Why did I get a parking ticket (PCN)?

Why did I get a parking ticket (PCN)?

Every year, millions of drivers in the UK get parking tickets issued by private companies, and almost all of those drivers feel the ticket hasn’t been fairly issued.

As many parking companies’ business models rely on parking ticket income as revenue, they have an incentive to issue as many tickets as possible. Tickets can be one of the main sources of a parking company’s revenue.

You are likely to be told that you got a parking ticket because you entered into a contract upon entering the car park, and did not comply with the terms and conditions. These terms may say that you need to display a parking permit, or cannot stay for more than 2 hours, or that you cannot re-visit the car park in more than 24 hours (etc). In many cases, even if these do not seem like ‘moral’ wrongs, or bad driving etiquette, it is a contractual term that (in theory) you, the driver, have agreed to, and probably violated.

There are protections however in consumer and contract law to avoid the worst of abuses. If a parking sign is not clearly visible, it is probably not valid and so the ticket isn’t valid (etc). There are many other examples.

Drivers who do not agree with their parking charge should appeal it as soon as they can. However, when writing an appeal, you should give a good legal reason why the ticket is invalid. Appealing to common sense – such as that you had to attend a hospital appointment – is unlikely to convince whoever reads your appeal.

There are plenty of legal reasons why a parking ticket is not valid, based on the Consumer Protection (from Unfair Trading) Regulations 2008, Consumer Rights Act 2015, common law principles of contract, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and so on.

You can use the parking ticket appeal template generator here. This lets you generate an appeal letter based on reasons why the PCN is likely to be legally invalid, which makes reference to all of these provisions above, depending on your circumstances.