Parking charge notices are not the same as the normal local authority-issued penalty charge notices. Or parking fines – that you may be used to getting.
These fines are the result of committing a parking violation when parked on private property. And have their own set of laws and restrictions to follow.
They even have different techniques for appealing, which is why it is critical to understand the distinction.
However, the rules for private parking are not always made clear before you enter the lot.
For example, did you know that you parked in a private parking space? You’re basically agreeing to a contract between you – the individual whose vehicle is registered in the DVLA database – and the car park operator.
This implies that you consent to their terms and conditions when you enter, sometimes without understanding them.
As a result, we’ve explained all you need to know right here, from how to avoid getting charged to how to appeal if you do get charged.
What precisely is a parking charge notice?
Parking Charge Notices are issued as a consequence of a parking violation on private property or in a car park maintained by a private organization on behalf of the landowner, and they are not enforced by the local roads authority or the police. This implies you are subject to a parking charge notice rather than a parking ticket or penalty charge notice issued by the local authorities.
Notably, the acronym for both is the same – PCN!
Parking Charge Notices are typically issued at airports, railway stations, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and out-of-town retail establishments, although they can also be found in other locations, such as private car parks along beaches.
The vital facts
- If you are unfortunate enough to incur a fine, a yellow plastic package identical to one you could receive from a local government will most likely be put on your windshield. This will normally state ‘Parking Charge Notice’ rather than ‘Penalty Charge Notice,’ and it will signal that the operator feels you have violated the car park’s terms and conditions.
- If the operator is a member of an approved trade organization, such as the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Committee (IPC), the ticket should explain why the violation occurred and how to pay, as well as how to appeal.
- Whoever is clamping or has clamped your car is breaking the law in England, Wales, and Scotland. Clamping on private property became unlawful in England and Wales in 2012, however, there may be local by-law exceptions, and signs to that effect should be placed. You have the legal right to call the police and report clamping.
Similarly, if someone demands punishment from you immediately, you should call the cops. However, if you overstay by half an hour and the attendant requests the standard fee for the extra half hour (with no penalty), this is considered reasonable.
Parking Charge Notices: Everything You Need to Know
- When parking your vehicle, always look for terms and conditions signage. If signs are difficult to detect or are obstructed, this may help you if you receive a parking charge notice.
- Make sure your car is parked within the bays; operators have been known to penalize drivers who park beyond the lines.
- Unless you have a blue badge, do not park in disabled parking spaces.
- Take note of the amount of time you have to park, when you parked, and whether you have to pay to use the parking lot. We recommend setting a timer on your phone/watch to remind yourself when you are expected to return.
- Local authorities in England only offer a 10-minute grace period.
Private parking companies are known to issue parking charge notices even if you are just a few minutes late. Unlike local authority parking in England, there is no statutory 10-minute grace period. Operators who are BPA members are supposed to abide by the BPA code of practice, which states that drivers should be given a 10-minute grace period. If you haven’t received a 10-minute grace period between when the ticket expired and when the parking notice was issued, you should have good grounds to appeal.
How to avoid car parking charging notices
To avoid car parking charging notices, also known as parking tickets or fines, here are some tips:
Follow Parking Regulations
Familiarize yourself with the parking regulations and restrictions in the area where you plan to park. Pay attention to signage, road markings, and any time restrictions. Ensure that you park in designated parking areas and follow any permit requirements.
Read and Understand the Signs
Pay close attention to parking signs in the area. They will provide you with information on parking rules, time limits, and any applicable charges. Take note of any specific instructions or restrictions mentioned on the signs.
Pay for Parking
If parking requires payment, ensure that you understand the payment method and rates. Use the designated parking meters, pay stations, or mobile payment apps to pay for your parking session. Keep the receipt or proof of payment in case you need to dispute any charges later.
Check for Exemptions or Free Parking
Some areas may offer exemptions or free parking during specific times or for certain vehicles (e.g., disabled parking, resident permits, or time-restricted free parking). Familiarize yourself with these exemptions and take advantage of them if applicable.
Observe Time Restrictions
Be mindful of any time restrictions for parking in a specific area. If there is a maximum allowed time, make sure to move your vehicle before the time limit expires. Set reminders if necessary to avoid overstaying.
Park in Designated Spaces
Avoid parking in areas that are not designated for parking, such as fire lanes, loading zones, or areas marked as no parking zones. Illegally parked vehicles are more likely to receive parking notices.
Display Parking Permits Clearly
If you have a parking permit, make sure it is properly displayed and visible. Follow any instructions provided with the permit to ensure it is correctly placed.
Be Mindful of Private Parking Areas
Private parking areas, such as shopping centers or residential complexes, often have their own parking rules and enforcement. Make sure to follow their guidelines, obtain permission if required, and park only in designated areas.
Regularly Check for Updates or Changes
Parking regulations can change, especially in busy areas or during specific events. Stay updated on any changes by checking local authorities’ websites, social media accounts, or contacting the relevant parking enforcement agencies.
Contest Unfair Notices
If you believe you have received an unfair or incorrect parking charge notice, you have the right to contest it. Follow the instructions provided on the notice for disputing the charge and provide any necessary evidence or documentation to support your case.
Remember, it is important to always park responsibly and adhere to parking regulations to avoid receiving parking charging notices. This is all for today, and we hope the next time you get a parking charge notice.. (hopefully not). Our Parking Charge Notices – what you need to know blog facts benefit you!