Penalty Charge Notice
A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is a form of Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) issued by parking attendants or traffic wardens who have council backing to chase non-payment using civil action. The difference between these and FPN’s is that FPN’s are often followed up with criminal prosecution if the penalty is not paid.
What Happens if I get a PCN?If you are issued with a PCN you will either be handed the ticket by a parking attendant, or you will find it fixed to your car. A valid PCN should include the following things:
- A 2-digit code number (contravention code)
- A written description of the alleged offence committed
- Details of your vehicle
- The time/date of issue
- The details of the person who issued the ticket and their signature
- Details of the charge incurred
How do I go about Appealing my PCN?If you intend to Appeal your PCN, you should get in touch with the council as soon as you can once the ticket has been issued. This is known as making an ‘informal challenge’ and doing so within 14 days will make sure that you will retain the right to pay at the 50% reduced rate.The council will usually then ask you to put your case in writing. You should do this, attempting to put your view forward as simply and as clearly as you can. If you have any receipts or witness statements, send in copies (keeping the originals in a safe place should they be needed at a court hearing should the appeal go that far). Your claim will either be rejected or accepted and you will be informed of the decision in writing.
What Happens if they Reject my Challenge?If your informal challenge is rejected and you don't pay the penalty charge, the council will send out a Notice to Owner (NTO) to the registered owner of the car. By the time this happens, the discounted rate will no longer be applicable and the full amount will be due.
Why Send it to the Owner of the Vehicle? They Weren’t Driving the car, I was!The notice will be sent to the registered owner because under the Road Traffic Act 1991 the owner of any vehicle under a Penalty Charge Notice is liable for it – no matter who was driving the car at the time.
What Happens if we get a Notice to Owner?If you get one of these, you can use the form to formally challenge the PCN. The NTO will have an explanation of everything that you need to do to make a formal representation of your case. You will need to state your claim again and send more copies of your evidence, if you have any.
Acceptance and RejectionIf the council thinks that you have a case and they will waive the charge, they will write and tell you.If they decide that you don't have a case and they aren't going to waive it, they will also write to let you and tell you why your challenge was rejected. This is known as a Notice of Rejection of Representations. With this letter you should also find a Notice of Appeal form which will allow you to put forward your appeal to the Independent Parking Adjudicator.
I Have Made my Appeal. What will Happen Next?When the National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS) staff receive a formal appeal and they believe everything to be in order, they will register it and several things will happen:
- You will receive a formal acknowledgment that your appeal has been received and registered. If you requested a decision by post you will be told the date that your appeal is expected to be decided.
- The council will be told that an appeal has been lodged and they will be given 21 days to submit evidence to the Adjudicator. They must also give you a copy of evidence.
- If you asked to be heard at a personal appeal, you will be given 21 days notice of the date, time and location.
After the decision has been made, confirmation will be sent by letter to both the appellant and the council, saying:
- The appeal is valid and the motorist need not pay the charge, or
- The appeal is not valid and the penalty charge needs to be paid
If you win, that should be the end of the matter. If you don't you have 28 days to pay up or the council can legally chase you for payment using various approved methods, including employing bailiffs who will recover the debt plus their own charges, directly from you.