If you’re the type of person that pays their parking fines without question then this post really isn’t for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re determined to go out in a paper trail blaze of glory as you flip a finger to the scourge of the weekend shopper then I have just what you’re looking for.
Before we start, let’s get one thing straight: a parking ticket is not another form of tax. You get them because you’ve been very naughty boys and girls. End of lesson.
Also, parking wardens are not monsters. Monsters live under your bed and in your clothes cupboard but they’re make believe. Wardens are real which means they can’t be monsters… can they?
Parking Fines: The Facts
Did you know that over 8 million parking tickets are issued every year in the United Kingdom? Assuming an average fine of £60, this means the government is raking in nearly £500 million from motorists.
But, in some cases, the wardens can get it wrong which means you could potentially have your penalty quashed. Sadly, because we’ve been taught to blindly accept authority, most of us pay the ticket and get on with life.
Let’s break the mold!
Help! I’ve Got A Parking Ticket
Don’t panic! Even if you were caught red-handed and you decide to pay, you have 28 days. Now, if you parked in the Mayor’s parking place – in a restricted area, at the back of the local council offices, you’re extra-guilty. Again, don’t worry. You were caught bang to rights but if you pay within 14 days your fine will be halved.
Think of it as the parking wardens equivalent of time off for good behaviour.
You Want To Appeal Your Ticket. Good For You
I apologise in advance. We have a wonderful system of bureaucracy in the UK. Each tier of this antiquated method of government can only function if given approval by the tier above it.
So what? Well, you need to write a letter explaining why you think you should have the penalty notice withdrawn. Once your letter lands on the doormat of the council offices it has to navigate all the layers until someone either approves or rejects your claim.
This process usually takes about 14 days.
There are two possible outcomes:
1. The council accepts your appeal and withdraw the penalty.
2. Decide you are in a fact a law breaker and reject your appeal.
If they decided to reject your claim, the council will send a Notice to Owner. This is the council equivalent of U.N strongly worded notice but it’s nothing to be frightened of. Is simply a letter telling you that it’s time for reinforcements i.e. you have another 14 days to make a formal representation.
Once again, the council can either accept or reject your representations. If they decide to play hardball you’ll receive a Notice of Rejection of Representation. You’ll also receive get an appeal form which you have 28 days to submit to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (an independent body which cannot be influenced by your council… unless the members are drinking pals – only joking!).
Before we go any further, dome headed mathematicians amongst you will have noticed that, by now, you’ll have gone past the original 28 days that you had to pay your parking fine. But that’s ok because you’re going through an appeal process. What does sting is that, if your appeal to the Tribunal fails, your fine will be cranked up by 50%.
How Do Wriggle Out Of Paying My Parking Fine?
If your appeal fails you could be boosting the councils entertainments fund by the not insignificant sum of £180!
There are a number of reasons that could get your penalty overturned and they’ll have to be written in your appeal:
- 1. The ‘crime’ did not happen. Just like the alien landings at Roswell, some contraventions simply never happened. Conspiracy theorists and alien abductees might feel slightly put out at this statement but the same can’t be said of anyone who’s been mistakenly issued a parking ticket.
- 2. You aren’t the owner of the vehicle. You stole the car, you parked on double yellow lines and someone had the cheek to send you the parking ticket! Bastards. Ok, you sold the vehicle but you still got a ticket – you can appeal.
- 3. The fine is too big. Getting a fine does not instantly make it “too big”. Before you rush out to pay your ticket ask your local council for a list of their fines. If the amount is incorrect you can appeal.
- 4. The intriguing case of the invisible ticket. Hercule Poirot can’t save you this time. Tickets no longer need to fixed to your car in order for them to be issued – the can be sent by post. But if any of the information is missing or incorrect you can apply to have the fine rescinded. Check there’s a photo of your car (with the registration visible), look for a date and time and make sure that evidence of your ‘crime’ can be seen i.e. you can see your parked on double yellows.
- 5. You only have one leg and you can prove it. Permits can hide a multitude of parking sins. If you’ve got it; flaunt it.
- 6. The signs were abducted by aliens. Ok, this won’t work but if signs detailing restrictions are missing then you can notch up another victory in the fight against your totalitarian council.
- 7. Loading your vehicle isn’t illegal… unless you do it on double yellow lines. If there are single yellow lines and no other markers indicating loading restrictions then any ticket issued is invalid. As long as there is signage (yes, that is a real word) indicating restrictions you have a full 20 mins in which you can load and unload your vehicle.
Fined By ‘Rent-a-warden’
Ever been fined for parking on private land? I don’t mean your late night indiscretions in the entrance to a farmers field. Have you ever picked up a fine in a private car park? If so, you may want to know that they have completely different rules to the council.
When a private land owner issues a penalty it is only the driver of the vehicle who is liable. Now’s your chance to play ‘hunt the dirty law breaker’ – if they don’t know who the drive is they can’t issue the fine. You’re a winner, now all you have to do is find a way to get your car off their land.
Ok, I really haven’t taken some of my comments too seriously but this post of full of some real gems that can save you money. Use them! In fact, whilst you’re here, I really think you should go to my Twitter page and follow me.