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Enforcement process

This guide has been written to provide a detailed guide to the private parking enforcement process. It has advice and guidance to anyone appealing a private parking ticket. It is based on our experience successfully appealing parking charge notices and is not legal advice. Operators are required to prove that a ticket was issued correctly.

Private Parking Enforcement Process

Stages of Parking Ticket Enforcement

All tickets go through the following enforcement process. The process is defined by the operator’s trade association and they must follow it.

1. Ticket issued

what to do

  • Speak to the landowner if you were a customer
  • Take pictures of the entrance and signage with terms
  • Keep a copy of any receipts if you were shopping
  • Appeal as the vehicle keeper not the driver

don't do this

  • Reveal the driver unless you want to
  • Ignore the parking ticket
  • Appeal using mitigating reasons only
  • Pay if you want to appeal

notice to driver

windscreen pcn

notice to keeper

notice to keeper

A parking charge notice is a parking ticket issued to the driver of a vehicle for breaching the terms of contract for parking on private land where the driver entered a contract and agreed the terms of parking. The notice is sent if the driver has breached the terms of parking.  A notice to keeper is often sent if the enforcement is managed by ANPR cameras. 

Therefore, if you ignore the parking ticket, it will progress naturally through to debt collection and could result in a court claim being raised against you. Operators have 6 years to submit a court claim from date of issue.


when you receive a ticket

A windscreen parking charge notice is usually placed by a parking warden or attendant monitoring parked cars. Most windscreen parking tickets are invalid especially those from UK Parking Control, Met Parking, PCM and they can be appealed easily. Use our app to write an appeal letter and it will highlight the issues.

A notice to keeper is sent by post to the registered keeper of the vehicle. The notice MUST arrive within a certain period of time and MUST contain specific details in order to be valid. 

You must appeal the parking charge notice within 28 days, if you do this, the operator must respond to your appeal before you can send it to the adjudicator at the IAS or POPLA. If the operator refuses to address your appeal because you are not the driver, keep appealing as the keeper as they have to comply with Protections of Freedoms Act 2012.

The simple answer is YES and the longer you leave the private parking ticket, the harder it becomes to defend. At notice to driver and notice to keeper stage, the motorist must appeal to the operator first. If no appeal is logged, the notice will proceed to debt collection stage and then the operator may submit a court claim. Operators like Parking Eye, Vehicle Control Services issue court claims daily.

If you do not appeal the parking charge notice and your appeal deadline lapses, the only way you can defend yourself is via a court. During the debt collection stage, the debt collector only wants payment and they rarely cancel cases or rule in your favour. We recommend not engaging with debt collectors unless to tell them you won’t pay.

We can help you appeal parking tickets by either appealing on your behalf or you can use our service to write an appeal letter instantly. Our appeal letter writing service allows you to stress test each parking ticket and makes sure your ticket has been issued fairly. You can a tailored appeal letter specific to you and not a generic one.

Understand the key laws & Rules

Private parking rules are well defined and if you don’t put the operator to the test. Your appeal can fail. Never rely on mitigating factors only

Private Parking Laws

the rules

how to appeal parking ticket

Key Steps to a Successful Appeal

2. Appeal Ticket

what to do

don't do this

  • Rely on mitigating reasons only
  • Simply state that the ticket is unfair
  • Ignore the notice without understanding the risk
  • Ask the operator if they will keep the discount


when you appeal

Successful private parking appeals should stated how the operator did not meet requirements such as POFA 2012 requirements, Operator code or practice or used unfair terms, it should highlight how the invoice is invalid notice such as sending it late or not including key information.

Private Parking operators have a tendancy to refuse appeals even you have valid grounds then only to not contest when you appeal to the adjudicator. When you write an appeal letter on Parking Mate UK, you receive the operator and adjudicator appeal letters instantly.

Once your appeal is submitted, the operator must acknowledge it within 14 days and respond within 35 days. Failure to do so is a breach of operator code of practice and a potential defence for you. If the operator accepts the appeal, the case is close and the charge is cancelled.

Private parking operators often refuse to discuss appeals on the phone, so your best bet is to go to the appeals page or to the payment page, enter your parking ticket details and if the fee is still outstanding then the notice has not been cancelled. Operators such as Parking Eye will show you the appeal status on the appeal page.

Operators may sometimes ask for the driver details. If you have a strong case as a keeper, do not provide any driver details and do not respond to the operator. They should address the appeal and identifying the driver is your right. If they insist, it’s a sign they don’t have a strong case.

We can help you appeal parking tickets by either appealing on your behalf or you can use our service to write an appeal letter instantly. Our appeal letter writing service allows you to stress test each parking ticket and makes sure your ticket has been issued fairly. You can a tailored appeal letter specific to you and not a generic one.

debt collectors

Private Parking Debt Collectors Such as Debt Recovery Plus, CST Law, BW Legal, Trace

3. Debt Collectors

what to do

  • Ignore letters as they have no powers at all
  • Communicate only via letter or email only
  • Request they stop engaging you with letters

don't do this

  • Provide any financial information
  • Call to discuss your case with your agent
  • Respond to any demands for payment


private parking debt collectors

Most private parking debt collectors like Debt Recovery Plus, Zenith Collections can only send you letters by post. Other companies can process court claims on behalf of their client, that will be covered in the next section. These debt collectors can not take your car or do any enforcement action.

If you did not respond to the operator within 28 days, your time to appeal is long gone. The debt collector will only engage in correspondence to try and make you pay or threaten legal action. The debt collector only makes money when they collect the charges.

This is a threat from the debt collector to encourage you to pay. At this stage, you do not need to act, they are simply stating that they will refer your case to the client to raise a court claim, you are not being sued at this stage. Remember, the debt collector is trying to collect payment.

You can write to the company and ask them to stop sending you letters. They often have a backlog of letters and mail, so do not panic if you don’t receive an immediate response or you receive another letter demanding payment. Their systems for letters are automated.

Yes you can ignore the letters demanding payment. However, you should not demand any letters stating “Court Claim” or Pre-Action Protocol. This means the legal proceedings are about to start.

At this stage, we can’t stop the debt collector or appeal, your main options are: ask the debt collector to refer the case to their client or raise a court claim where you have a fairer opportunity to defend your case.

Court Support

Guidance for dealing with a money claim court form for private parking

4. court claims

what to do

  • Read the detailed guide below
  • Acknowledge the claim within the deadline
  • Subject access request to get all data the notice
  • Claim for expenses if you attend the hearing

don't do this

  • Ignore the claim or take no action
  • Ignore if the judgement is made without you
  • Rely on internet advice only, seek legal help if needed
  • Consider the matter resolved, it can take 6 months


private parking debt court claims

You have two options at this stage, aknowlegde the claim and inform the court if you intend to defend or setup an arrange to make payment for the outstanding charges. You must reply within 14 days and lodge your defence within 30 days. 

Yes, you can get help from online forums like MSE where you can write your defence. However the onus is on you to prepare the documents and send them in time. You may also be required to attend a hearing if you request a hearing.

if you use our service to handle the court claim, we will complete the whole process from start to finish. This means acknowleding the claim and preparing your defence in time. We will also engage with the parking operator or solicitor to ensure the process is done properly.

A court claim can take up to 6 months to conclude. Parking companies lodge thousands of claims per week and the courts have limited capacity, so it can be 3-4 months until a judget sees the claim. If you manage your claim, you will be informed of key updates and dates.

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