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Parking fines and debt. What should I do?

Different types of parking fines or penalties for other traffic offences can be issued by the police or the local council.

The way the fine is enforced depends on who has issued it. You need to pay the amount asked for using the details on the notice. If you pay by a certain date the amount you have to pay will be reduced. If you leave it longer, the amount due can be doubled.

Types of parking fines

There are three common types of traffic penalties:

Fixed penalty notice (FPN) issued by the police

These are issued for parking, dangerous driving or other minor offences. Points can also be added to your licence as well as the financial penalty. If you don’t pay within 28 days, you may get a summons to a magistrates’ court and the amount you owe will increase. The only way to appeal against a FPN is to go to a hearing at the court.

Penalty charge notice (PCN) issued by local authority traffic wardens

These are issued for parking or other driving issues, such as driving in a bus lane. If you don’t pay the PCN, the amount you owe will increase and the debt may be registered in the County Court.

The local authority can use bailiffs or enforcement agents to recover the money and extra fees will be added. You can appeal a PCN, initially to the council and then through a formal tribunal process.

Invoices issued by private companies for parking on private land

These are issued for overstaying in supermarket, hospital or other private car parks. If you don’t pay the amount owed, the parking company will write to you and may apply for a County Court judgment.

There’s an appeal process available through an independent adjudicator. If you want more advice on challenging unfair invoices from private parking companies, see the MoneySavingExpert.com website. In the past these companies would clamp cars, but this has been illegal since 2012.

Struggling to pay your parking fine?

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Need help with parking fine debt?

If you have a parking fine that you’re struggling to pay it could be the sign of a larger debt problem. Contact us and we can help. You can use our online Debt Remedy tool, or call our Helpline (free from all landlines and mobiles) for impartial advice.