Parking fines and what you can do about them.
There are two types of car parking fines.
Fines by public authorities for cars parked on publicly owned land.
Publicly owned land will include council owned multi-storey car parks and pay and displays, as well as parking bays at the side of the road. Most fines issued by councils are Penalty charge notices which are stuck to your screen, or the ones they send through the post later. These fines have the weight of the law behind them and are usually enforced by local councils and the traffic wardens they employ. Any appeals must normally be made through the council run process. In Warrington you can appeal parking fines via this link
You must then follow the council process, but if you are unsuccessful you still have a final right of appeal to an independent adjudicator. And remember over 50% of appeals are successful.
Fines imposed by private companies.
A private landowner has no automatic right to charge you for parking. Private land can belong to shops, supermarkets hospitals or factories or private citizens. The right to charge you only arises if they believe that you have entered into a binding contract with them. It’s a bit like when you go to a restaurant and order a meal: The waiter won’t bother to get you to sign a contract, but after your meal it won’t come as a surprise if the restaurant gives you a bill. It’s the same with parking on private land. First, they provide ‘Car Park’ signage to attract you in; but their charges and all the terms and conditions must be clearly presented by notice when you enter the car park. If you park in a bay the parking company will contend that you have accepted the terms of the contract.
However, they don’t always get it right. So, if you believe there was no contract, or that you acted in accordance with the contract, or that the charges are unfair or unreasonable in amount, or you couldn’t see the signage, then you can appeal. You should appeal quickly directly to the parking company. If the firm rejects your appeal, then you may be able to make a further appeal to an independent assessor; through popla.co.uk if it is a member of the British Parking Association; or via theias.org for members of the Independent Parking Committee.
Something to keep in mind next time you get caught out.