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'Parking Fines. You can reclaim them...' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
Click reply to discuss below.
Related Guides: Full Public/council parking Ticket AppealsGuide and Private Parking Ticket Reclaiming guide.


  • JimmyTheWig
    JimmyTheWig Posts: 12,199 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    I don't get how the "time plate to which you refer" is incorrect. If they can be different on different sides of the road (harsh, but I believe it is true) then surely the plate was correct and somewhat irrelevant to the case in point?
  • aris
    aris Posts: 339 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    Isn't this the equivalent of state sponsored extortion?
  • richb77
    richb77 Posts: 5 Forumite
  • MSE_Martin
    MSE_Martin Posts: 8,272 Money Saving Expert
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I don't get how the "time plate to which you refer" is incorrect. If they can be different on different sides of the road (harsh, but I believe it is true) then surely the plate was correct and somewhat irrelevant to the case in point?

    In fact there was no time plate on the other side of the road, that was the only one on either side - the one with the "no parking after 8pm" was newly put up (this is by my office, so i was used to the old rules having been here four years) and at the entrance to the "restricted area" but it hadn't taken the old signs down. The whole thing was ridiculous.

    I've also got written to on the back of the blog by someone else who had the same thing happen - she's now told me she got her money back too.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
  • davtom
    davtom Posts: 16 Forumite
    Nice to see they were prepared to admit they were wrong, and cancel the notice on that basis...

    <sarcasm mode off>

    Isn't it the case that every yellow line parking restriction should be covered by a yellow plate designating its hours of operation?
  • Mosh
    Mosh Posts: 149 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    How much do you want to bet that they've *not* gone back through the books to retrospectively refund the money of other people who coughed up the cash for the same thing?
  • mtudor_2
    mtudor_2 Posts: 11 Forumite
    I had a parking situation in London not so long ago. We were visiting a friend near Marylebone and were travelling by car from Guildford. We'd parked many times before on the road outside her house, where the restrictions are residents only Monday-Friday. It was a Saturday night, and it was dark when we arrived. We parked up as usual and then went out for the evening. At 10am the next morning (Sunday), we came down from the flat ready to leave and THE CAR WAS GONE!

    At first we thought it had been stolen, and then we noticed that the nearby signs had a sticker stuck over the normal time restrictions which now read "At Any Time". It makes you feel sick when you realise what has happened. Looking up and down the road, though, it was half empty. The cost... £60 fine and £200 (!!!) towing fee.

    We actually took the case to appeal because we believed that the towing was disproportionate action given the fact that no obstruction was caused and the road was half empty so there was no parking problem. We weren't actually attempting to contend the fine (hands up admission that a mistake was made on our part).

    Examining the times, the ticket had been placed at 9am and the tow occured at 10am. Not really much time to get in and prevent the towing. Actually, the parking guy we spoke to at the impound said that they are actually allowed to tow straight away and often the times on the ticket / tow form are altered to make it look more reasonable (more time between).

    We questioned a few of the residents that morning. The vast majority didn't know about the change, and the one that did said that it had been put in place a couple of weeks earlier, with very little notification even for residents - so much for "grace periods"!

    Anyway, to the point... we appealed the fine a couple of times to the council, and this was rejected. We then appealed directly to the independent adjudicator (instructions on how to do this were in the rejected appeal). This appeal was accepted. It was a long road (3-4 months) but we got the £260 back (even though we'd clearly stated that we were looking only for the £200 back).

    I think the process for appeals goes as follows:
    1. Send appeal.
    2. Council waits maximum time and rejects appeal without examining the evidence.
    3. Send independent appeal.
    4. Council ignores correspondence from independent adjudicator until eventually you win by default.

    So a positive outcome in the end. I think the worst thing about the whole situation was the insensitivity of the call centre staff when we phoned to find out where our car was:

    Them: "It's in the park lane impound"
    Us: "We don't live in London, where exactly is that"

    <Series of, "do you know where xxx is?", "no">

    Them: "You could always get a taxi!"
    Us: "We can't really afford that now you've just fined us £260!"

    We are now paranoid about checking signs anywhere we park, every time we visit, regardless of the parking situation last time. Often we check multiple times, it's quite sad! I think the problem in law sometimes is that people lose track of why that law is there. Is it to catch people who make a mistake, or to deter people from flagrantly flouting the rules (e.g. the motorist who gets fined for crossing the white line at traffic lights even though they didn't cross the junction itself - true story which thankfully ended in a court case and the motorist won!).

    Anyway, just thought I'd share the experience that it is possible to win if you have a reasonable case - just don't be afraid to take it to the independent adjudicator!

  • mtudor_2
    mtudor_2 Posts: 11 Forumite
    Just a point of interest, has anyone come across Majicari . com before?

    Submit your story, people vote on the best story of the day and if you win they refund up to £60 of your parking ticket. You do get the odd people who are blatently in the wrong with their tickets (e.g. I parked on double yellow lines to get a burger from McDonalds and when I came back *shock* I had a ticket!) but for those who have tried the appeal route, it might be a different way to ease the pain.

    Though I would definitely say appeal first - we don't want to start letting the councils get away with unfair ticketing.

    This is a good read if you want to learn about some of the sharp practices of ticket attendants (though the site is a bit old now): www . doc . ic . ac . uk/~wjk/parking/walkabout.html

    (Sorry for the spaces in links, the site is trying to ensure I'm not a spammer!)
  • rtimmorris
    Help !

    I parked in a loading bay, went into the chemist, came back, and there's the ticket. ok., I was a bit longer than I should have been. I read somewhere that the loading bay must be at least 2.7mtrs wide (some 2002 Act), and sent in a letter asking for my money back. They said loading bays can be 2.2 - 2.7mtrs wide (some 2007 Act). Anyone got a confirmation for me?????? thanks
  • Heinz
    Heinz Posts: 11,191 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
    I parked on a double yellow line outside Southend Hospital using my elderly Mother's blue badge (I was driving her to attend a hospital appointment, so the use of the badge was valid).

    Upon our return, I found a ticket alleging (offence code 1) I had parked in a restricted zone. I had - but with a blue badge so no offence was committed!

    I challenged the ticket and got the usual rejection and photo (showing my car parked on the double yellow lines).

    I wrote again pointing out the use of the blue badge, the fact that their photo showed it correctly displayed and that, as offence code 1 was alleged, the blue badge meant no offence had been committed.

    I received an, "On this occasion only ...." letter back - now stating my car was causing obstruction to the hospital entrance (not possible - it was over 150 yards away from the nearest hospital EXIT and 175 yards away from the nearest hospital entrance).

    They clearly aren't aware that obstruction is not one of the offences 'de-criminalised' and so council parking attendants cannot enforce it.
    Time has moved on (much quicker than it used to - or so it seems at my age) and my previous advice on residential telephony has been or is now gradually being overtaken by changes in the retail market. Hence, I have now deleted links to my previous 'pearls of wisdom'. I sincerely hope they helped save some of you money.
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