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When to appeal a parking ticket

This advice applies to Scotland

You should appeal to have your parking ticket cancelled if one of the reasons on this page applies to you. The reasons are laid out as headings below.

It’s free to appeal by contacting whoever gave you the parking ticket, so it’s well worth trying, especially if you have evidence to prove your case. You can’t be taken to court for non-payment while you’re appealing. You may be taken to court if your appeal is unsuccessful and you don’t pay the parking ticket .

Don’t appeal or pay a ticket from a parking company that’s not an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) member. As they are not an approved firm, they cannot get your details from the DVLA.

Look on the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC) websites to check if a parking company is an ATA member. You can also call the BPA on 01444 447 300 to check if a company is an ATA member. Calls to this number can cost up to 12p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay).

If you get a ticket in the post from a non-ATA member, report them to Action Fraud because the company could have got your details illegally.

You were parked correctly

You can appeal a ticket if you think you were parked correctly. For example, if a parking attendant thinks you stayed too long when you were in fact within the time limit.

By law, a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) from the local authority – issued on public land, such as a high street – must be cancelled if you didn’t break the parking rules. You can check these rules on GOV.UK or on signs near where you parked.

When you park on private land, such as a supermarket car park, the terms and conditions of using the car park should be made clear on nearby signs. If you are given a Parking Charge Notice, the burden of proof is on the parking company to show that you didn’t stick to their terms and conditions. 

If you were parked correctly, you may wish to appeal and supply evidence to prove this. 

See Parking tickets issued by the policeParking tickets issued by the local authority or Parking tickets on private land for the types of evidence you can use.

The parking signs or road markings were unclear

All car parks and roads with parking restrictions must have signs or road markings that make this clear. You may wish to appeal on the basis that:

  • you couldn’t see any road markings or signs

  • the signs or markings were hard to read – for example they’d faded, the writing was too small, they were too high, or they were hidden by trees

  • the signs were misleading or confusing

  • the signs were not adequately lit at night 
  • there weren’t any signs saying parking was suspended

You should also win your appeal if you were sent a ticket in the post and there weren’t signs saying CCTV – or an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system – was in use where you parked.

See Parking tickets issued by the police or Parking tickets issued by the local authority for the evidence you may wish to supply.

There was no way to pay

Your ticket should be cancelled if a parking meter or machine was broken and there was no other way to pay. Your appeal is likely to be unsuccessful if there was another machine you could have used.

If a parking meter or machine has not been updated for the new £1 coin you may use this as your reason for appealing the ticket. However if the meter or machine takes other denominations of coins to pay for your ticket or there was a phone number to use to pay this may affect your success in making the appeal.

You were charged too much

If you get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), which is a parking ticket issued by the local authority, the amount you’re charged will fall into a higher or lower band. You’ll be charged the higher band for a more serious offence, like parking on a double yellow line. The lower band is for something less serious, like parking for longer than your ticket allows.

You should appeal if you’ve been charged too much for a PCN. For example if your offence should be in the lower band but you’ve been charged the higher band amount. You can find out how much a local authority charges for each band. For contact details of local authorities, see the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) website.  

If you’ve been given a Parking Charge Notice, the BPN and IPC rules state you shouldn’t be charged more than £100 – unless the parking company can prove your parking offence made them lose this additional money. You should appeal if you’ve been charged more than £100 and think this extra cost is unjustified.  

Read about how to appeal your parking ticket in Parking tickets on private land

Charges following the ParkingEye Limited vs Beavis case

Parking companies sometimes use this case – where the judge ruled that an £85 parking charge was OK – as a reason to charge more than is reasonable.

Even after the ParkingEye vs Beavis ruling, a parking company can’t charge whatever they want. Your client should appeal if the charge is more than £100 – unless the company can clearly justify the reasons for this high charge.

You weren’t driving when the ticket was issued

You didn’t commit the parking error so the ticket should be cancelled. See appealing a parking ticket when someone else was driving for more information. 

You couldn’t get back to your car

You should appeal your ticket if you couldn’t get back to your car because:

  • it’s difficult for you to walk because you’re disabled

  • you are pregnant

  • you have a very young baby

The Equality Act 2010 means you must be treated with understanding and can’t be discriminated against, so the ticket should be cancelled.

Your car broke down

You have a strong reason to appeal if your car broke down while you were parked – the ticket issuer should understand that you couldn’t move it. See Parking tickets issued by the policeParking tickets issued by the local authority or Parking tickets on private land for the types of evidence to include in your appeal.

You were only just out of time

It’s worth appealing if you were only 5 or 10 minutes late.

You should be given a few minutes after your parking runs out – called a ‘grace period’. ATA members should give you an extra 10 minutes before giving you a Parking Charge Notice – as should the local authority before giving you a Penalty Charge Notice. You should also be given a reasonable amount of time to leave a car park if you decide not to park.

A parking company might disagree with your appeal if they time your stay from the moment you entered the car park, rather than from when you parked. It’s still worth appealing because it’s free to informally appeal – and you have to do this before you can appeal to an independent tribunal or trade association.

Depending on who issued the ticket read about Parking tickets issued by the police, Parking tickets issued by the local authority or Parking tickets on private land

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