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Should I Have a Parking Ticket for Shop Car Park?

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 28 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
Parking Fine Ticket Shop Private Parking


I was issued a parking ticket when I parked in a car park provided for shop patrons. I was issued this as I allegedy broke a regulation code "did not use car park provider's premises and went elsewhere at the time of issue of the charge". This is incorrect as I did go into the shop intending to buy something but have no proof of this as I did not eventually purchase anything in the shop.

Also there are two different signs in the car park one stating that I would be clamped and a release fee of £50 was in operation and the other with the regulation codes - one of which I received with a charge fee of £70.50? I believe that this is misleading. Am I right and what should I do?

(A.D, 1 March 2009)


What you can do about this charge varies greatly depending on what kind of car park this is - i.e. if it is a council run, local authority or privately run car park as they are all subject to different regulations.

Most shopping centre car parks are run on behalf of the store by a private parking company, which I will assume is the case here. Unlike tickets issued by Traffic Wardens, police officers or local authorities, tickets issued by private parking companies are not backed up by criminal law - they rely on the law of contract.

What Does That Mean?

When a private parking company (PPC) enters into an agreement with an employer - such as the shop in question - then they have terms, clauses and various other legalities which can be difficult for the layperson to understand.

What it boils down to is that when a motorist drives into the car park in question and parks their car, they are accepting an offer to park there from the administrative body that is running the car park. This forms the basis of a contract, and as such, the contract can be breached on either side.

The PPC must make it clear what the terms of using the car park are, meaning that they are obliged to make sure that people parking there can see clearly what using the facility entails and what the consequences are if the contract is breached.

Unfortunately, if you didn't buy anything in the shop for which you have a receipt, it can be extremely difficult to prove otherwise and get your money back.

There must be signs that are clear to see, i.e. not covered or faded or difficult to read, and they must be clearly worded, with no ambiguity. They should tell the motorist if clamping is a possibility and any 'terms of use', in your case, this is that the use of the car park is only for shop-patrons. There must also be details on how much the fine will be if the contract is broken by the motorist.

When you park in such a car park, you agree to the terms and conditions of this contract, and therefore, if you don't adhere to them, then you can be charged. However, if there is any ambiguity on the signs as to what the regulations are, or if the signs are not clear or are obscured, then you will have a case to make. In this case, the fine you were given is also different to what was described on the sign, then it would seem that there has been an error somewhere along the line.

Unfortunately, in many of these cases, this is a very grey area, and it can lead to a lot of distress and hassle. If this was a council car park, you would have a clear Route of Appeal, however in the case of a private company, it can be a very different experience.

The best thing you can do, is to write to the company who issued the fine and explain that you did go into the shop, however, you didn't buy anything. Also ask them to explain why you have been charged a different amount to that stated at the location. It's worth writing to the shop who supplies the car park too, as they may be able to get involved, especially as you were in the shop when the ticket was issued. However, if you went anywhere else before returning to your car, then be aware that they would have a case to say that you had broken their terms.

Wait until you hear from the company and send them a photograph of the sign, proving that it doesn't have the £70.10 figure that you were charged detailed anywhere on it. They will try to enforce the idea that there is an implied agreement because they displayed posters and you parked there, thus accepting the terms.

The outcome of this will depend greatly on the integrity of the company involved, and unfortunately if you don't want the hassle of fighting it out via written correspondance for several months, it may be easier to just take it on the chin, pay the fine and park somewhere else in future!

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pansy- Your Question:
I was fined for going thirty five in a thirty mile speed limit not a speed camera a hand held I objected to it and it cost me three points on my licence and double fine my advice just pay it as their allways on the right you can't win as they the law

Our Response:
Why did you object? 35 mph is over the speed limit.
NoPenaltyPoints - 29-Nov-17 @ 10:52 AM
I was fined for going thirty five in a thirty mile speed limit not a speed camera a hand held I objected to it and it cost me three points on my licence and double fine my advice just pay it as their allways on the right you can't win as they the law
pansy - 28-Nov-17 @ 1:43 PM
I recieved a summons for doing 35 in a 30,they sent me a green forms indicating i acould go on the speed awarness,filled them in with an accompaning letter asking them if it was possible to pay in installmenst since my wife and I are in there 70s and recieved only pension credit,this they agreed if i contacted the course providers Thinking everything was OK I was in for a shock when I had another letter rejecting it,did'nt tell me why,but I remembered I had had another speeding (38 in a 30)missing out on the course by 14 days My question is I'm sure I read that they could give some discretion in cases like this I've only had 4 summons in 50 years of driving \Any help would be appreciated
goalie - 23-Dec-14 @ 9:30 PM
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