Rip Off Britain: Lawyer Gary Rycroft gives tips on parking tickets

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A LAWYER has given his top tips on dealing with parking fines ahead of the new Government code of conduct. The expert said these rules mean in some cases it’s better for drivers to complain instead of paying their fine straight away.

As the Government prepares to legislate parking with a new code of conduct that will limit maximum fines and introduce strict controls on private parking companies, lawyer Gary Rycroft appeared on the BBC’s Rip Off Britain to offer his advice on dealing with fines.

He said: “If you’ve been slapped with a penalty after parking on private land, and you thought the parking company was trying it on, there’s good news ahead.

“The Government’s new parking Code of Practice plans to make private parking firms pull their socks up.

“Firstly, remember the rules for parking tickets on private land have always been different from parking fines issued by the local authority, or police for publicly owned car parks and the public highway. on private land.

“The parking tickets issued are never fines, even if they look like one – they’re simply invoices for the time you have spent parking on someone else’s property.

“This means they only acquire legal force if a private parking company takes you to court and gets a judgement against you, which is different from parking fines, which have legal force as soon as they are issued.”

Mr Rycroft also commented on the forceful measures applied by parking companies when dealing with those they believe owe them money.

He said: “Companies have used pseudo-legal aggressive language when pursuing motorists, including the threat of debt collectors.

“The good news is that’s now against the rules.

“The new code of practice dictates higher standards of behaviour towards motorists.

“Rogue firms which break these rules could be barred from requesting data from the DVLA, which they rely on to track down motorists and send tickets through the post.

“So if you experience this sort of treatment, report the parking company to an accredited Parking Association, which can investigate.”

Mr Rycroft also offered his thoughts on those who have been incorrectly issued with a fine, saying: “Many of us have been landed with a ticket for an innocent mistake when it comes to parking by making an error typing a number plate into the machine.

“The new rules recognise that and plan to make it easier and fairer to appeal against a ticket.

“You might even be able to get your ticket cancelled altogether if you’ve made a genuinely innocent error or if you have a valid ticket, permit or blue badge but failed to display it correctly.”

Despite the new legislation not being in place yet, Mr Rycroft advised that drivers should act as though parts of it already are.

He said: “The new appeals process won’t be fully implemented until 2024. But my advice is to quote these new rules anyway, because the government says that private parking companies should already be following the spirit of the new code.

“One big and welcome change is that all private parking ticket charges should now mirror and cost the same as the system for public car parks run by your local authority, which means tickets which used to be up to £100 pounds will now be capped at £50 pounds.

“You’ll also be offered a 50 percent discount if you pay within 14 days.

“So if you find yourself with a parking ticket, and it’s not playing by the new rules, my advice is don’t pay – complain instead.”

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