong, it is worth considering paying the fine.
If your formal appeal is rejected, your final recourse – for penalty charge notices only – is to go to tribunal. You can submit your evidence in writing, and it is free to do so, however, if your appeal fails and you refuse to pay, you will be liable to any court fees should the council decide to prosecute and your credit rating may be affected.
Next month we will look at the appeals processes for parking charge notices and fixed penalty notices. In the meantime, talk to our CVS Van Hire for any van hire needs on 020 8003 2785. Our wide selection of vehicles means we are sure to have the right one for you.