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Consumer Skills
23rd June 2020

Top Tips: How to avoid getting caught out by a private parking ticket

Following the reopening of shops in Northern Ireland, and the gradual reduction in the government’s COVID-19 restrictions, The Consumer Council has issued top tips to drivers in Northern Ireland on how to avoid getting a private parking ticket.

Top tips for avoiding a Parking Charge Notice (PCN):

  • Ensure that you park correctly – Parking Charge Notices are not just for over-staying. You can be ticketed for parking over the white lines;
  • Always read the signs – Be sure to look for signage that confirms the length of time you are allowed to park, as well as other terms and conditions;
  • Check your registration – Ensure you enter the correct car registration in Pay and Display machines. Failure to do so will lead to a Parking Charge Notice, even if you have paid the correct amount;
  • Always keep your ticket – Just in case you receive a Parking Charge Notice;
  • Do not use blue badge or permit holder spaces – Unless you have the permits to do so, parking in spaces for blue badge or permit holders may result in clamping, as well as a Penalty Charge Notice;
  • Show your permits – If you are a permit-holder, or blue badge carrier, ensure it is clearly visible; and
  • If you are employed by a retailer within a privately managed car park/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 to provide your registration details.”

Mark Crawford, Head of Consumer Empowerment and Protection at The Consumer Council, said: “Over the coming weeks, there will be an inevitable increase in the number of consumers parking on private land, or in a car park which is operated by a private organisation, such as a retail park.

“In recent months, we have also noticed an increasing number of car parks being operated by private parking companies across Northern Ireland, meaning that the chances of getting a ticket are elevated.

“With this in mind, it is more important than ever for consumers to be aware of how to avoid getting a costly and frustrating Parking Charge Notice.”

    Mark added: “If you receive a Parking Charge Notice, do not ignore it. Contact The Consumer Council immediately in the first instance and we can appeal the charge on your behalf.

    “In the last 12 months, we have helped almost 1,700 consumers across Northern Ireland to successfully appeal charges totalling just over £200,000.”

    If you have received an unfair private parking ticket, please contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or you can download our Private Parking Charges Factsheet here.

    PCN Tips