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Stop being chased for a parking ticket

This advice applies to England

You shouldn’t get letters demanding payment if you’re appealing a parking ticket or have already paid. Letters like this can be harassment, so you can take steps to stop them.

Don’t be tempted to ignore a letter about a parking ticket – even if you’ve paid – because it can have serious consequences.

If you’ve been contacted by bailiffs

You should act quickly if you’ve been sent a letter from a bailiff saying they’re going to take your belongings – called a ‘notice of enforcement’. 

You should refuse to let bailiffs in if they don’t have a correct court order – they can’t take your belongings without one. They have to wait 7 days - excluding Sundays and bank holidays - from when they sent you the notice of enforcement  before coming to your home. Read our advice on stopping bailiff action

The court order will be called a ‘warrant of control’ and it must have:

  • your name

  • your correct address

  • the name of the bailiff and their contact details

  • the date the court order was made – you should have been sent a letter from the court telling you about the court order

You can negotiate with a bailiff collecting an unpaid Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) by offering to pay some of what you owe now and the rest later. If they agree to your suggested payment plan they must leave your home.

Read more advice on what to do if you’re being harassed by bailiffs

Cancelling or changing a court order

You can sometimes get a court order that allows bailiffs to take your belongings cancelled or changed. If you have a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) it must be cancelled if:

  • you didn’t get the PCN or ‘notice to owner’, for example because it was sent to the wrong address

  • you appealed to the council in time, but you didn’t get a ‘notice of rejection’

  • you appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or London Tribunal in time, but didn’t get an answer

  • you’ve already paid the PCN

You can also ask the council to withdraw the bailiff warrant by offering to pay the council in instalments instead.

If you have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) for a Parking Charge Notice and you can’t afford to pay, you can ask for the court order to be changed. For example, you can ask to pay smaller instalments over a longer period of time. Read our advice on changing a court order for debt

If you’ve already paid your parking ticket

You won’t have to pay the parking ticket again – you just need to prove you’ve paid. Proving you’ve paid is quick and free to do.

Contact whoever gave you the ticket and tell them how much you paid and when. Explain that they must stop sending you letters because harassment is a criminal offence under section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1990 and section 2 of the protection from Harassment Act 1997.

To prove you’ve paid, send one or more of the following:

  • a bank statement with the amount and date you paid highlighted or underlined – for security, cover your account number and sort code

  • your receipt if you paid in person – for example at a post office or to a police officer for an on-the-spot Fixed Penalty Notice

  • a printed copy of the email confirmation – or a screenshot of the confirmation screen – if you paid online

If you were ordered to pay the parking ticket to a court, include a receipt for any money you paid into the Court Funds Office.

Send your proof of payment to whoever gave you the parking ticket. It’s a good idea to send copies of receipts or statements instead of originals, in case they get lost in the post.

You should send the documents by recorded delivery. You’ll then be able to prove that they arrived.

If you’re already appealing your ticket

You don’t have to pay a parking ticket if you’re waiting for an answer to your appeal. If you’ve been sent letters that put pressure on you to pay, call or write to whoever is chasing you and ask them to stop.

Explain that under section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1990 and section 2 of the protection from Harassment Act 1997, they must stop sending you letters until there’s a decision on your appeal. Tell them:

  • the date you appealed

  • who you sent the appeal to

  • the parking ticket reference number

Make sure you write down the name of the person you speak to and the date and time of your call – you might need to refer to the conversation later in your appeal.

If you’ve ignored a parking ticket

It’s a good idea to look into appealing your parking ticket if it was given to you within the last 28 days. If you received your ticket more than 28 days ago you probably won’t be able to appeal – but don’t ignore the ticket.

You should pay your parking ticket, if you can. If you don’t pay:

  • the cost could go up as you might have to pay court costs – and PCNs are increased by 50% if you don’t pay in time

  • your credit rating could be affected

  • the court could send bailiffs to take your belongings

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to find out your options if you can’t afford to pay the parking ticket.

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