How can I appeal an unfair parking ticket? Part 1
Do you think you’ve been unfairly issued a parking ticket? If you do, you’re in good company. A recent article about a chatbot lawyer, called DoNotPay – that helps you assess whether the ticket you’ve been given is fair – has helped people appeal 160,000 tickets in just 21 months.
That’s a real eye-opener, as had those people not had access to DoNotPay (1) they wouldn’t know their ticket was unfairly issued (2) they wouldn’t know what to do about it and (3) they would, probably, have paid the fine!
With so many parking tickets being issued in, let’s say, dubious circumstances, it’s worth looking to see if you have any that could be appealed. And if you don’t have a Smartphone, or you don’t fancy downloading another app, here’s a two-part blog how to do it ‘old style’.
Is it worth appealing a parking ticket?
Yes, it probably is. According to moneysavingexpert, approximately 57% of people who take their parking ticket appeal all the way to the official independent body, win their case. So, if you really think your ticket was issued unfairly, it’s definitely worth following it up.
However, be careful if you’re not that sure, because there’s a risk that you'll end up having to pay more if you appeal the case and lose. You’ll have lost the 50% 14-day discount you receive for, yes, you’ve guessed it, paying within 14 days. And, if you don’t win, you almost certainly have court costs to pay too.
If you decide you’re going to appeal, make sure you follow the golden rule – don’t pay the fine then try to claim it back. This is very difficult and will likely take you much longer to resolve. It also might work against you, if you take your appeal further, as paying the fine may be seen as an admission of guilt.
When should I appeal a parking ticket?
First you need to decide if the ticket was issued unfairly. There are lots of times when tickets are justified, and some occasions when they’re not. If they’re not, it’s usually because of one of the following:
• you didn't break the rules for parking in that location
• the rules weren't clearly displayed
• or the fine you were given is too high
These aren’t the only reasons though – you can also appeal a parking ticket if:
• your car was stolen
• your car didn't belong to you when the ticket was issued
• the ticket machines were not working
• you parked in mitigating circumstances – this could mean something like you became ill while driving and needed to stop, or your car broke down while you were parked.
You have 28 days to challenge the ticket, but you should really try to do it before the 14-day time limit has passed. That way, if your appeal is rejected, you’ll only be asked to pay 50% of the fine, instead of the full amount.
What do I Need to Appeal a Parking Ticket?
You'll need to gather evidence to back-up any claims you make and you should try to get this at the time you discover the ticket so that you've got an accurate indication of what signs were visible and so on. If you didn’t get the evidence at the time, you should try to get it as soon afterward as possible.
Below are some suggestions for getting the information you’ll need:
• Photos – to prove that you were unfairly ticketed, take photos to back-up your case. You should snap the ticket itself, the parked car and surrounding area and the road signs and ticket meter. Pay particular attention to any unclear signs.
• Witness statements – could you gather any witness statements? For example, if you were just loading or unloading at the time.
• Receipts – if your car broke down while you were parked, get a receipt from the repairs garage, or your emergency recovery provider, to prove this.
• Crime reference number – was your car stolen? Find out your crime reference number and send this on.
• Certificates – if there were mitigating circumstances, gather evidence such as death certificates or doctors' notes.
• Proof of ownership – if you didn't own the car at the time, include your purchase receipt or receipt of sale; you'll also need evidence that you informed the DVLA of the sale.
Okay, we think that’s enough to keep you going for now. Come back on Wednesday for Part 2.