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Sharon Doherty
20th December 2021

How to avoid getting a Private Parking Charge Notice this Christmas

As consumers make their last-minute dash to buy presents for the big day, the public are being reminded about the risk of receiving a Private Parking Charge Notice (PCN) and the steps they can take to avoid one.

We assisted over 2,200 consumers with PCNs in the last 12 months and successfully returned over £208,000 to consumers in appealed PCNs.

We provides free, independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. Their mission is to protect and empower consumers, investigating complaints on their behalf about energy, water, transport, postal services and private car parking as well as researching local consumer issues.

There are some easy steps you can take when parking to avoid a PCN:

Read the signs

Signage will tell you the length of time you are allowed to park there.

Park correctly

PCNs are not just for over-staying. You can be ticketed for parking over the white lines so park with that in mind

Show your permits

If you are a permit-holder, or blue badge carrier, make sure it is clearly visible.

Check your registration

Make sure you enter the correct car registration in Pay and Display machines.

Blue badge or permit holder spaces

Do not park there unless you have the permits to do so.

Keep your ticket

Just in case you receive a PCN. 

Noleen Charnley, Head of Insight and Investigation at the Consumer Council, said: “Nobody wants to end 2021 with a PCN, especially with the additional spending we already do at Christmas. Any consumer receiving a PCN should contact us in the first instance. We can appeal this on their behalf, especially if they believe it has been issued unfairly. If you receive a PCN you have 28 days to appeal it. Appeals not received within this timeframe will not be accepted.

If you are employed by a retailer within a privately managed car park or site, you may be exempt from paying parking charges if there is a parking scheme in place. Speak to your employer for further advice, and provide your registration details.”

If you do face issues, you can contact the Consumer Council for support and information on FREEPHONE 0800 121 6022 by emailing You can download our Private Parking Charges Factsheet from