• What You Need to Know About Your Penalty Charge Notice Number

    What You Need to Know About Your Penalty Charge Notice Number

    Receiving a penalty charge notice is never something anyone plans on doing, so it can come as quite a shock to the system when you do get one. Firstly, don’t worry! You’re not alone! Thousands of people get penalty charge notices every single day! However, it’s understandable that you want to get to the bottom of it in a stress free way. That’s where we come in. We’ve created this guide to help you understand the ins and outs of getting a penalty charge notice!

    What is a Penalty Charge Notice?

    A penalty charge notice, also known as a PCN, are issued to drivers that break local parking rules that are set by the council. If a parking warden employed by the local council notices that you have broken the rules, they can issue you with a penalty charge notice.

    You might also receive a penalty charge notice from Transport for London (TfL) for other reasons such as parking contraventions or using a bus lane outside of permitted hours.

    When you’re issued a penalty charge notice, the amount you’re required to pay will be stated on the PCN itself. You’ll have 28 days to make the payment, and if you pay the fine within 14 days of the PCN being issued, there will be a discount on the amount you need to pay. Usually, the discount is 50%, but it may vary across different councils.

    If you don’t make a payment within those 28 days, you’ll then receive what’s known as a charge certificate. From there, you’ll have a further 14 days to pay the full amount, plus 50% of the fine on top of that. It’s safe to say that if you are choosing to pay the fine, you’re better of paying within the first 14 days to save yourself some money.

    It’s important to remember that even if you don’t live in the locality of the council that issued your penalty charge notice, you’re still required to pay. This means that if you parked outside of your locality for say, a day trip or work, then you could still end up with a penalty charge notice.

    What are the reasons for getting a Penalty Charge Notice?

    For many, getting a parking ticket or a penalty charge notice means parking in the wrong place or staying longer than the allotted time stated in that area. But, there are actually lots of reasons why you might get a penalty charge notice.

    There will be a code on your parking ticket. This is known as a contravention code, and it’s indicative of why you’ve received it. Here are some of the most common reasons for getting a parking charge notice.

    01 – You’ve parked on a yellow line and no loading activities were observed by the traffic warden.

    02 – Your vehicle was parking on a length of yellow line with kerb markings when waiting is not allowed.

    05 – Your parking ticket purchase time has expired.

    07 – More parking time was purchased after the maximum stay had been reached and you hadn’t moved your vehicle.

    11 – You parked your vehicle without paying the parking charge.

    14 – You’ve parked in an electric vehicle charging spot during restricted hours and without charging your vehicle.

    16 – You’ve parked in a permit space without holding or displaying a valid permit.

    20 – You’ve parked in a loading gap that’s been marked by a yellow line.

    21 – You’ve parked in a suspended parking place.

    22 – You reparked your vehicle in the same place with no return period.

    23 – Your vehicle was parked in the wrong bay, such as an electric vehicle, motorcycle or car club bay.

    24 – Your vehicle wasn’t parked correctly within the bay markings.

    25 – You parked in a loading bay with no loading observed by the traffic warden.

    30 – You stayed for longer than allowed in a parking spot.

    40 – Your vehicle was parked in a disabled parking space without displaying a valid disabled blue badge.

    41 – Your vehicle was parked incorrectly in a diplomatic parking place.

    42 – You’ve parked in a police vehicle parking place.

    43 – You’ve parked in a bay for the use of bridal vehicles only.

    45 – You’ve parked in a taxi rank

    46 – Your vehicle was on a red line or greenways route when parking is not allowed.

    47 – You’ve parked in a bus stop.

    There are lots of reasons why you might receive a penalty charge notice – some that you may not even know existed! Familiarise yourself with these reasons so that you can avoid getting one in the future!

    What is a PCN reference number?

    A PCN reference number is a number that’s been printed on your penalty charge notice. It’s role is to identify your ticket when it comes to paying or appealing your fine. You will need your PCN reference number before you can get in touch with the issuing authority to pay or appeal, so make sure you have it on hand.

    How do I find my PCN number?

    You can find your PCN reference number at the mtop right hand corner of your Penalty Charge Notice, regardless of whether you found the PCN on your vehicle or it was sent through the post.

    The reference number will start with two letters, which is indicative of where the alleged contravention happened. It will also identify what kind of offence allegedly happened.

    It’s a little different if you’re getting a PCN from Transport for London – the PCN reference number will be above the image of the vehicle in the top right corner of your ticket.

    Is a PCN number the same as a reference number?


    Lots of people have asked this question due to different wording on payment portals or any correspondence they may have had with the issuing authority. You’ll need that number to make a payment or appeal the ticket, so make sure you keep it in a safe place, or write the PCN number down.

    What do I do if I’ve lost my parking ticket?

    Firstly, don’t panic!

    It’s understandable that you don’t want the ticket to escalate or miss the deadline to receive the discount on the ticket, but there are ways you can get that information.

    You’ll need to get in touch with the issuing authority of the ticket. For example, if you live in Birmingham but received a penalty charge notice in Worcester, you’d need to contact the Worcester council for that information.

    Note: only the registered keeper of the vehicle can get the information from the issuing authority, and you’ll need to give them your registration number as well as the date the alleged contravention happened.

    Free Parking Ticket Appeal Letter Download

    Can I appeal my PCN without a reference number?

    In short, no.

    You will need your PCN reference number to start an appeal against your penalty charge notice. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to get in touch with the issuing authority. 

    But, this might depend on how you received the penalty charge notice. If it was left on your vehicle, you’ll be able to make an informal appeal. However, if it came in the post, you’ll need to make a formal appeal, which will involve writing a letter giving details as to why you don’t think you should pay for the penalty charge notice. You’ll also need to back up your claim with as much evidence as possible.

    Getting a penalty charge notice can be upsetting, especially if you weren’t aware you didn’t anything wrong. Don’t forget that we have in-depth guides on both council related parking fines and private parking fines that may help you successfully win an appeal. We also have a free and easy to use parking ticket appeal letter template that you can use to help you build a solid appeal letter!

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    Lucy R.14-11-2020
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