If there’s one subject that winds people up, it’s parking charges and tickets.
So if you’re around on Thursday evening, tune into ITV for the Tonight Show at 7:30 pm where I’ll be addressing the dodgy practices we’re helping people fight and how you can appeal unfair fines.
Here’s a bit more info and some tips ahead of the programme.
Private parking fees are not penalty charges or fixed penalty notices, (official charges from the police or council) despite what they might look like. They’re actually invoices for breaking parking rules on private land, like a supermarket or a hospital.
Even though these tickets aren’t fines, you’re still being billed for a breach of contract. What’s that, I hear you say, you never signed a contract?! Well, when you park on private land, you should see a sign that clearly sets out the rules. By parking there you agree to those rules, so if you overstay the firm can charge you for the privilege. And those charges can mount up.
The biggest problem with private parking charges is the fact that people get so angry about them that they ignore the ticket, rip it up (a bad idea) or decide they’re going to appeal but forget. You can fight parking fees and we can help you at Resolver but it’s important that you don’t delay.
As a general rule, it can be hard to get your money back when you’ve paid, so bear that in mind if you make a complaint. But if you don’t pay, speak to the company asap. Ask them to hold fire on charges while you present your case, and gather some evidence. Photograph the car park and sign, explain the circumstances that lead to the problem, keep a record of all your comments and ask them to respond in writing. You can find out more about your rights at our parking page.
Resolver’s private parking tips
1. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Private parking companies will increase their charges if you don’t pay up. Act quickly and tell them to suspend charges while you formally complain.
2. Don’t pay up straight away. But do tell the firm you’re going to appeal. It’s often harder (but not impossible) to get your cash back after you’ve paid. But don’t assume the firm has no right to charge you. Deal with the situation head on.
3. Gather evidence. The pay and display sign forms part of your contract with the parking firm. If it’s unclear, hidden, overgrown, vandalized, etc, you can argue you were misled. Take photos, write down everything you can remember, get witnesses if need be.
4. Give the human touch. We’ve seen shocking cases, from midwives at hospitals being ticketed while helping expectant mothers to people rushed into hospital being charged for not being back to their cars in time. Parking firms aren’t charities. But explain why you weren’t able to pay in time or return to the car.
5. Tell the landowner. Parking companies are working for the landowner. If their contractor is being overbearing or intimidating, they need to know about it.