Private parking firms CANNOT fine you

Chatbot lawyer overturns 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York

Private parking firms CANNOT fine you. Tickets at supermarkets or private car parks may be disguised as fines, but they are really just invoices. 

Clamping of motor vehicles on private land is a criminal offence Section 54 of Chapter 2 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and clamping vehicles on public roads is illegal under Regulation 17(3) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 when the driver (not necessarily the owner) has not received a statutory Notice of Enforcement, or the vehicle does not belong to the liable person.

It is not illegal to clamp a debtors car parked on his own private land. See Paragraph 211 of the explanatory notes.

It is also illegal for bailiffs to clamp or seize goods not wholly belonging to the debtor, Paragraph 10 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

The regulations enable parking companies to ask the driver to pay an unpaid parking charge, but the regulations do not provide for ‘penalties’ or any sums greater than the actual pre-estimate of a loss to the regulated company. If your overstay in a regulated car park cost 30p and the parking company spends a £1 disbursement for sending you a demand then the most that can lawfully be claimed from you is £1.30.

DVLA fees are subscription based and there is no specific cost to looking up the registered keeper of a vehicle and the parking company will already have this subscription so there are no actual disbursements claimable from the driver under these regulations.

If the parking company is not a member of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) or does not use Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) service for its appeals then the company is not compliant with regulations, or the company is unregulated and the driver or keeper does not have to pay the ticket.

Here is the Department for Transport official guidance on private parking tickets issued on private land from 01 October 2012.

As these regulations are new and drivers may not fully understand it, private parking companies may take advantage of this by pretending the regulations give companies a right to charge penalties for unpaid private parking tickets.

This is not true. If you receive a demand greater than the actual parking charge you would have otherwise paid plus the actual provable disbursements the company has paid in sending you a demand being about 1 including the 2nd class stamp, then you can reply using the template below and send it with your appeal against the parking charge notice on the grounds the demand is too high.

The template letter cites the regulations chapter and verse to dispel any notion a parking company is entitled to make a gain by charging drivers more than the original unpaid parking charge and the disbursement paid to send you the demand in the post. There is no such thing as “discounts” for early payment.

Appeal if you have been overcharged.

Template letter

Private car parks are usually unmanned and take your vehicle registration using ANPR when you drive in. You enter your vehicle registration into the machine when you buy your ticket, but if you don’t buy a ticket or enter a wrong registration, the registered keeper receives a demand through the post.

If you are dealing with a private parking ticket on private land issued before 01 October 2012 then you do not have pay it and it is unenforceable because private parking became a regulated activity from 01 October 2012. You may still get a series of letters, or threatograms sent through the post to the vehicle’s registered keeper. The following is an example sequence of letters following an unregulated unpaid parking charge notice from Premier Parking Solutions Ltd

Example Parking Charge Notice issued before 01 October 2012: – designed to imitate a Regulation 9 Penalty Charge Notice as amended in 2007

First Reminder – about 30 days after the event

Second Reminder about 80 days after the event

Third reminder about 120 days after the event

Then nothing .

NEVER appeal a private ticket because if you do it will be rejected and you are wasting your time The private parking ticket industry is an unregulated activity and the example below confirms the rejection letter suggests it is sent to all appellants.

Just ignore them and it will go away. If a parking company tries to litigate you then the most he can claim from you is the amount you overstayed your ticket.

A footnote is that since November 2015 cars that park in free spaces and then over stay can be fined as Supreme Court has sided with their argument in a court decision: (Thanks to John Wall for forwarding this to us).

Further update from Sam Wilkins – There are two accredited trade associations to the DVLA dealing with parking operators within their memberships – one is the British Parking Association who have an independent appeals service called POPLA (parking on private land appeals and a Code of Practice, . The other is the Independent Parking Committee who have their own Independent Appeals Service and also a Code of Practice . These are two separate organisations.

Can we suggest that anyone who has specific issues relating to parking tickets and conflict resolution contact their local Citizen’s advice or a solicitor if they are unsure.

Update from