Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)

Parking Charge Notices are not actually a fine. They are a service charge that private landowners and car park owners can charge when you park on their land.

Legal Basis for Parking Charge Notices

What makes these charges legal is they are based on contract law. This means when you park your car on a private landowner’s land you can, in certain circumstances, be deemed to have entered into a contract with them. 

For a contract to be formed they must first offer you the terms on which they agree to let you park on their land.

This is usually done by displaying those terms and conditions on a sign before you drive onto the land. It is important the terms and conditions are displayed before you drive onto the land.

This is because under the law of contract the landowner must offer the terms before you accept the offer. As you are deemed to accept the offer when you drive onto the land, the terms and conditions must be displayed before you enter (you are expected to look for them).

Displaying the Parking Terms and Conditions

The sign that displays these terms, therefore, should be displayed at a height that is easily visible, not too high and not too low. The type face should also be of an easily readable font size, again not too small.

The term should also state clearly the terms that you can park on the land or in the car park.  It should also state what happens if you don’t observe those terms.

So, if a ticket should be displayed in your car, it should say this. If you are only allowed to park for a certain period, it should state this also.

It should also state what happens if you don’t abide by these rules.

If there will be a service charge, it should state this and how much it will be.

How do Parking Companies know who you are?

Parking Companies will operate cameras on their sites or will employ Parking Attendants.

If you breach the terms of the contract, they will identify your car using the Parking Attendants, who will most likely take a photograph of your car or  they will use CCTV to do so.

They can then fix the fine to your car, but equally they may post the notice out to your address.

They can do this if they are a Private Company registered under the Approved Operator Scheme operated by the DVLA. This allows certain firms to purchase the details of the registered keepers of cars.

To be part of the Approved Operators Scheme, the Firm must be registered with the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community, both of which are trade bodies.

In 2017-18, Firms registered with these bodies purchased details of over 5 million car owners from the DVLA.

Can Parking Charge Notices be Challenged?

Parking Charge Notices can be challenged and should if you think they are wrong, as they can be enforced through the Courts. 

Providing they are constituted properly, they are legally binding contracts.

There are a number of strategies you can utilise in challenging a Parking Charge Notice if you believed it has been applied wrongly.

Is the Firm Registered?

The first thing to check: is the Firm registered as a member of a recognised trade body that allows it to be part of the DVLA’s Authorised  Operators Scheme?

If a firm is not registered and, therefore, not part of the Approved Operators Scheme, they are unlikely to be able to find out who you are from the DVLA.

You may, therefore, want to ask yourself, do you want to pay a fine to a Firm that has attached a fine to your windscreen or handed it you, but is not likely to be able to get your address from the DVLA?

Some argue you should just ignore them, but if they do locate you, they can still take you to Court.  Alternatively, you can still write to them outlining the reasons why you think the charge is wrong.  Some may choose not to write to them until they receive a letter through the post from the Firm.

If the Firm is registered,  then the next route that should be used to dispute the Fine is to use the Firm’s internal appeal process and their Trade body’s independent adjudication service.

This is a free process, doesn’t involve lawyers and also doesn’t prevent you raising a defence in Court if you fail and the Firm then takes you to Court.

There are a number of possible arguments you could use, both during the appeal process or in Court. 

Some of these are outlined below for illustrative purposes, but you may want to tailor them to suit the specifics of your case.

Remember gathering evidence is important, so ask for evidence from the Firm and scrutinise it.  There has been incidents of private firms fraudulently tampering with photographic evidence and being banned by the DVLA from the Approved Operator’s Scheme, so stay alert.

You can also gather your own evidence. Photograph the signs, as these are crucial to whether a contract was formed, take written statements from those that were with you. If a ticket machine was out of order, then photograph it.

Was a Contract formed?

As stated above, if the firm did not display it’s terms in an easily accessible format before you entered the contract, and only displayed them once you entered the car park, then arguably those terms do not apply to your contract.

Equally, if the sign does not expressly say you will be charge a certain amount if you break the terms of the contract, then the firm may not have any legal basis for charging you the amount they are trying to charge you. 

Is it Factually Correct?

Some firms, even firms that have been part of the Approved Operators Scheme, have been found to be fraudulently tampering with photographs, showing vehicle owners over-staying their time in a car park, when they didn’t.

One firm, who has now been banned by the DVLA, was found to be sending fines to people stating they have overstayed, when they had not.

In one set of photographs, it was shown the cloud formation in the sky behind a car was the same, despite the timestamp on both photos showing hours of a difference between them.

Another showed the boot of an adjacent car open in both photos, despite the timestamp in both photos being hours apart.

For this reason, if you dispute what the Firm is saying, ask for evidence to show that you committed the breach they allege you committed.

Is the Service Charge Reasonable?                              

Previously it was believed that the charges private firms charged did not have to be paid, as they were not legally enforceable. This was because they called them “penalty” charges or “fines” and under the law of contract, punitive charges are not allowed.

This means firms can only charge you for a breach of contract for a reasonable amount that represents their loss.

This was the decision in a UK Supreme Court case (ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67)   and applied to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It does mean Firms can enforce reasonable charges, however. In Scottish case heard in Dundee Sheriff Court a similar decision was made in Vehicle Control  Services v Mackie.

Firms, therefore, may only charge a reasonable amount if you stay beyond your allotted time on the land.

What constitutes reasonable is hard to ascertain, but if you believe the charge a firm is charging you is excessive and punitive, they should provide proof it represents a reasonable assessment of their losses. 

Ultimately, it is for a court to decide if the charge is reasonable or not; but it should be borne in mind, if a challenge is made on these grounds and unsuccessful, not only may you have to pay the charge, but also the other party’s legal costs.

Were you driving the Vehicle?

If you are the Registered Keeper of a car but were not driving it at the time the fine was charged, you can argue that you are not liable for the fine.

To do this, you would need to notify the Company, once you receive the notice.

It is likely you will be expected to give the name and contact details of the person that was driving the vehicle. If you don’t, then at present although there is no concept of Registered Keeper’s liability in Scotland, a Court may presume, in the absence of you identifying the driver, that you were the driver. 

The law in Scotland is expected to change with the introduction  of the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which will introduce the concept of Registered Keepers Liabilty.

This will mean where the identity of the driver is not known, the Registered Keeper can be held liable.

If your defence is the car had been stolen, you will be required to provide proof of this by providing a police crime reference number. 

Mitigating Circumstances 

Don’t be afraid to cite mitigating circumstances, if something caused you to commit a parking violation. so if you had to park over a bay because of another driver’s parking (you may want to take a photograph as evidence); or if you were late back because of a disability, don’t be afraid to point this out.

You may also want to appeal to the owner of the land who may be different from the Parking Firm.  So you could write to the Hospital if you parked on hospital land, or to the supermarket (especially if you have been in their shop spending money.  You may want to show them your receipt).

How to Appeal a Parking Fine Notice

Parking firms should operate an appeal process.  If they are members of the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community, this is a requirement of their membership.

When you receive a notice from a firm it should notify you also of their internal appeal process and how you make an appeal.

The firm should acknowledge receipt of your appeal within 14 days of them receiving it; and ultimately decide it within 35 days of it being made.

If they choose to reject your appeal, they should notify you of the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) Tribunal process if they are members the British Parking Association; or the Independent Appeal Service if they are members of the International Parking Community

Previously appeals to POPLA was not possible, if you were in Scotland or Northern Ireland, but this change on the 1st May 2019.

These are  independent processes and you can submit an appeal after you have used the Firm’s own internal process first.

Going to Court for a Parking Charge Notice

If you dispute a Parking Charge Notice and intend to defend it in court, you should seek advice first.

You can obtain advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or from a solicitor. 

More information can be obtained on going to Court by visting the Scottish Court Website

How are Parking Charge Recovered?

Like with the Penalty Charge Notice, private firm Parking Charge Notices can be enforced through the courts and recovered using Sheriff Officers and diligence, legal debt recovery procedures, such as:

Can Parking Charges Damage your Credit Score?

If a Decree is obtained from the Court and the amount owed not paid with 30 days, it may be registered on your Credit Report.

It will, therefore, damage your Credit Score.

Can your Vehicle be Clamped for a Parking Violation?

Wheel clamping has been banned in Scotland since 1992.  So no private firm should clamp your car.

If your vehicle is clamped, even wrongly, you should not remove the clamp yourself, but contact the Police. If you remove the clamp yourself you may find yourself charged with vandalism.

Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019

The Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 was passed by the UK Parliament in March 2019. It provides the Secretary of State with new powers to issue guidance to private parking firms and to issue guidance relating to fees and penalties.

As at the time of writing this article, this Code of Practice has not been produced. It will apply across the whole of the UK.

Sorry.  Due to the volume of questions, I am no longer able to answer questions relating to Parking fines.

Readers Questions

  1. C

    Hi,

    Four years ago I traveled from England to visit a friend in Glasgow. My car was parked in a residential space at his flat, as he didn’t drive my car was parked in his space. I received a parking charge on my windshield and later one to my home. I ignored these as that was the advice I saw online at the time. Four years later I’ve received a new letter from DCB Ltd threatening to advise their client to start legal action against me if I do not pay £160, the letter also says I’m no longer able to appeal. Is the best course of action to continue to ignore?
    Thanks

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi C

      From a purely legal point of view, my advice may also be to my clients to begin legal action at this point, as normally debts can be written off after 5 years with old age in Scotland. One way of avoiding that is to take the person to Court and the debt can recovered for up to 20 years.

      However, they may be bluffing and it may be another threatening letter and if you do nothing, they may eventually give up. Alternatively they may take you to Court and you may have to pay legal fees also.

      To be honest there is no way to tell.

      That is just a decision you have to take. They have done nothing up to now, so one view is why would they do anything now? Another view is they may, as time is running out for them.

  2. Gary

    Hello,
    In July 2020 I was assisting my elderly disabled mother in a small local shopping centre near Glasgow with its own private car park.

    My mother’s Blue Badge was clearly displayed on the window of my car and so we thought we were parked legally. We did not read any of the signage pertaining to car parking as I was with a registed blind person and we were busy dodging puddles in what was a very poorly drained area during a heavy rain shower.

    I have so far ignored the several demands for a fixed penatly of £170 but the case has now escalated and I’m now being threatened with court action. In their letter the Debt Recovery Company’s lawyers are citing a scenario whereby the court awarded the claimant £24,500 for multiple unpaid charges (I only have one).

    I considered writing to the Debt Recovery Company earlier however was advised by another agency that these cases are not enforceable in Scotland. Further research has since questioned this advice.

    Should I write now explaining the mitigating circumstances or is it too late now for that now that the case has escalated?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Gary

      I have heard this being said before that advice agencies are saying these debts are not enforceable. They are. That’s not always to say they will go to Court, but it is an option.

      If you want further evidence they are enforceable, here is an article in the Glasgow Herald dealing with a case where the court upheld the tickets.

      It is an extreme example but illustrates they should not be ignored.

      However, that said, the Firm must ensure the signs are on display before your enter and visible for drivers. They will most likely also be members of a private parking body and must follow their codes of practice and you may have rights to a late appeal to those bodies also.

      However, from what you are saying I think I would write to the Firm and do what you have suggested. Explain the circumstances and ask if they will exercise their discretion in this case to waive the fine.

      You can possibly get assistance from your local advice agency.

      1. Gary McAlpine

        Many thanks for your prompt reply and for confirming my next course of action.
        Kind regards,
        Gary

      2. Gary McAlpine

        Hello again,

        I now have a file with letters from 4 separate companies, I am unsure whether to write to one or all four. Can you give me further advise please?

        Since the incident in early July 2020, I have received 7 letters over a 6 month period; 2 from Gemini Parking Solutions followed by 3 from Debt Recovery Plus, folllowed by 1 from Zenith Collections and finally a letter from CST Law dated 7/1/21 and giving me until 21/1/21 to pay the fine.

        Many thanks,
        Gary

        1. Scottish Adviser Post author

          Hi Gary

          It is common for Firms to put debts out for collection to one Firm for a while and if they don’t get paid, take it back, or sometimes be given it back. They, therefore, then give it to another Firm.
          As a general rule, therefore, always write to who sent you the last letter, but ask them to pass the debt back to the original Firm that gave you the debt and ask they consider writing it off, as its their decision.

  3. Mike

    Hello,

    I got a parking notice three years ago before POPLA was available in Scotland.

    They continue to send letters demanding I pay or they will take me to court.

    Is it possible to appeal to POPLA now that they are available in Scotland even if the original charge was from three years ago.

    Or is there a way to force the private firm to actually make good on their threat of taking me to court?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

      As far as I aware POPLA won’t hear appeals for periods before they became available. However, I would just suggest contacting them and asking (see here).

      Realistically, there isn’t any way to force them to take you to Court other than just continuing to refuse to pay.

      After 5 years the debt, even if it is recoverable, is legally unenforceable because of prescription law.

  4. L

    Hello,

    Great website – very informative.

    I have received a PCN of £100 for allegedly overstaying in a car park in Scotland. The allowable time is 90 minutes, and the timestamps on the evidence they have included on their PCN shows that the car was in the car park for 14 minutes longer than this. This would mean that they are charging over £7/minute. Could this not be see as excessive, or a penalty?

    It is also noted that the signs in the car park are clear, and they state that should they pass the debt to a third party for collection, they they will apply an additional £60 charge. They have passed this to a third party, but the third party (ZZPS) has added a £70 charge. Is this not a breach of contract?

    Thanks for any help/advice you can offer,

    L

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi L

      Well I think you have grounds to challenge the Debt Collection Fees, as they are clearly in excess of what the sign says, so they have no contractual basis for charging £70.

      In relation to the charge and how much they are charging you per minute, unfortunately, I don’t think this is the way they will look at it. They will, I assume argue their pricing model is that they charge a flat service charge if you exceed the allowed time limit. This is a normal pricing model for these firms.

      You can appeal, if you do so within the allowed time they allow for appeals (which is normally 14 days, but may differ for different Firms), but I am assuming that time has now passed if it has been passed to a debt collection agency.

      If they are Members of a professional body, they may allow late appeals, but there is normally a charge and you need to provide a good reason for not appealing within the set times.

      Ultimately, they could take it to court and you will need to decide at that point if you wish to defend it or not. If it does progress that far, you could be liable for legal expenses also, and it could damage you credit rating.

  5. Bob

    Hello,
    Can you please advise what constitutes a fair & reasonable parking fine.
    An organisation called Parkmaven has issued me with a fine of £100 (reduced to £60 if paid within 28 days) for a stay of 28m 52s.
    This is more than £2/minute.
    I don’t dispute the time, just the amount. Can I appeal?

    Regards

    Bob

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Bob

      There is no definition in any legislation, so if you were going to challenge any level of charge being excessive, it would ultimately be for a judge to decide.

      That would mean disputing the level of the charge with them and waiting to see if they took you to Court and then defending the action on the basis you think the amount is punitive or excessive.

      I would not recommend this course of action for a number of reasons:

      This could drag on for months if not years and you would lose the right to the discount they have offered you.

      Second, if it went to Court you could be liable for legal expenses and this could significantly increase the level of the debt. You may not also win.

      I have looked ParkMaven up and it appears to me they are a software provider for Car Parks, so I am not sure if they are actually the people who have sent you the charge.

      Parking Firms should be part of one of two Parking Associations. These are the British Parking Association and also the International Parking Community .

      If they are not members of one of these Associations then the DVLA will not provide them with your details. To be members of one of these organisations they need to adhere to their Code of Conduct, which includes a right to appeal any charge. You should also have a further right to an Independent Adjudicator after that.

      That is not to say that if a Firm is not a member of one of these bodies they cannot pursue you for a ticket. It will just be harder for them.

      I would try and find out who is the Company that has given you the ticket. As I say I don’t think it is Parkmaven, but I may be wrong, and ask what body they are a member of and what is their appeal process.

      You could then appeal on the basis you believe the charge is excessive and not a reasonable service charge.

      Basically, the law as it stands at present, is these firms cannot charge penalties, as penalties under contract law are illegal, which is why for years people believed these tickets were unrecoverable legally.

      However, there have been Court Cases since that have established they can charge Service Charges, to cover their costs and also like any business make a profit.

      However, the question is when does a Service Charge become a penalty? Unfortunately there is no clear answer to that, but there is nothing to stop you arguing it is excessive in any appeal. I just would not personally take it any further, especially as you are conceding you over stayed.

      Be aware of and deadline for appeal or taking advantage of any discount and enquire with them, if you do appeal and lose, will you still be able to pay and take advantage of the discounted amount.

    2. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Also Bob, if you are going to appeal make sure that they also met all the other conditions for applying charges, such as displaying their terms and conditions on a legible sign that was visible before you entered, as if they didn’t, this is another grounds for disputing a ticket. Take photographs if you have any concerns the sign didn’t meet these standards.

  6. Sharon

    Hi my daughter drove into a McDonald’s with a car park not belonging to them ,to meet her partner for food , he was running late so she drove to collect him and drove back into car park .They bought the food at drive through then sat about 15 min and ate in car park . She is now being fined for this as a sign has written in it no return within a set amount of time . Surly this is enough to challenge fine ?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Sharon

      Interestingly, some people say Mcdonald’s are actually a real estate firm that sells food, rather than a fast food firm that owns property. Property management is a huge part of their business.

      This sounds like a strict application of the rules and I am sure the reason she has the fine is because a camera will have taken a photo and will have had registration plate,reading technology. It will automatically process the charge, as technically the rules have been broken.

      However, for the firm to know who she is they would have obtained her details from the DVLA This means they will be members of a Parking Association. This means they will have rules about how you appeal a parking fine and, if unsuccesful at the first step, appeal it to the Association.

      I think she needs to appeal the decision and also request evidence. They should provide time stamped photographs of her car entering, leaving and also entering again. Ensure the times are correct and she has re-entered within the prohibited times.

      However, also tell them her partner was a customer. The cameras tell them she broke their rules, so they can fine her. What they don’t tell her is the circumstances or the story behind why she broke them. Explaining this and if the fine will cause her financial difficulties may persuade them to use their discretion in this case to waive the fee.

      If the Parking Firm don’t waive the charge, take it to their Parking Associations Adjudication process.

      Be aware of any time limits governing the process and try and make sure she appeals within them.

      Don’t ignore the fines. They can be legally enforced and it is these Firm’s business to do so. They can also increase if ignored.

  7. Colin

    Good morning.
    Over 3 years ago I took my motorcycle to Braehead shopping centre with my son as pillion passenger. As I could find no car parking spaces where there was something suitable to lock my motorcycle to, I looked for an area where I would not be causing an obstruction, but where my motorcycle was secure. I found a place, off the route of pedestrians and not blocking any accesses. Surprise surprise I got a ticket which I have so far ignored. On seeing the ticket, I took photos of where I had parked,
    Now I have a letter from an English based debt recovery company asking me to set up a payment plan for debt of £150 else face potential court action.
    Is this legal in so much as parking was free anyway, so Braehead has not lost any monies by me parking as I did?
    Pub folklore says never enter into communications as this is seen as an admission of guilt.
    Is it OK to continue to ignore?
    Thanks
    Colin

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Colin

      I would say first of all the folklore you refer to is out of date and dangerous.
      There was a previous argument that private parking penalties were illegal or could be illegal as penalties are not allowed in Scots Common law or under Scots Contract law.
      However, since then there has been a UK Supreme Court which takes the view they are not penalties, but lawful service charges, so ignoring them is dangerous, in that not only can these charges be legally enforced in Court, but they can increase over time.
      However, what you are describing may be slightly different. You appear to have parked in a non-designated parking area of Braehead. I am not sure if there are signs up saying you should not park in these areas and if you do what the charge is.
      If there are none, I am not sure if a private parking firm can apply a charge. Generally the principle about private parking fines is you have parked in a designated parking area, that had signs on display that tell you the terms of parking there (length of time etc.) and if you breach the terms, you effectively either accept the terms of parking in that area and any charges that apply, including any charges if you breach the terms.
      If you park in a non-designated area, it would depend on whether these parking signs cover those areas also. That may be something a judge has to decide. If they decide they do, you will have to pay the charge.
      If they don’t this may be a case of trespass, which is a civil wrong. The problem with trespass in Scotland is damages are not payable unless it can be shown that damage has been caused.
      Normally, if you wrongly park somewhere it is the Police or Traffic Wardens that give you the ticket; or possibly a Local Authority Parking Attendant if you are in breach of local by laws. These would be payable, unless you can show you were not illegally parked.
      Without knowing the signs or where you parked, I cannot decisively say.
      However, I would say this firm may well take you to Court and you would have to defend the action or they would likely get a court order against you. They could also get their legal expenses, which could significantly increase the amount you owe.
      If you are not prepared to pay the debt, I would write to the firm and dispute it and outline why you don’t think you should pay it. They will also usually be a member of a professional Parking Association, so if you cannot resolve it with them, you can usually appeal it to their professional body, but you need to be prepared for them taking it to Court if you are not successful.
      I would not in future ignore any parking ticket. Hope it works out.
      If you have a chance, I appreciate any feedback via my Trust Pilot Page.

  8. Mike

    Hi
    I’ve received a notice of debt recovery from an English bailiffs DCBL for a parking charge issued by UKPC in March 2019. Do English Bailiffs have any rights in Scotland? I don’t recall receiving any previous notices from UKPC relating to this? As a result is it enforceable? Can I refuse to deal with them and ask for a copy of the original notice and only deal with UKPC? £160 seems unreasonable for staying over the time limit.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Mike

      Bailiffs cannot enforce debt recovery in Scotland. It has to be a Sheriff Officer. However, many Bailiffs also work as debt collectors and can try and recover the debt from you using letters, telephone call and visiting your home (though they cannot enter).
      There are also procedures for them to get a court order in Scotland and send the debt to Sheriff Officers to be recovered.
      The fact the debt dates back to March 2019 is not long enough ago for the debt to not be recovered.
      To enforce the debt they need to go to Court, but the time delay wouldn’t prevent a court granting a court order.
      You can send them a letter to say you dispute the debt and ask they return it to the original creditor to ask they provide proof it is owed. This should cease any debt recovery action until UKPC provide you with evidence as to how the original debt arose and how it has increased to £160.

  9. Irene

    Hi

    I have received a Charge Notice from Highview Parking for parking overstay in Livingston outside a chip shop.

    We actually never seen the signs, also the chip shop should have told us to put our car registration number into a box on the wall and that would have dealt with it.

    Three times we were there and no one told us this.

    We have now receive the first of what I presume will be 3 fines.

    I have asked the shop manager to deal with the firm for us an let them know that we were customers, but they wont.

    What can we do. I am disabled and have a blue badge on the car.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Irene

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

      I am sorry this has occurred. I obviously don’t know all the details, so I am not sure the Chip Shop owner can do anything.

      Highview Parking are a private firm who will be managing the site for the owners, who may or may not be the chip shop owners. I believe they are now part of a firm called Group Nexus.

      The key question is was there a sign visible before you entered the parking space. Saying you never saw it won’t usually be enough. You are expected to ensure there are no restrictions when you park, so the onus is on you. If there was no sign, or it was not easily visible, you may have grounds for appealing the ticket. Highview will have details of how you can appeal on their ticket. Also see here (click on link) you can do it online.

      If the sign was not very visible, or too high up or obstructed, so you could not read it, you may want to take a photo and send it to them, as part of your appeal.

      Also you may want to check what the terms on the sign state and check you did breach them. You may have been allowed for a period, without being fined. If this is the case they should have photographic evidence on when you entered and left the site. Check this is correct.

      Ultimately, these fines can be legally enforced, so don’t ignore them.

      You can also request they waive them on the basis of your disability and you were visiting the chip shop at the time as a customer. They may do this, but its probably at their discretion, so you cannot force them.

      Ultimately, if you are not happy with how they deal with your case, I believe they are members of the British Parking Association, a trade body and you should have a further right to appeal to them.

      If you need any assistance, contact your local advice agency. See here for your local agency.

      Remember if you get further tickets, these will need to be appealed, so maybe best getting a photo of the sign and speaking to your local advice agency. Also bear in mind there are strict time limits you need to adhere to when appealing, so don’t delay.

  10. Tom F

    A general query. It says in a lot of the guidance detail about private parking that the terms & conditions must be displayed in a place prior to you entering the parking lot. From my experience most of these T&C signages are located on the public highway or footpath with no place to stop (without causing a traffic obstruction) to allow you to read the detail prior to entering parking lot. How does this scenario work then if you cant read the T&Cs without first parking in the lot to then go back and read the signage?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      I suppose I would take a commonsense sort of approach. I will often park in free parking spaces where the T & Cs are not that visible before I park. However, I will usually get out my car and look before I leave my car there.
      If I am not happy with the T & Cs I would leave.
      Where I would have to drive through a barrier and take a ticket and could not read the T & Cs before doing so, I would read them once I parked my car. I would not expect to be charged if having read I then decided to leave.
      If you think the T & Cs were not easy to read, obstructed etc. I would take a photo for use in any appeal.
      The basic principle is you should be able to see and read the T & Cs before you enter into a contract with the parking space provider. One way of looking at it, is you do that when you drive into a parking space, having read the T & Cs before entering. Another way is when you park, read them and decide to leave your car, (if you couldn’t see them before you drove in).
      They should still be clearly visible and at a height, font that allows them to be read.
      What a court would look for is the provider offered parking services on certain terms and conditions and these were made clearly visible and you impliedly accepted them by driving onto the lot and leaving your car.

  11. Mark

    Hi. My wife just received a £60 ticket for overstaying at a supermarket car park by 30 minutes.
    Although the T&Cs are plastered around the car park, the sign at the entrance reads only “Up to 3 hours free customer parking”.
    Would this fall under the landowner failing to offer Terms & Conditions of parking?
    Thanks

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Mark

      This is quite standard for supermarkets. It’s not enough for the sign to say that the length of stay is 3 hours per customer, but also it must tell you the charge if you overstay.
      I would check the sign to see if it says that. They normally do.
      You can also ask for evidence your wife overstayed. Photographic evidence is normally provided.
      Sometimes if the person has a disability, you could write to the store and ask they waive it, or ask they waive it this time, if your wife has spent alot in the store. A receipt can help to show she was in the store at the right time and was shopping.
      Unfortunately, these charges are enforceable and recoverable if they show they had the correct signs before she entered and she overstayed.
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  12. Ruth

    Hi, my partner has a letter from debt collection agency from a fine in March 2018. He has ignored it so far. If taken to court and he has to pay will it affect his credit rating?

    What is the likely hood of being taken to county court?

    It’s also at an old address and only found out by chance from current owners. It is 2 fines at £140 each, in Scotland. Also with high view parking.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Ruth

      The fine can be taken to Court with a view to obtaining a Court Order.

      If he is in Scotland, it would be the Sheriff Court, using Simple Procedure. If he is anywhere else in the UK it would be the County Court. A good place to get information about actions raised in the County Court is the National Debtline Website.

      The fact he got it in Scotland doesn’t stop it being enforced else where in the UK, though there is a good argument the action should be raised in his local court to allow him to defend the action if he wishes to.

      I cannot give you the odds on them raising an action, other than to say they do, so I would not encourage anyone to be complacent about them doing so, as it can add significantly to what is owed and if a CCJ or a Scottish Decree is granted for payment of a sum of money and it isn’t paid within 30 days, it can damage his credit rating.

      As you can see from this page there are a variety of possible defences he may be able to use and also appeal processes that can be made to the firm, but many have time limits, so if you are beyond these the Firm may say it is too late.

      However, I would argue it is still worthwhile making them as, they may also be defences that could be made in front of a Judge if an action is raised in Court.

      1. Ruth

        Thanks for your quick reply.

        He lives in Scotland so would be the sheriff court. He is thinking about ignoring it and waiting to see if they take it to court and paying within the 30 days so there is no decree and credit rating is ok. He would not be able to appeal as multiple fines.

        The fines are at £140 each just now. Will the total be lots higher if court papers are actioned? I’m not sure how high they can increase?

        1. Scottish Adviser Post author

          Hi Ruth

          There is no way to say definitively how much it would add to the debt as it depends on a number of factors.

          First, whether they raise one action for all the debts, or separate actions for each fine. If they do the latter the cost could be more, also if the action is defended then lost this could add to the costs.

          I would say at least £2-300 if they raise just one action, but don’t hold me to that. Its just a risk he had to take and ultimately it’s down to the Sheriff what expenses he awards, though generally if you lose and the other Party had the right to raise the action then usually they will be awarded.

          Also in terms of settling the debt, so it doesn’t affect his credit rating, this isn’t automatic and there is a procedure which is explained on this page on the Scottish Courts website which deals with Money Judgements and Certificates of Satisfaction.

  13. David

    Hi,
    I have a final reminder-unpaid parking charge from Highview Parking which states they have instructed Direct Collection Baillifs Limited to collect the outstanding balance of £160
    This was in Scotland in a shopping car park 21 months ago where I was not the driver indeed I was working apx 80 miles away
    I have not responded to their letters,do you think I should pay it ?
    Kind Regards
    David

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi David

      You could try challenging it or appealing it.
      They are likely to ask you who was driving the car at the time.
      You don’t need to provide this information, but its unlikely they will stop pursuing you unless you do.
      If they take it to Court, which they can do, and you rely on such a defence, the Court will likely require you to provide that information.
      There is a reputable presumption you were driving the car, as it is your car. However, you must rebut it by providing evidence, as you would be expected to know who was driving your car.
      As for the amount, it seems excessive. How did it get to £160?
      They can only add to the amount originally owed, if it was stated on the Terms and Conditions displayed outside the car park. They cannot just add on penalties etc, there must be a legal basis to them, so they must have been stated on the T’s and C’s on the sign.

      1. David

        Thank you for replying to me so soon,the fine is £160 now as I ignored all previous ones and ,Highview parking have now passed it to a Debt collector.

        In their letter they state I am now no longer able to appeal the parking charge and my next opportunity to dispute the charge would be if the matter was taken to court.

        Are they able to enforce keeper liability yet?

        It states on their paper work – Liability for this charge in Scotland is the driver of the vehicle on the date and time of this parking charge being issued and they are responsible for payment.

        This case is not subject to High Court or Baillif action.

        I Have continued to ignore ,but don’t know if it’s worth letting them know I wasn’t driving.

        Many thanks again

        For your time and advice.

        Best Regards
        David

        1. Scottish Adviser Post author

          Hi David

          First I am not sure what Highview Parking’s appeal process is, but they are members of the British Parking Association, so if you are concerned they are refusing a right to appeal, you can contact them and complain.

          However, as I have said, even if you appeal, and your defence is someone else was driving the car, they will likely ask you to provide details of who was driving the car.

          Although they cannot force you to provide this information, they are unlikely to uphold your appeal if you don’t.

          As far as I am aware Keeper’s Lisbility is not in force yet in Scotland. It was introduced into the law by section 95 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

          However, Regulations need to be passed by the Scottish Government to commence the Regulations, called Commencement Orders and although two Orders have passed, from what I can see neither relate to section 95.

          This has to happen and usually will contain transitional provisions which state when they apply from (so they may not apply to tickets issued prior to their commencement).

          However, I stress if this goes to Court I expect the Court will presume you were driving the car, as the registered keeper and they will expect you to state who was driving it to rebut that presumption.

  14. Eunice

    I received a Parking Charge Notice with issue date of 26th March 2020 for over staying in private car park in Glasgow on 9th March 2020. Is there a time limit on firms within which they have to issue notice please?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Eunice

      My apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

      There is no time limit that would cover such a short period.

      At best the only one I can think is under the laws of statute barred debts, which would be 5 years.

  15. Brenda

    Hi my son got a parking charge notice for £60 while parked at the university he attends he didn’t pay it as he thought it was a scam he has now received a letter from a debt collector demanding payment of £130 to be paid within 14 days or court proceedings may happen -he is a student and doesn’t have money to pay-what do you advise?
    Thank you

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Brenda

      This sounds like a Parking Charge Notice, from a private firm. So very much enforcible and not a scam.

      Read my page on these using the highlighted text above. It may be appealable at this stage and also check they have evidence (of the breach).

      If he was clearly in the wrong and they clearly advertised the terms of conditions of parking, it may be he has to pay it, but maybe able to negotiate a repayment plan with them.

      His local Citizen Advice Bureau or Student Advice Service may be able to help him or the law school in many universities also run free law clinics.

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