- • People who buy valid parking tickets are being stung a second time
- • In one case, a ticket had blown upside down when the car door slammed shut
- • In another, the ticket slipped into a dark corner of the dashboard out of sight
- • Councils have explicit rules that state parking tickets must be displayed clearly
- • It means drivers who appeal such cases at parking tribunals rarely win
Local councils are forcing drivers to pay fines if their parking ticket blows over or falls on the floor.
Money Mail revealed that people who buy valid parking tickets are being stung a second time because councils will not accept cast-iron evidence that they paid.
In one case, a ticket had blown upside down when the car door slammed shut, so the date and time were not visible.
In another, the ticket had slipped into a dark corner of the dashboard and out of sight.
In both cases, the driver was unable to stick the ticket to their car’s windscreen because there was no adhesive on the reverse side.
Yet, when they asked for the fine to be waived, providing proof they had paid, the council refused. One even sent bailiffs to the driver’s home.
This is despite the Traffic Penalty Tribunal urging councils to use common sense and waive penalties for first offences.
Barrie Segal, founder of parkingticketexpert.com and appealnow.com, says: ‘They are known as ‘fluttering ticket cases’ and we hear batches of them. Drivers rarely win because councils have strict rules on how tickets must be displayed.
‘Councils should be made to refund the amount the driver paid to park — otherwise, they are just profiting twice — but there’s no fairness or logic to any of this.’
When you first appeal a parking fine, the council investigates and decides if it was fairly issued.
If it rejects your appeal, you can take your case to an independent parking adjudicator — usually a lawyer.
In 50 per cent of cases, drivers win — but not when it comes to fluttering tickets. In these cases, the adjudicator typically sides with the council, says Mr Segal.
This is because councils have explicit rules that state parking tickets must be displayed clearly.
So, legally, drivers have little protection. But it is still worth appealing, as you can occasionally succeed.
Mr Segal recalls a case where a driver had stuck a parking slip to their window, but the sun melted the adhesive and the ticket fell on to the floor. When challenged, the council agreed that the adhesive was not strong enough and cancelled the fine.
Janet Tibbetts had driven from Formby, on Merseyside, to Southport to go shopping and paid £1.40 to park in the town centre.
But when she returned half-an-hour later, she found a £50 penalty charge notice on her windscreen.
Janet, 59, took her ticket from the dashboard to the council parking office to ask why she had been fined. She was told it was clearly a mistake and that she should write to Sefton Council — which she did, including her ticket as evidence.
She told the council the ticket may have fallen into a shaded part of the dashboard. She said she would have stuck it to the window, but there was no adhesive.
The council refused to cancel the fine — but added that if she paid within 14 days it would only be £25. Janet complained again, but the council stood its ground and informed her the fine had now increased to £50.
Janet then didn’t hear anything for a couple of months. During this time, she and her fiance Nigel Burgess bought a house in the South of France and moved there.
When Janet returned to England in December 2015 to visit family, she found a letter from the council explaining how to appeal formally.
She had missed the deadline, but appealed anyway and informed the council of her French address for future correspondence.
She returned to France and didn’t hear anything for nine months, until her daughter Gemma, 20, called to say bailiffs had turned up at the family home in Formby. They said that if Janet didn’t pay the fine immediately they would return the next day to seize assets.
When Janet tried to pay over the phone, she was told it was not possible, as she was calling from an international number. In the end, she had to ask a friend in England to pay the fine for her and transfer the money. Janet says: ‘I did nothing wrong — I paid for my parking and had the ticket as proof.’
A spokesman for Sefton Council insists the ticket was ‘correctly issued’.
By VICTORIA BISCHOFF FOR THE DAILY MAIL
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