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No fines if you make a number plate error when paying for parking

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
New rules have come into effect meaning drivers will find it easier to appeal or have tickets cancelled if they make simple errors keying in registration details when paying for parking.

Under the British Parking Association’s (BPA) revised code of practice for parking on private land, operators must show leniency when it comes to minor registration plate keying-in errors made on pay and display machines, parking kiosks or at validation terminals.

Drivers who receive a PCN [Parking Charge Notice] after entering one letter or number incorrectly or where the registration has been keyed in the wrong order, must have the charge cancelled when a motorist appeals.

Examples include 0 instead of o, I instead of L and 1 instead of I.

However, where major keying errors have been made, such as entering a different registration or something completely unrelated, or where they’ve made multiple errors, then the BPA said these should be dealt with “appropriately”.

Where a ticket has been issued, operators can seek to recover costs already occurred, such as the DVLA fee and other processing costs. But a maximum charge of £20 for a 14-day period from when the error occurred can be levied before reverting to the charge amount at the point of appeal.

The BPA also confirmed that a 10-minute grace period must be applied where a driver has outstayed their parking term before issuing a PCN.

Steve Clark, BPA head of business operations, said: “We recognise that genuine mistakes can occur, which may result in a parking charge being issued even when a motorist can demonstrate they paid for their parking. In recognition of this we have further clarified the situation for all parties.

“Motorists will still need to appeal, but we expect our members to deal with them appropriately at the first appeal stage.”

John Gallagher, lead adjudicator at POPLA, the independent appeals service for PCNs issued on private land, said: “The revised code will bring greater clarity for motorists and parking operators alike on issues such as simple keying errors and grace periods.  The introduction of a section on keying errors, requiring parking operators to cancel Parking Charge Notices in certain circumstances and reduce the amount to only administration costs in others, is particularly welcome.”

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