Can businesses enforce charges for unauthorised parking?

What businesses can and cannot do when it comes to nuisance parking.

Running a successful business and managing a car park effectively can prove to be a difficult task and some companies choose to enforce parking rules that apply to their customers and visitors.

Car park rules will differ depending on sector. Retail car parks, for example, are typically free to use if you are planning on making a purchase at the shop, or sometimes they allow vehicle owners to use their facility for a limited period of time before car parking charges start to be applied.

In some instances, visitors might be asked to present a parking receipt inside the business to validate their parking, or an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera might be used to identify vehicles entering and exiting the site, and the amount of time they attended the car park for is logged. Vehicles authorised by payment, retail spend or a permit/authorisation will see no further actions or correspondence.

If the parking rules are breached, a notice may be issued to the vehicle’s owner which can usually be paid online. When issued on private land, they are not calling ‘penalty tickets’ or ‘parking fines’. Instead they are called a Parking Charge Notice (PCN). You might get a PCN on private land from the landowner, business operator or a car park management company, working on behalf of the business/landowner.

Enforcement of parking charges – what do I need to know?

In order to enforce car parking rules, a private car park owner needs to display clearly visible signs around their property. This allows them to set out the terms of the contract that a driver enters into when they decide to park on private land. If broken, the car park owner is at liberty to take steps to enforce any of the broken rules.

Landowners and parking management companies do not need licenses in order to issue parking tickets, as private parking is an unregulated business. However, many operators choose to take up memberships of accredited trade associations, such as the British Parking Association (BPA), or the International Parking Community (IPC), to provide them with extra validation.

A parking charge notice can either be placed on a vehicle which is in breach of the parking terms and conditions, or ANPR cameras can be used to identify the vehicles which have breached the terms and conditions and send a PCN by post to the vehicles’ registered Keeper.

The car park owner or management company must be a member of a accredited trade association (the BPA or IPC, for example) in order to request registered keeper details from the DVLA and then issue parking charge notices. This is because unaccredited operators are not permitted to request registered keeper details from the DVLA, which makes it near impossible to pursue the driver or keeper of a contravening vehicle.

How does the appeals process work for PCNs?

If a driver genuinely believe that a PCN has been issued unfairly then they have the right to appeal it.

Private property owners can and in most cases do, charge for parking and enforce the parking terms if they are breached. If the property owner or car park management company rejects the appeal, and it’s a member of the British Parking Association (BPA), they will have 28 days to appeal to an independent adjudicator. This will be either Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA), administered by Ombudsman Services and contracted by the BPA to provide dispute resolution services to its members, or the Independent Appeals Service (IAS) for operators who are members of the IPC.

The most common reasons for successful PCN appeals are:

  • The charge took more than 14 days to arrive by post
  • The registration number was entered incorrectly on the ticket
  • The driver did purchase a ticket, but it wasn’t easily visible
  • The driver did not stay in the car park for longer than a few minutes

Need a helping hand?

At Creative Car Park, we assist businesses by offering unique parking solutions, tailored to meet their specific business.

Our ANPR car park management technology works on photographic evidence. Some less scrupulous operators may try to entrap abusers, but we have an industry-leading low rate of overturned PCNs, as the evidence produced and the records provided at appeal are plain to see.

If you would like more information regarding our ANPR parking management system, you can request a free, no-obligation audit of your car park by completing the form below.

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