• Complete Guide to a Penalty Charge Notice Everything You Need to Know

    Complete Guide to a Penalty Charge Notice: Everything You Need to Know

    If you’ve had a penalty charge notice land on your doorstep or left on your car, you’re probably a little anxious to find out what it means and what you need to do next. Did you know that there are more reasons than you think for getting a penalty charge notice? Don’t worry, you’re not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last person to get one. We’ve put together this guide to help you discover what comes next and the best ways of dealing with a penalty charge notice, especially if you don’t think you were in the wrong.

    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.

    As you can see, there are lots of reasons why you might receive a penalty charge notice – some that you may not have been aware of! Familiarise yourself with these reasons so that you can avoid getting one in the future!

    Is a Penalty Charge Notice a criminal offence?

    In short, no. Penalty Charge notices are issued when motorists commit a minor driving offence. This means that normally, they won’t result in a criminal conviction. They won’t appear on your criminal record unless a court convicts you because of one, but this would be in extreme circumstances.

    Will a Penalty Charge Notice affect my credit score?

    Credit reference companies don’t store this type of information, so it’s very unlikely that it will affect your credit score. 

    The only time it might, is if the local council takes you to court for not paying and you refuse to pay or miss payments. When this happens, it could be on your credit report for six years.

    Is a PCN the same as a Fixed Penalty?

    No. A fixed penalty notice (FPN) is issued by the police as a conditional offer to avoid prosecution in court. If you’ve recieved an FPN, there are different steps you’ll need to take, especially if you plan on appealing the fixed penalty notice.

    Will I get a Penalty Charge Notice on Private Land?

    No, you can’t get a penalty charge notice on private land. Private parking companies and landowners will issues something called a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) which is conveniently the same acronym as a penalty charge notice. Because of this, people often get confused between the two and think that they can ignore it. 

    There are a lot of differences between a penalty charge notice and a parking charge notice, including how to appeal them, so make sure you know exactly which one you’re dealing with!

    Who can issue a Penalty Charge Notice?

    A penalty charge notice is issued by either a parking warden employed by the council or the council itself when a contravention occurred within their council area. They can also be issued by Transport for London (TfL).

    TfL are responsible for issuing penalty charge notices for contraventions that happen on London’s red routes, which are the busiest roads in London and make 5% of all London roads.

    A penalty charge notice will be issued in one of three ways:

    1. Handing the penalty charge notice to you in person.
    2. Leaving the penalty charge notice on your car or other vehicle.
    3. Sending a penalty charge notice through the post.

    How much is a Penalty Charge Notice?

    The cost of your penalty charge notice will vary based on where you received the PCN and also the contravention you allegedly committed. However, the fines will vary between a lower cost of £50 and a higher cost of £160. The higher end of the scale often comes from committing a contravention on London red routes. If you pay the fine within 14 days, you’ll often receive a 50% discount.

    Are Penalty Charge Notices enforceable in the UK?

    In short, yes.

    If you choose not to pay your penalty charge notice, the local council or TfL can choose to take you to court and register the fine as a debt with the county court. If you don’t provide a sufficient reason or evidence as to why you shouldn’t pay the fine, you may end up with a court order to pay.

    But, this isn’t the first action if you don’t pay your fine! Essentially, you’re better off either paying the fine or going down an appeal route.

    Do I have to pay a Penalty Charge Notice?


    If the council or Transport for London have rightfully issued the penalty charge notice to you, you’ll need to pay the fine. You have 28 days to make the payment, and if you pay within 14 days, you’ll get a 50% discount on the fine you need to pay. Keep in mind that these rules may be different in Northern Ireland or Scotland.

    But, if you feel that your penalty charge notice hasn’t been issued fairly, you have the right to appeal it. Don’t just pay the fine, take the time to find out how to appeal!

    How can I pay my Penalty Charge Notice?

    You might not have realised you were doing anything wrong when your PCN was issued and that’s fine! We all make mistakes sometimes. You can easily pay your penalty charge notice these days as most councils have an online payment portal where you can pay for your PCN.

    If you don’t wish to pay online, there are other ways you can pay. Your penalty charge notice will detail the different ways to pay. If for some reason it doesn’t, you’ll need to contact the council that issued it or Transport for London if applicable.

    Can I appeal a Penalty Charge Notice?

    Yes! If you believe that your penalty charge notice has been wrongly issued, you can appeal to the council or TfL and if you’re successful, the fine will be completely wiped! But, you do need to make sure your appeal is submitted within 28 days of the penalty charge notice being issued.

    It’s important to take note of which council issued the penalty charge notice to you. For example, if you took a day trip outside of the locality you live in, it’s completely possible to get a penalty charge notice from another council if you committed a parking contravention. This means that you’ll need to appeal to the right council, not the area you live.

    There’s a few other things to note too!

    If your penalty charge notice was handed to you or left on your car, your first step would be to make an informal appeal to the local council. You’ll need to do this within 14 days of the date that the penalty charge notice was given to you or left on your car. An informal appeal involves writing them a letter or looking on the local council’s website for contact details. If your informal appeal isn’t accepted, you can then make a formal appeal.

    If your penalty charge notice came through the post, the option to make an informal appeal no longer applies. You’ll now need to make a formal appeal to the council that issued the penalty charge notice or Transport for London if applicable. You have 28 days from the date of the penalty charge notice to make a formal appeal.

    Free Parking Ticket Appeal Letter Download

    Appealing a Penalty Charge Notice Process

    To make a formal appeal, you’ll need to write a letter explaining why you disagree and are appealing the penalty charge notice. You’ll need a valid reason for appealing, and it’s a good idea to collect as much evidence as possible to support your reason for challenging the penalty charge notice.

    The idea of appealing against a penalty charge notice can seem daunting, but it really isn’t as scary or complicated as you may think! Essentially, you have 28 days to make a formal appeal after you received your penalty charge notice. You’ll need to write what’s known as a representation letter that includes the reason and as much evidence as possible to support your penalty charge notice appeal, along with your address, vehicle registration number, and the PCN number.

    Remember there are lots of good reasons to appeal a PCN, so make sure you know your rights before forking out any cash!

    penalty charge notice

    Source – Money Saving Expert

    You might feel confident enough to write your own appeal letter but if not, we’ve created a penalty charge notice appeal letter template that’s really easy to use, and gives you that peace of mind knowing you’re not missing off any information that could help your appeal.

    You might be wondering about penalty charge notice response times, and you might find yourself waiting a while for a decision on your appeal. The council has 56 days to review, consider and make a decision to your formal appeal. 

    If your penalty charge notice has no response after 56 days have passed, you’ve won your appeal by default and are no longer required to pay the fine, so make sure you make a note of the dates!

    What happens after I appeal?

    The local council and Transport for London have 56 days to review, consider, and make a decision of your appeal and let you know the outcome. If your appeal was successful, your penalty charge notice will be cancelled and you don’t have to take any further action.

    But, if your penalty charge notice appeal is rejected, you’ll receive what’s known as a notice of rejection. This will contain details on why your appeal was rejected and how you can appeal if you still disagree with their decision.

    Can I appeal against the decision?


    Your notice of rejection letter will have details on how you can contact the General Regulatory Chamber to make a further appeal.

    What happens if I don’t pay my Penalty Charge Notice? 

    If you don’t pay your penalty charge notice, the problem won’t just simply go away. In fact, the council or TfL could take you to court and turn the fine into a debt at a county court. You could then be given a court order that will force you to pay the fine! And, if you don’t pay the court order within 28 days, you’ll then receive what’s called a charge certificate.

    This will extend your payment deadline by 14 days, but you’ll have to pay the full fine cost as well as 50% on top of the original fine. So, if your original fine was £90, you’ll then need to pay £135 within those 14 days.

    If you still don’t pay your fine, you’ll be given what’s known as an order of recovery. This will give you a further 21 days to pay your penalty charge notice or challenge the court order. But, if you don’t do either of those things, bailiffs might turn up at your door to repossess your belongings to pay off that debt.

    How can I avoid getting a Penalty Charge Notice?

    While you might not be able to avoid getting out of your penalty charge notice on this occasion, you can still take notes to avoid getting one in the future. There are lots of rules that dictate where and how you can park, but if you understand a few simple rules, you’ll be able to avoid getting a penalty charge notice in the future.

    You are actually allowed to stop on double yellow lines

    While you’re not allowed to park on double yellow lines, you are allowed to drop someone off or pick them up. However, you cannot leave you car. If you’re picking someone up, try and make sure they know you’re about to arrive so that you’re not waiting for a long time.

    If you’re dropping someone off, wait until your passenger is safely out of the car and pull away when it’s safe to do so. Many people worry that they have to rush, but if you have a passenger that might find it harder to get out of the car, you’re free to wait for them as long as it takes without the risk of a fine.

    However, if you’re caught by a parking attendant or on camera and are deemed to be loitering, you might be ticketed. Try to make sure you and your passenger are punctual if you do need to stop on double yellow lines.

    Be careful how you park

    You might feel that if you do have to park up for a little while that parking with your car partially on the pavement is a conscientious thing to do for other road users. However, parking wardens probably won’t see it that way, and you may end up with a ticket.

    Your best bet is to make sure your vehicle is completely on the road to avoid getting ticketed, even if you’re only parked for a short time.

    Check parking signs

    Any parking areas owned and managed by the local council should have parking signs that dictate who can park there, for how long, and any other rules such as resident permit holders only or disabled parking spaces.

    Take the time to read parking signs before leaving your vehicle to make sure that you’re not breaking any rules and ultimately, putting yourself at risk for a penalty charge notice.

    Some signs may dictate certain days and times during the week, and parking your vehicle outside of these times could lead to a penalty charge notice.

    Don’t stop in a bus stop

    It’s easy to quickly swing into a bus stop to drop someone off or pick them up, but you cannot stop or wait in a bus stop for any reason at all. The only exception is if you’re stuck in traffic, but you still shouldn’t pull into the bus stop itself.

    What happens if my Penalty Charge Notice has the wrong registration number?

    There is a chance of this happening, and it’s important to check these details when you receive a penalty charge notice. It’s rare, but if the parking warden typed any details in wrong, it could flag up the wrong vehicle.

    You’ll need to check all of the details on the penalty charge notice, and if it’s not clear that it was actually you who committed the contravention, then you’ll need to contact the local council and check these details.

    Will a Penalty Charge Notice affect my car insurance?


    By law, you don’t need to inform your insurance company about penalty charge notices, unless of course you want to (we’d advise against it). Because of this, it’s very unlikely that getting a penalty charge notice will affect your car insurance when it comes to renewing your premium.

    Free Parking Ticket Appeal Letter Download

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