This case about a mother-of-two being hit with a £185 fine for overstaying her time in a car park raises some interesting points. 

GRACE PERIOD

The 10 minute grace rule under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not apply when you park on private land, as you are entering in to a contract with the (private) land owner.

You remain entitled to a grace period before enforcement takes place. For example, you need to be given sufficient time to read the signs in a car park before buying a ticket. If you choose not to buy a ticket, you need to be given sufficient time to leave without being hit with a fine.

Car park signs which set out the terms of the contract that you have entered in to need to be clearly visible and easy to interpret. You cannot be fined for parking on private land, although you can be presented with an invoice (disguised as a fine) that has to be less than £100.

CONTRACT LAW

You cannot simply ignore it, not appeal and hope it won’t be enforced as civil action for recovery in the Courts can be applied (and has in this instance). You have breached the terms of the contract you have entered in to with the land owner. One individual was bankrupted and told to pay £24,500 to a private parking firm which set a landmark ruling in Scotland.

This individual appears to have been 10 mins and 10 seconds over the 2 hour limit, so where do you draw the line? It is a clear breach, although it would have been worth appealing rather than simply not bothering.

APPEALS

My top tips for dealing with private parking tickets are a useful starting point, although this unregulated industry revolves around contract law that nobody really understands.

The odds are stacked in your favour if you know how to fight back and contest these speculative invoices.

I have released a new pocket guide book so you are armed with the tools to deal with this growing menace. I wrote and published this book simply because nobody else has and I often get asked about it.

How have you dealt with a car park fine?

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