Do You Know Your Rights Regarding Parking Fines?
Parking fines can pack a bit of a punch and since not everywhere provides free parking for blue badge holders it's important to make sure you know your rights when parking, and how to appeal against a fine.
As a driver of a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, you should be well aware of the rights and responsibilities that go with a blue badge. However it is very useful for you to know the rules and regulations around parking fines, for when you are not using the blue badge, or get an unexpected fine.
Did you know that for example, in England, ten minutes must be allowed after the end of the time paid before an enforcement notice is issued?
However, private firms that run car parks for other businesses such as supermarkets, shopping centres and railway stations can issue fines for motorists who overstay their time paid – and do not always waive this for Wheelchair Accessibility Vehicle – Blue badge holders.
A shop owner in Essex, for example, recently challenged a private firm for enforcing an £85 fine for staying for nearly three hours in a parking space that offered 2 hours free parking. He stated that private firms had no right to impose a penalty beyond the extra cost they had incurred due to his overstaying.
This was overruled, but this does not necessarily give private companies a free hand. In this case, it was decided that £85 was not extravagant, but the line between what would be classed as reasonable and unreasonable was not stated. It is assumed that if the fine is anywhere between £60 and £130, depending on the location, then a court would enforce the penalty if the parker refused to pay themselves.
Therefore, if you park in a private parking firm, make sure you look for the signs and leave when you should to avoid a fine. Private parking firms must have clear signs indicating their policies, and if they do not then they could be challenged if you did not see the signs.
Furthermore, if you have overstayed in a private firm but do not have a ticket, don’t assume you have managed to miss getting fined. Some places use cameras to recognise number plates and therefore know exactly how long a vehicle as stayed, and then they can collect the name and address of the person involved and issue a fine.
Disability permits also have certain restrictions – most of the time private car parks allow people with a blue disabled badge to park without paying, but often impose a time limit. Make sure you know the rules and restrictions of the blue disabled badge if you have one.
Lastly, if you feel you have been issued an unfair or incorrect parking fine, you should appeal to the firm running the car park. The details of how will be on the Penalty Charge notice. Usually, the penalty will be less if paid within 14 days, but you must make sure you act quickly as there are often strict time limits.
If they reject your appeal, you can get it looked at by an independent party through either popla.co.uk, if it is a member of the British Parking Association, or theias.org, the Independent Appeals Service. You must appeal within 28 days from the date your original appeal was rejected, and approximately half of the appeals are successful.
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