Parking Charge Notices – The Facts!

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Parking Charge Notices are easily mistaken for Penalty Charge Notices, both more commonly referred to as parking tickets or PCNs, what is the difference and what are the facts?


Over two blogs posts we will be looking at what are Parking Charge Notices, how to avoid them and how to appeal.


In this post, we will be looking at the facts behind PCNs. Penalty Charge Notices are issued by your local authority and are issued when are driver parks their vehicle in contravention of the regulations. Parking Charge Notices however, are the result of committing a parking contravention whilst on private property.


These types of contraventions have their own rules and regulations to abide by and even have different methods of appeal. The only issue with these private areas is that the rules are parking are not always clear when entering the car park.


For example, were you aware that when parking in a private car park or private car parking space, you are in effect, signing up to a contract between you (the registered keeper of the vehicle) and the operator of the car park? This means you are agreeing to their terms and conditions, sometimes without even realising it!


What should you know about Parking Charge Notices:


  • These look very similar to Penalty Charge Notices issued by the council. They will appear on your windscreen presented in a yellow plastic pocket. The only difference is they will be labelled as Parking Charge Notice rather than Penalty.
  • If the operator is part of a trade association (British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Committee (IPC)), the ticket should give reasons for the contravention, how you can pay and also how to appeal the charge.
  • If your car is being or has been clamped, this is breaking the law in England, Scotland and Wales (and has been illegal since 2012). However, there may be local by-law exemptions to this and if there is, there should be signage displayed. If unsure, you are still within your rights to call the police to report the clamping.
  • Equally, if you are approached by someone on behalf of the private car park to pay a penalty on the spot, you can again contact the police. However, if they ask you to pay the difference in parking (not an increased penalty), then this would not be seen as unreasonable.



Now that you know the facts behind Penalty Charge Notices, we’ll give you some handy hints on how to avoid getting one!


It may seem obvious, but parking in a disabled bay without a blue badge will result in a PCN on your windscreen. Do not park in disabled parking spaces unless you have your blue badge displayed otherwise you may incur a costly fine!


When entering a car park, you should always look to see if there is signage outlining the terms and conditions. If they are however hard to find or obscured, this may aid you in an appeal if you were to receive a PCN.

When parking, make sure you park within the bays as operators are known to issue PCNs to motorists who have parked over the lines. Also, take note of the time you park, how long you are allowed to park and whether you are required to pay before, after or at all for using the car park.

Try where you can to set a reminder on your phone or watch for 15 minutes before your parking expires. With local authorities they give you a 10 minute grace period for parking, with private car parks, they give you none. Although, parking operators who are BPA members are supposed to abide by the code of practice which states that a 10 minute grace period is applicable. If you haven’t received this grace period and a PCN is issued in this time, you may have good grounds to appeal.


Keep your eyes peeled for our next instalment on Parking Charge Notices as we will be looking at how to appeal them if that little yellow pouch appears on your windshield!





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