How to complain about a parking ticket

If you have received a parking ticket and if it is headed with Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), this will have been issued by your local council


Parking bay suspended

If a parking bay you're using is suspended and you have received a ticket, you may be able to make a claim if the details of the bay suspension are incorrect (e.g. wrong road name) or if the sign is not visible. 

Three-minute rule

If you were issued a ticket within the first three minutes of arriving, you can appeal. The decision will depend upon the council, but it is reasonable to appeal on the grounds that you were looking for a machine or purchasing a ticket.

However, if you have left to go and get change this is not a reasonable reason for appealing.

No returns within a time period

This means you cannot go back to the parking zone for the period of time. If the warden has taken your number plate down and you have received a ticket, this has a low chance of appeal unless they have incorrectly taken down your number plate or you observed the sign. Use your parking tickets as evidence of this.

Meter broken

If the meter is broken or covered, you cannot park there during the controlled hours. For pay and display, you should use an alternative machine that operates nearby under the same times and charges.

Poor signage

If you have parked in a parking bay and have received a parking ticket for being parked in the incorrect bay, then you can appeal the ticket if the signs displaying the information were not clear or visible.

Parking outside of the bay 

If you have parked outside of a bay or parking space then you are liable for a ticket. This can be even one wheel outside of the bay or partially out. If you are partially out you can consider appealing but there are limited chances of success.

If your vehicle is more than 50cm from the pavement then you are also liable for a ticket.

Ticket not visible

If you have bought a ticket and it was not visible (for example, if it has fallen off of the dashboard) then you have grounds to make an appeal (at the discretion of the council). If you appeal under these circumstances, it is extremely unlikely that you will succeed.

Single yellow line

If you parking on a single yellow line, there are parking restrictions for a limited period of time. There should be clear and visible signs explaining the parking restriction times. If these were not visible, then you have grounds to make an appeal.

Double yellow line

If you have parked on a double yellow line then there are limited grounds for appeal. Double yellow lines are no parking at anytime. Sometimes you may be able to stop to load or unload but no more than that. If there are two stripes on the curb at regular intervals then you have no rights to unload or load at this point. The same is also true if the lines are red.

Blue badge holder 

If you have a blue badge you are allowed to park in parking meter and pay and display car parks for free. Blue badge holders are also not allowed to be clamped.

Blue badge on yellow lines

A Blue Badge holder is able to park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, unless the zone is exempt from loading or unloading. These are represented by two stripes marked on the pavement at regular intervals.

Bank holiday parking

Most parking zones are free on bank holidays but in busy areas some parking zones still charge on a bank holiday of weekend. It is best to check the signs before parking. If the parking should be free on a bank holiday and you have received a ticket then you can appeal.

Remember to get evidence

Ensure you take photographs of any evidence and upload it to your Resolver case file. Include the street scene, road signs, and, if you paid by meter, any signage on the meter.

Mitigating circumstances

If you have received a parking ticket and there were mitigating circumstances, then you can appeal your ticket. These include:

  • Car breakdown;
  • Tending an emergency or clearing debris from the road;
  • Dropping off an ill patient at hospital;
  • Recent bereavement;
  • Attending a funeral;
  • A bay is suspended but your car was already parked there.

If any of these are the case, you should provide as much evidence to support your argument.

Someone else was driving the car 

If your car was stolen, then your appeal should include a copy of your crime reference number as evidence that the parking ticket is not your responsibility.

Otherwise, the parking ticket is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle and not the driver.

Driving a motorbike/scooter

These are subject to the same restrictions as a car or van. There are some councils that offer discounts for bikes or free designated spaces.

My car has been clamped/towed away

There are no rules that state that your car should be automatically clamped or towed due to a ticket. If you car is missing, call the Police. You should also contact your local council via Resolver.

In London you can also call Trace (24 hours a day) – this is a service run by all the London local authorities. You can contact them on 0845 206 8602.

If you feel this approach was too harsh, you can appeal and claim the approach was excessive. However, if you were blocking a busy or narrow road, then the council can argue that it was not safe to leave your vehicle there.

Paid the fine and want to appeal

Once you have paid, you have effectively admitted responsibility and so cannot appeal the ticket.

If you pay the fine within 14 days, your charge should be halved – it is worth considering paying if you know you are in the wrong. If you appeal then you should also be able to half the fine if you pay within 14 days of losing the appeal, but, not all local authorities follow this rule so you will need to check.

Submitting your appeal

You must submit your appeal with 28 days of receiving the PCN, but if you appeal within 14 days then you should be subject to a reduced fine if your appeal is lost.

Resolver has all the local authorities across the UK in its system and you can submit your appeal via Resolver and keep a complete record of your complaint. You should expect a response with 14-days to your appeal.

If the council rejects your appeal?

If the council rejects your appeal then ask for a Notice of Appeal. This will be sent to you in the post and you will have to complete it. Complete the form and scan into Resolver and we can then send your case through to the Appeal services, except the Scottish contingent which does not have a website or published email address.

The appeal is a free service, with four different appeal bodies. Resolver will remind you when to appeal, and will send your case to the right one if requested. 

England & Wales – Traffic Parking Tribunal

Northern Ireland – NI Traffic Penalty Tribunal 

Scotland – Scottish Parking Appeals Service

London – PATAS

How the appeal works

The appeal is done either by post, online, phone or sometimes face to face. The decision from the appeal is effectively binding as there are limited alternative options available.

Resolver can help

Resolver can help you submit your case to the local authority and if the issue cannot be resolved we will then send your case for independent assessment by the Traffic Parking Tribunal.  

If you have a parking complaint against a council 

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