This advice on how to fight a parking ticket is wrong

15th Aug 2019


Penalty charge notices are usually issued by the police or councils, while parking charge notices are invoices issued by private companies.




You should just ignore a parking charge notice.


You shouldn’t ignore it completely. If you want to appeal the notice then don’t pay immediately and follow guidance on appeals provided by Citizens Advice. But if you don’t have grounds to appeal, then it’s best to pay.


Martin Lewis, the founder of Money Saving Expert, recommends ignoring parking charge notices.


Martin Lewis has said he does not recommend this.

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A post on Facebook shared hundreds of thousands of times explains the difference between two types of parking ticket, and issues advice on whether or not to pay the charges.

The post is correct in essentially describing the difference between the two tickets, but the advice to simply ignore tickets issued by private companies needs more context.

The implication that this advice comes from Martin Lewis, the founder of Money Saving Expert, is false.

What types of parking charges are there?

The post outlines the difference between penalty charge notices and parking charge notices.

A penalty charge notice is a fine issued by local councils. You’ll receive one if you breach parking rules on public land or break certain traffic rules.

A parking charge notice is issued by a private company if you, for example, break parking conditions in a private car park.

There is a third type of ticket—a fixed penalty notice parking fine which can be issued by the police, either for more serious parking offences, or where the police, rather than councils, enforce parking rules in public spaces.

What to do if you get a parking charge notice?

The post says that if you receive a parking charge notice you should just ignore it, even if the company threatens you with court.

This isn’t great advice.

Money Saving Expert (whose founder, Martin Lewis, is implied to be the original source of this advice in the Facebook post) actually says: “Landowners have a right to charge for and police parking, eg, if you've blocked a hospital entrance.

“If you've broken the rules, and you think the ticket isn't exorbitant or disproportionate, pay up.”

Martin Lewis has previously confirmed that an older version of the same Facebook post does not represent his advice.

The government says that, normally, a driver parking on private land (with clear signage setting out the terms and conditions of parking) enters into a contract with the car park owner.

So if you’ve got a ticket for breaking the terms set out, then you should pay your fine. Non-payment could lead to a higher charge or even legal procedures and associated costs.

However if you believe that you have a case for appeal, then Citizens Advice recommend that you don’t pay  the charge immediately. Paying the charge can be seen as an admission of responsibility.

Not paying immediately is not the same as completely ignoring the notice, however.

Your best course of action will depend on the precise circumstances (such as whether the company that gave you the ticket is a member of an “accredited trade association”), but in many cases it will involve contacting the company. Money Saving Expert explicitly say they do not recommend the approach of totally ignoring the ticket.

Further advice on whether you have grounds for appeal, and how to appeal is available from Citizen’s Advice.

Penalty charge notices (issued by the councils and police) can also be appealed against; it’s not just parking charge notices.