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It turns out there could be a way to get out of paying parking fines. Drivers are able to challenge unfair parking tickets and completely avoid paying those issued by private firms, in some instances at least.
Parking tickets can be from official bodies, such as councils and the police, or private companies. Tickets from private firms and official bodies often look similar - but those issued by private companies are much easier to fight
Because they are easier to get out of, private companies try to trick drivers into thinking their penalty notices are the same, to ensure people pay-up.
Take a look at the difference here...
Credit: Money Saving Expert
The ticket on the left ticket is an official one, issued by the council or the police, it will be called a Penalty Charge Notice, Excess Charge Notice or Fixed Penalty Notice. On the right is a parking fine from a private company, which is just an invoice, meaning they have no official right to fine you.
Steve Nowottny, from MoneySavingExpert.com, told the Sun: "If your car has been slapped with a parking ticket, then the first thing to do is check what kind of ticket it is.
"You should only appeal unfair tickets - if it's a fair cop and you've broken the rules, there's not point trying to fight it. But if you think you have been penalised unfairly, it's well worth standing your ground."
No matter who has issued the parking ticket it is possible to fight it if you think you've been unfairly charged, although the fine may increase if your appeal is unsuccessful.
A MoneySavingExpert.com blog advises the following: "If still at the scene, gather as much evidence as possible. If you're reading this after, it's still worth grabbing what you can, as this evidence can be the key to winning.
"Your evidence should be 'contemporaneous' (ie, made at the time) if possible, to truly reflect the situation when you got your ticket, so act ASAP.
An Official Notice
This video of a lad trying to get out of a tight parking spot is hilarious.
If a Penalty Charge Notice was issued by the local council, then you should cough up unless you intend on appealing, as it is a genuine penalty or fine - not just a "charge".
However, the council can use its discretion to decide whether to cancel the notice if you appeal.
First you must complain to the council in writing, with any witness statements or photographs included. If the council accepts your appeal, the fine will be cancelled and you'll have nothing to pay. If the council rejects your reasons, you will be sent a notice of rejection.
You will then have 28 days to make a further formal appeal, or the charge could potentially increase by another 50 percent.
A Private Firm's Charge
The case of a private firm making a charge against you is a bit different but, as before, make sure to gather evidence that will help you back-up your appeal.Then find out what company has issued the ticket.
Retain any correspondence with the company and delay paying the fine if you intend to challenge it. Check to see if the company is a member of a trade body such as the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC).
Popla (Parking on Private Land Appeals) was set up by the BPA for its members, while the Independent Appeals Service was set up for IPC members - both deal with appeals for their respective companies.
Credit: Money Saving Expert
If Popla or the IAS agrees with the driver's appeal the charge is cancelled. But if the driver's appeal is refused, the company can carry on seeking payment and is able to take the vehicle owner to small claims court.
If the firm is not part of a trade body you should send them a letter directly saying that you refuse to pay, giving your reasoning.
Steve Nowottony, from MoneySavingExpert.com, added: "An average of 56 percent of those who take their case all the way to an independent adjudicator win - but if you lose you'll have to pay the full fine."
However, in theory, the company could take you to court if you refuse to pay following a rejected appeal.
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