To Park or Not to Park – That is the Question

Or is it ‘to pay or no to pay?’

How often do you see posts like this pop up on Facebook community sites?

‘Got a parking ticket whilst shopping in town, do I need to pay it?’

‘Been clamped. I don’t have to pay, do I?’

More and more people seem to be falling foul of different types of parking penalties, and more and more people seem to be unaware if they actually need to pay the fines.

So, let’s try and clear it up for you…

The Council will issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) or Excess Charge Notices (ECNs), which result from parking incorrectly on public land, such as on high streets or in council car parks.

Parking Charge Notices are slightly different, and these are issued by private landowners, parking companies or by third parties such as supermarkets.

The latter example is the one that seems to cause the most confusion, as people spread misinformation about whether or not these companies are actually entitled to penalise people for parking in certain locations.

We’ve seen advice plastered all over the internet stating things like ‘you don’t need to pay unless it’s the council’, or ‘don’t pay these cowboys!’

Do you need to pay when issued with a Parking Charge Notice then?

Well, the short answer is ‘yes’ and the long answer is ‘not always’.

In most cases, properly affiliated and registered parking companies or landowners have every right to penalise and charge fines. In fact, since 2012, they have even been able to escalate

unpaid penalties to CCJs.

Citizens Advice is the best place for the general public to seek guidance on appeals and processes, but our advice is simple...


Is it really worth becoming embroiled in a game of telephone tennis over whether or not you were parked illegally?

Probably not.

For the sake of a few extra minutes walking time into the town centre, would it not be worth making absolutely sure you were parked somewhere you were definitely entitled to park?


Ultimately, it is down to the individual to clue themselves up, take their own chances and make their own decisions.

It’s too easy to call everyone else the bad guys sometimes.

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