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I Can't Pay My Parking Fine: What Should I Do?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 10 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Parking Ticket Fine Penalty Charge

Parking tickets are consistently voted amongst the most annoying aspects of modern life. We all know the feeling: something takes just a few minutes longer than expected, and we run back to the car only to find the wardens have already been round.

It is another fact of life that unexpected expenditures like parking tickets always come at the time when we can least afford them. Although there is normally a discount for prompt payment, parking tickets aren’t cheap – and it is common for recipients to be unsure about how they will pay them.

The important thing to remember is that ignoring a parking ticket is not an option. If you can’t pay your fine you need to tackle it head on – either by appealing, or by making separate payment arrangements.

Can I appeal?

Your first step should be to determine whether or not you might have grounds for appeal. There is a significant range of factors that might mean you can reasonably appeal against the ticket – but it is important that you gather evidence at the time you receive the ticket.

Grounds for appeal might include unclear road markings, incorrect meter readings, and a lack of sufficient signs. There is more information about the potential grounds for appeal elsewhere on this site.

If you do choose to appeal your ticket, it is important that you do so within 14 days of receipt – and that you make clear in your appeal that you want the fine to be postponed until the appeal is settled. This will help to make sure that you still benefit from the prompt payment discount, even if your appeal is unsuccessful.

What if I can’t appeal?

If you don’t have reasonable grounds for appeal, or if your appeal fails, you should begin thinking about your next steps.

It is absolutely vital that you don’t ignore your ticket. It is tempting to think that the issuer will simply forget about the fine and it will eventually go away – but, in reality, this is seldom the case.

You need to think about a strategy for payment. Your first step is to determine which organisation gave you the ticket. This might be, for example, the local authority, the police, or a private body.

You should contact the organisation in question as a matter of urgency, to explain the situation. In many cases you will find that the issuing organisation is willing to negotiate – the idea being that it is generally better for them to get some money than to have to pursue non-payment through the courts. Explain that you can’t pay at the moment, and that you would prefer to arrange a payment plan – for example over a few months. This strategy is often particularly effective in cases where the ticket has been issued by a local authority, as they are already used to negotiating payment plans for things like overdue Council Tax.

It is important to note that, depending on the type of fine and the organisation it was issued by, offering to make payment may constitute an admission of wrongdoing. You should therefore make sure that you are willing to accept the ticket before you try to negotiate payment terms.

What happens if I don’t pay?

If you simply don’t pay your parking fine, it is highly unlikely that it will simply go away. What is certain is that you will miss the discount period, meaning that the fine increases. After that, you will probably receive a warning letter telling you that the fine is overdue, and that you should pay it.

After this, the next stage will depend on the issuing organisation. If the ticket was issued by a local authority, you may receive several warning letters until further action is taken. In other cases, though, your fine may be passed on to a third party debt collection agency, who will chase you for payment.

These agencies tend to be more aggressive in their pursuit of debt – and they are also fond of adding extra fees at every possible stage of the process. Late payers therefore frequently find themselves landed with much larger fines than they initially accrued.

Eventually, if you continue not to pay (or if you fail to stick to a payment arrangement), you will probably be taken to court. Provided that the court finds you are liable to pay the fine, a Court Order will be made. If you do not pay, bailiffs will be sent.

If you are having difficulty paying a parking fine, it is imperative that you don’t let the situation reach this stage. Instead, seek independent legal advice as a matter of urgency. Free advice is available from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Bought, paid and displayed my parking ticket, only to discover it had became dislodged on my return. There were gale force winds on this date. I sent the valid ticket to the council and the appeal was denied. They stated the ticket was not visible. The law "states they can use generic discretion at any time if there are mitigating factors in which the circumstances are considered to be compelling enough to make either action the FAIREST possible outcome". They can also use discretion if a valid ticket is presented to the council on appeal. This was done in the first instance. The council have not addressed these enquiries and claim that I can no longer appeal. I did not receive a 'notice to owner' form, although they insist one was sent. It is grossly unjust. If the council have EVER rescinded a PCN for this reason, can they discriminate against me?
Mortz. - 10-Apr-18 @ 3:21 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
Hello I have congestion parking tickets and Southwark Council parking tickets & I know this sounds crazy but in they all total to 24 parking tickets. I got them a few month back but because I lived at university, I wasn’t realising that I was getting the letters sent and that they were escalating. I tried to appeal the case but it got disregarded and they said no to the appeal. I never really chased them down about it after the appeal because I just thought they would go away and because it was just too much as a whole. One day I cane to my car and it has been clamped with the yellow triangle. I called them to make a payment plan for all 24 parking tickets as they were no longer the average cost no more, they each have increased. They said no they can not help me with that. Who is best to seek for this advise? And please do help me and be specific to the best of your ability because I have asked around and I’m pretty hopeless at this point. I’m trying to now sort it so my car doesn’t get clamped again but it’s a huge struggle and stress towards me. I’m counting on you to give me advice on the best option right now please.

Our Response:
Can you not just contact TFL and Southwark council to pay the fines? There's no easy way to appeal if you were actually parked in contravention of restrictions. If you can't afford to pay the fine, find your nearest Citizens' Advice Bureau and ask them to help you, perhaps negotiating some kind of staged/instalment payment.
NoPenaltyPoints - 28-Feb-18 @ 12:51 PM
Hello I have congestion parking tickets and Southwark Council parking tickets & I know this sounds crazy but in they all total to 24 parking tickets. I got them a few month back but because I lived at university, I wasn’t realising that I was getting the letters sent and that they were escalating. I tried to appeal the case but it got disregarded and they said no to the appeal. I never really chased them down about it after the appeal because I just thought they would go away and because it was just too much as a whole. One day I cane to my car and it has been clamped with the yellow triangle. I called them to make a payment plan for all 24 parking tickets as they were no longer the average cost no more, they each have increased. They said no they can not help me with that. Who is best to seek for this advise? And please do help me and be specific to the best of your ability because I have asked around and I’m pretty hopeless at this point. I’m trying to now sort it so my car doesn’t get clamped again but it’s a huge struggle and stress towards me. I’m counting on you to give me advice on the best option right now please.
Sarah - 27-Feb-18 @ 6:55 AM
Hazel - Your Question:
My husband got a fine for parking ticket and now increases to £278.We couldn't afford to pay it one go and requested to pay them by instalment but it was refused. Any chance or option to pay by instalment???Thanks

Our Response:
This would be up to invidivual parking enforcers sorry, we can't really advise on this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 9-Feb-18 @ 2:21 PM
My husband got a fine for parking ticket and now increases to £278 . We couldn't afford to pay it one go and requested to pay themby instalment but it was refused. Any chance or option to pay by instalment??? Thanks
Hazel - 8-Feb-18 @ 5:46 PM
Peals - Your Question:
I am a new driver and I have a parking permit for my area. However over the space of three days I got 4 tickets as a result of parking in a free bay and staying over the allowed time (I don't usually drive during the week so I don't go to check the car on the side road). I did not know/understand that residents were not allowed to park there and the sign did not state that resident parking is not permitted. Could I appeal these tickets?If not, is there anyway I could pay in installments because I can't afford to pay £520.Thank you.

Our Response:
If the signage isn't clear then you may have a case. Write explaining that you have a permit but didn't know it wasn't valid in certain spaces. Ask Citizens' Advice for help as they will know which parking authority operates in the area and may have some experience with them.
NoPenaltyPoints - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:04 PM
I am a new driver and I have a parking permit for my area. However over the space of three days I got 4 tickets as a result of parking in a free bay and staying over the allowed time (I don't usually drive during the week so I don't go to check the car on the side road). I did not know/understand that residents were not allowed to park there and the sign did not state that resident parking is not permitted. Could I appeal these tickets? If not, is there anyway I could pay in installments because I can't afford to pay £520. Thank you.
Peals - 8-Jan-18 @ 5:15 PM
Maddyerin - Your Question:
I booked a parking space through a company online yourparkingspace and paid £12.50 for 10 hours texting the space owner asking for more info he told me to call him before I park. Just before I parked I tried to call him a number of times but no answer then a neighbor asked me what I was doing parking so explained that booked online and he said I don’t think that’s right and he thinks I have been scammed but felt sorry for me I think giving me a parking permit the residents have for visitors but it was only 6 hours. Eventually after calling the space owner loads he text back saying he’s at work and can’t talk so said that was told I can’t park and he said no it’s ok he had sorted it out and when I said about the permit he said I probably wouldn’t need one but could get one from his Mums if really wanted to but it was ok. It would of been the same 6 hour permit I had so messaged yourparkingspace querying my space and got a reply saying about all their spaces are guaranteed so thought ok. The next morning when I got back to my car 2 hours earlier than I booked till I had a parking ticket for £130 from the local council £65 if paid in 2 weeks. I contacted yourparkingspace and they got in contact with the space owner and told me I would need to sort it with him which he’s not helping last requesting a copy of the parking ticket and has ignored me since !! I booked through yourparkingspace and paid yourparkingspace so consider I have a contract with them ? I don’t work and on ESA so even £65 is a lot to pay out for me but I thought my car and parking was safe and feel I shouldn’t have to pay this !!??

Our Response:
Contact the council and give them all this information including details of the company you booked through and the contact details of the person you thought was providing the space for you. It may not help but it's worth a try. It's also worth trying to contact yourparkingspace about this....they do after all offer the following guarantee: Our Guarantee "With our Booking Guarantee you’re always protected when you book with YourParkingSpace. We guarantee that you’ll be happy with the space you book. If you aren’t, we’ll refund you in full."
NoPenaltyPoints - 29-Nov-17 @ 12:26 PM
I booked a parking space through a company online yourparkingspace and paid £12.50 for 10 hours texting the space owner asking for more info he told me to call him before I park. Just before I parked I tried to call him a number of times but no answer then a neighbor asked me what I was doing parking so explained that booked online and he said I don’t think that’s right and he thinks I have been scammed but felt sorry for me I think giving me a parking permit the residents have for visitors but it was only 6 hours. Eventually after calling the space owner loads he text back saying he’s at work and can’t talk so said that was told I can’t park and he said no it’s ok he had sorted it out and when I said about the permit he said I probably wouldn’t need one but could get one from his Mums if really wanted to but it was ok. It would of been the same 6 hour permit I had so messagedyourparkingspace querying my space and got a reply saying about all their spaces are guaranteed so thought ok. The next morning when I got back to my car 2 hours earlier than I booked till I had a parking ticket for £130 from the local council £65 if paid in 2 weeks. I contacted yourparkingspace and they got in contact with the space owner and told me I would need to sort it with him which he’s not helping last requesting a copy of the parking ticket and has ignored me since !! I booked through yourparkingspace and paid yourparkingspace so consider I have a contract with them ? I don’t work and on ESA so even £65 is a lot to pay out for me but I thought my car and parking was safe and feel I shouldn’t have to pay this !!??
Maddyerin - 29-Nov-17 @ 1:53 AM
Trish - Your Question:
I purchased a car on credit for my son. I have since found out he has registered the car in my old address and has received parking tickets mainly outside my new house when coming to visit or stay. Now I have baliffs at the door saying I owe this money for a car I have never driven. Please can some advise me on what to do.

Our Response:
Whose name is the car registered to? You need to sort this out with your son really don't you?
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-Oct-17 @ 2:17 PM
I purchased a car on credit for my son. I have since found out he has registered the car in my old address and has received parking tickets mainly outside my new house when coming to visit or stay. Now i have baliffs at the door saying I owe this money for a car I have never driven. Please can some advise me on what to do.
Trish - 30-Sep-17 @ 9:04 AM
Chloec - Your Question:
I keep getting parking tickets, 30+ tickets in the past 3 months outside my house, it's permit holders only but I am apparently not allowed a permit for my address. I am on income support and simply cannot afford to pay them. I try to move my car before the ticket people come but sometimes my toddler will be sleeping or not be ready ect so it just isn't possible. What can I do?

Our Response:
You can't park somewhere that's for permit holders only if you don't have a permit. 30 + tickets is a huge number...why didn't you just park somewhere else?
NoPenaltyPoints - 31-Mar-17 @ 11:30 AM
I keep getting parking tickets, 30+ tickets in the past 3 months outside my house, it's permit holders only but I am apparently not allowed a permit for my address. I am on income support and simply cannot afford to pay them. I try to move my car before the ticket people come but sometimes my toddler will be sleeping or not be ready ect so it just isn't possible... What can I do?
Chloec - 30-Mar-17 @ 11:11 AM
Silver - Your Question:
I received 2/3 congestion penalties, still not paid them plus a couple parking tickets! I know if I leave this much longer I will be worse off is there a way of me finding out how much I owe in total and pay it off weekly??

Our Response:
If you contact TFL they should be able to tell you what you owe.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:18 PM
I received 2/3 congestion penalties, still not paid them plus a couple parking tickets! I know if I leave this much longer I will be worse off is there a way of me finding out how much I owe in total and pay it off weekly??
Silver - 4-Jan-17 @ 4:38 PM
This article (and website) is an utter disgrace. The author 'J.A.J Aaronson' shouldn't be offering advice on matters he has no knowledge of. The word 'Fine' is used repeatedly here and in other parts of this website to describe Penalty Charge Notices issued by Council 'Civil Enforcement Officers'....these goons are civilians with no power to issue fines or forfeits against other civilians. PENALTY CHARGES ARE GOVERNED BY CIVIL CONTRACT LAW. THEY ARE NOTHING MORE THAN AN INVOICE.A 'FINE' CAN ONLY BE ISSUED FOR A CRIMINAL OFFENCE, BY THE POLICE OR IN A COURT OF LAW.
NO2PCNS - 15-Oct-16 @ 12:29 AM
Angela - Your Question:
I have been ill and in hospital and didn't pay my parking fine which escalated to over £700. Is this legal? I have sick notes and am off work on Employment and Support Alowance. I can only offer a small amount of money each month. Advice please anyone?

Our Response:
It would have been better to get someone to contact the parking authorityon your behalf when you first received the fine. The best thing to do now is to take the parking ticket to Citizen's Advice, they might be able to ring up/advise you on how to get the debt reduced or arrange a payment schedule.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-May-16 @ 11:55 AM
I have been ill and in hospital and didn't pay my parking fine which escalated to over £700. Is this legal? I have sick notes and am off work on Employment and Support Alowance. I can only offer a small amount of money each month. Advice please anyone?
Angela - 26-May-16 @ 8:47 AM
Car park penalty £70 took them to court than didnt win, than I need to pay £130, I think this is not right at all, specially if even the penalty it s not right. What can I do if I can't afford to pay?
mark - 5-Jan-16 @ 5:55 PM
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