There is nothing more frustrating than receiving a parking fine you don’t deserve. Earlier this year, Trading Standards in Scotland discovered that a third of penalty charges issued by private car park operators are unenforceable as they violate consumer protection legislation. Drivers in Scotland need clear information about parking offences, fines and how to appeal unfair penalties. If you think you may have been unfairly fined, read on to find out what you can do.
The appeal process to follow will depend on the kind of fine you’ve received:
These are given out by local authorities and are free to appeal. The notice will provide details on you how you can challenge the fine – you usually have 28 days to do so. Once the local council has considered your appeal, it will either accept it and cancel the fine or send you a notice of rejection. If your appeal is rejected, you can appeal again to the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland.
These fines are issued by certain local councils when it’s suspected a driver has broken council car park rules. Details on how to appeal ECNs vary from council to council so check your ticket and follow the guidance provided.
FPNs are issued by police officers or traffic wardens for certain parking violations, such as parking on a double yellow line. If you receive one, you have 21 days to either pay, challenge the penalty (fill in and return part 3 on the back of the form) or explain that you weren’t the owner of/in charge of the car at the time. To do this, you have to make a statutory declaration. If your car was stolen, you’ll have to provide proof, and if another person was in charge at the time, they must countersign the declaration.
There is no specific legislation on private parking in Scotland; instead, contract law applies. This is because when you park in a private car park, such as one at a supermarket, you enter into a contract with the owner, the terms of which should be displayed clearly in the area.
If you receive a ticket while parked on private property, you can contact either the parking operator or the company who owns an interest in the car park (for example the supermarket) to make an informal appeal. You should clearly state the reason you believe the ticket is unfair and provide supporting evidence, such as photographs. If this approach fails, it may be possible to appeal to the Independent Appeals Service, which is free if you do so within 21 days. The IAS uses methods of alternative dispute resolution to help resolve disagreements between drivers and parking operators.