How to appeal a parking ticket

Car parking

Car parking (© Ford)

Last year, 7.8 million parking tickets were issued in the UK. That’s approximately one every four seconds and meant drivers had to fork out £255m in fines. But there’s good news for anyone who’s had the little plastic packet stuck to their windscreen: out of that total, one in 15 are successfully challenged. 

Barry Segal from AppealNow.com, a website offering consumer advice on parking tickets, said: “In my experience many people who believe that they have received unfair parking tickets do not bother to appeal to the council as they don’t believe they can win against the financial clout and resources of a local authority.
“Most interestingly, the success rate in the appeals to councils varies dramatically around the country. The City of Bradford Council cancels a mere 11 per cent of parking tickets appealed while Manchester Council cancels 36 per cent and Chichester in West Sussex cancels 72 per cent.”

Appealing a ticket is an involved process. This guide is for tickets given by police or local authorities for parking on the public highway, rather than parking on private land.

Act promptly and remember the discount!
The first step is deciding if you should actually go ahead and dispute the ticket. If you dispute the ticket informally within 14 days you should still be able to claim the 50 per cent discount. The early payment discount period is usually frozen until you receive a response. If you plan to appeal, don’t pay the ticket. That’s admitting liability.

Was it given fairly?
Once you’ve calmed down and considered the ticket objectively, was it given out fairly? Not all parking attendants are overzealous. And if you’ve stayed beyond the period you’ve paid for, or parked outside a box, or have a wheel up on the kerb, there probably aren’t any grounds for appeal.

Look at how it’s made out
Does the location on the ticket tally with where you were actually parked? Are the date, time of day and registration number of your vehicle all recorded correctly? If they’re not the ticket isn’t valid.

Where were you parked?
Have a look at the street markings. Is it clearly signposted and do the markings on the road make it clear that you’ve broken the rules? Do you have a case that will stand up if someone impartial and not emotionally involved looked into it?

Gather evidence
If you’re convinced you’ve been hard done by, gather evidence. Take photographs of unclear signs or road markings and the position that your car is in. Even take pictures of areas where there are no signs, if you believe signs should be there. Keep any paper work that may help you. It might be proof that you were on holiday and couldn’t have committed the offence, a letter confirming a bereavement that you might have been dealing with or a crime reference number if your vehicle was stolen.

Get witnesses
You may have been in a loading bay and stayed within the permitted time to unload; the attendant may have given you a ticket because he said you weren’t unloading. Get a signed statement from the person whose shop you were unloading for.

Act quickly
There’s no time to waste if you’re going to appeal a parking ticket. Pull together all the evidence of why you think the ticket was given wrongly and write it in a succinct, unemotional letter. Send this to the appeals address on the paperwork.

Good luck!

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