Five Questions On: Unfair parking tickets


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The Independent Online

All parking tickets are unfair, aren't they?

Now now. You know if you park in the wrong place without buying a proper parking ticket, you'll face penalties.

So when are parking tickets unfair?

When they're slapped on cars by private parking firms that bully or trick people into paying up when they don't need to.

Does that happen often?

Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert reckons it does. He's got into a war of words with the companies.

Over the last 14 months, a group of nine private car parking firms have threatened the advice site with legal action unless it changed the content of its guide to challenging unfair private parking tickets.

The parking firms often operate in supermarkets, retail parks, hospitals and housing estates. They claim legitimacy and their tickets often mimic the Penalty Charge Notice titles of official council tickets. But these companies have no official right to fine you – they're invoices, not fines, says Mr Lewis. And the invoices are not always enforceable, he reckons.

When are they not enforceable?

When they are unfair, according to Mr Lewis. "Many people get tickets because they failed to see the signs that are hidden by overgrown trees or written in a very tiny font, or the ground markings were unclear or they were blue badge holders who overstayed their allocated time by a few minutes. Most reasonable people would think the ticket was unfair."

So I shouldn't pay in these circumstances?

Mr Lewis advises paying if you get a fair ticket because you wrongly used a parking space. But if the ticket's unfair then don't pay.

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