You may not know the difference between a Parking Charge Notice and a Penalty Charge Notice – but one is much easier to fight.
Motorists across Swindon could potentially save hundreds of pounds a year just by knowing their rights.
Penalty Charge Notices are only issued by an official body like a council or police force who are granted powers by legislation passed by Parliament and cover various parking misdemeanours including breaching the terms and conditions of parking in council controlled car parks and parking spaces.
But private companies have no such powers.
Private parking enforcement companies will try and trick you into thinking their notices are official by making them look as similar as possible to the official version.
Speaking on This Morning back in 2016, Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com explained where you stand when appealing the notices.
He said: “They do better impressions than Alistair McGowan to make you think it’s the same council or police type ticket. It’s very difficult to tell the difference.”
He goes on to explain that tickets from private companies are not fines and just invoices – but they are enforceable under contractual law.
The main point of his argument is that most companies will not take drivers to court over the fines, so they are therefore easier to get out of.
He added: “They are saying that they believe you owe them money – you may agree, you may disagree.”
He said you can therefore ignore it, contest it by letter, appeal through the firm’s own system or take the matter to court.
With council tickets – or tickets from official bodies – they can be appealed through an informal appeal, formal appeal or an independent tribunal – but it is less likely you will be successful.
How to contest a Parking Charge Notice?
Simply respond that you are refusing to pay.
DON’T say you are appealing the ticket, as this legitimises the ticket.
Also write “Without Prejudice” on the letter – then no information in the letter can be used against you.
What happens next?
If the company rejects your dispute, then you can escalate to the firm’s trade member association.
You must have an official reference number from the company and their reasons for rejecting your dispute.
They will refer you to POPLA, the Independent Tribunal for Parking Fines.
Around 40 per cent of appeals are upheld in the favour of the public.
If you wish to dispute the ticket, then you have 28 days in which to dispute after the firm that issued the ticket has rejected your appeal.