When to appeal a parking ticket

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

Your parking ticket should be cancelled if one of the reasons on this page applies to you.

It’s free to make an informal appeal by contacting whoever gave you the parking ticket, so it’s well worth trying.

You can’t be taken to court while you’re informally appealing, so your credit rating won’t be affected. You’ll only be taken to court if your appeal is unsuccessful, and you don’t pay the ticket or appeal to a tribunal.

If none of these reasons apply to you, it's a good idea to pay your ticket early. You can usually get a discount of:

  • 50% if you pay a Penalty Charge Notice or Excess Charge Notice within 14 days

  • 40-60% if you pay a Parking Charge Notice within 14 days


Accredited trade association (ATA)

If a parking company put a ticket on your car and the company isn’t a member of an accredited trade association (ATA), don’t contact them unless they write to you first. They probably won’t be able to find your details - only ATA members can get your name and address from the DVLA.

Check the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC) websites to see if a parking company is a member of an ATA.

You can also call the BPA on 01444 447 300 to check if a company is a member.

Calls usually cost up to 55p a minute from mobiles and up to 13p a minute from landlines. It should be free if you have a contract that includes calls to landlines - check with your supplier if you're not sure.

You got a Parking Charge Notice more than 14 days after parking

Check if the notice says ‘Protection of Freedoms Act’. If it does, the parking company usually has to post a notice to you within a certain time - or to the car’s registered owner if that’s not you.

The deadline depends on whether the parking company gave you a notice at the time you parked - this includes leaving it on your car.

If you didn’t get a notice at the time you parked, you must receive a notice within 14 days of when you parked.

If you got a notice at the time you parked and you replied to it, the parking company doesn’t have to send another notice. If you didn’t reply to it, you must receive another notice within 56 days of when you parked.

If you didn’t receive the notice in time, tell the parking company you don’t have to pay the charge.

If the notice doesn’t say ‘Protection of Freedoms Act’, there’s no time limit to send it. If it’s delivered more than 7 months after you parked, you can argue it’s unfair to make you pay.

Check how to appeal a parking ticket.

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) or Excess Charge Notice (ECN) from the council – 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 parking rules (the terms and conditions of using the car park) should be made clear on nearby signs. If you’re given a Parking Charge Notice and can prove you stuck to these rules, your ticket should be cancelled. This is because the parking company can’t argue that you didn’t stick to their terms and conditions.

When you appeal, you should explain that you didn’t break any parking rules and send evidence to prove this. See appealing a parking ticket 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. Your ticket should be cancelled if you can prove:

  • you couldn’t see any road markings or signs

  • the signs or markings were hard to read – for example they’d faded or were hidden by trees

  • the signs were misleading or confusing

  • 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 appealing a parking ticket for the evidence you’ll need to give.

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. It won’t be cancelled if there was another machine you could have used.

You’ll need to send evidence that the machine or meter was broken to whoever gave you the ticket. See appealing a parking ticket for more details on how to do this.

Some car parks and bays have a sign saying not to park there if there's no way to pay. If where you parked had this sign, your appeal is likely to be rejected. You can usually get a discount for paying your ticket early, so you might want to do this instead of appealing.

You were charged too much

If you get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), 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 council charges for each band on their website.

If you’ve been given a Parking Charge Notice, the BPA 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 much 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.

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 how to prove this. 

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’re 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. 

Read about how to appeal your parking ticket.

Your car broke down

You’ve a strong reason to appeal if you were given a ticket while waiting for your car to be fixed or towed away – the ticket issuer should understand that you couldn’t move it. See appealing a parking ticket 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 must give you an extra 10 minutes before giving you a Parking Charge Notice – as should the council 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.

Read about how to appeal your parking ticket.

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