In a startling surge from May 7th to May 21st, searches for 'Fines (Penalty)' on search engines spiked by 50% in the UK. This unexpected jump spurred Scott Nelson at MoneyNerd to shed light on the complex and often confusing world of parking fines, answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this prevalent penalty.
A key question posed by many drivers is whether they can be fined for parking in a private car park. The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the car park, such as incorrect parking or not paying for parking, can result in a fine. But for a penalty to be enforceable, the car park must display clear signs stating these rules, and by using the car park, drivers automatically agree to these conditions.
But what exactly is a Parking Charge Notice (PCN)? This term, often confused with a Penalty Charge Notice – which shares the same abbreviation – actually refers to a private parking fine. The 'contractual' element of the notice comes into play when a driver is deemed to have broken the agreement they implicitly made upon using the private car park.
Many drivers also query the cost of a parking ticket fine in the UK. Currently, the cap on a private parking ticket fine stands at £100. However, car park companies must offer a discount of at least 40% if payment is made within 14 days, potentially reducing the fine to £60.
A commonly asked question revolves around whether you can be issued a parking ticket while in your car. The answer to this is also yes. The occupancy of the vehicle doesn’t affect the issuance of a parking contravention. However, there may be circumstances where drivers, preparing to leave their vehicle, might evade a ticket – more information can be found in MoneyNerd's blog post on this subject.
Finally, the enforceability of Parking Charge Notices is often questioned. These private parking fines can indeed be enforced by a court, provided the parking company is prepared to take the case before a judge.