How to successfully appeal a parking fine
There is nothing more annoying after doing errands than coming back to your car and finding you received a ticket or at worse your vehicle’s been clamped. What can you do about it? You either pay it or successfully appeal a parking fine under different conditions. Even if it is a bother to gather the evidence and documentation, paying something you’re not supposed to is all worth it.
- The procedure
Normally, once you receive a parking ticket by post or on the windshield of your car, everything is outlined on that piece of paper such as date and time when offence was committed, amount of fine and due date of the penalty. If you pay within the 14-day grace period, the price is halved. Hence, it’s best to appeal as quickly as possible so you can still benefit from the reduced rate. Ask that your fine be put on hold while the appeal is in process so the clock is not ticking.
To successfully appeal a parking fine, several conditions must be met. You can't argue that there was no place to park or that you tried and could still not find a space. However, you can present clear evidence that:
1. The sign was not visible, there was no panel at all or signage was fuzzy and not readable. As proof, take pictures with a time and date stamp.
2. You were not the owner anymore of the vehicle in question at the time the offence was committed. To prove this, you must submit evidence of deed of sale or change of ownership.
3. Your vehicle was lost or stolen. In this case, you must have a paper stating you reported theft and loss to the police to back up your claim.
4. The fine was excessive. If you were overcharged, you must cite the tariff list for justification. Sometimes, the issuing officer can make a mistake.
5. You have already paid your fine at the reduced rate, but the Council has not received the money yet. Attach copies of bank transactions indicating when it was paid to prove your case.
6. The Council failed to comply with administrative procedures. This applies when there is relevant information missing on issued tickets or ‘Notice to Owners’ which invalidates a ticket.
There are also ‘mitigating circumstances’ where you can file for an appeal such as your car breaking down while finding a spot, illness and you cannot move the car, absence before parking bay was restricted, attending to an emergency or dropping off an ill person.
If you were fined within 3 minutes of parking while trying to get a ticket, this is also a ground to successfully appeal a parking fine. Other possible reasons include not being able to afford payment or towing penalty charge was too high. In all cases, you can make an informal appeal by writing to the Council or using their online form (if available). If you lose this round, it’s time to move to the formal route by writing a formal letter to the Council. The final appeal will be with the Independent Tribunal which can be done by post, online or phone. At this point, you have lost the half rate reduction privilege so there’s no harm in pursuing your appeal all the way provided you have reasonable grounds.