Drivers slapped with tickets after paying for parking by mobile

Automatic systems can make mistakes

Updated: 

Parking ticket placed under windshield wiper

There's no doubt that paying for your parking with your mobile phone can be extremely convenient, especially when you're in a rush.

However, many motorists say they are getting slapped with fines for parking incorrectly, even when they've done nothing of the sort.

In other cases, the automatic system is set up in such a way that even obvious errors aren't flagged up, again leading to a fine.

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In one case cited by This is Money, Brian Randall, 51, was fined £60 after using his mobile phone to pay for parking in north London. As he already had a PayByPhone account, he simply sent a text message stating how long he intended to park, and his bank account was debited £2.15.

Unfortunately for Brian, though, the automatic system didn't allocate the ticket to his car, but instead to his wife Debbie's - meaning that when he returned to his car he found he'd been ticketed.

He appealed, but was told that he should have checked the details first.

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In other cases, motorists have been ticketed after giving their registration number by phone, with the system mis-hearing and getting the number wrong.

Cashless parking is spreading across the country, with hundreds of local authorities using services from the likes of RingGo, Parkmobile and PayByPhone.

However, the companies say that they way the rules are applied is nothing to do with them.

"Unfortunately the enforcement operator will not allow us to intervene with any aspect of the appeal process, as it is their strict policy that customers contact them directly in writing. They issue the fines and consequently they are the only ones able to cancel them," says RingGo.

"You should as such follow the appeals procedure which is normally dictated on the back of the ticket itself."

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It says it will help people to appeal by giving them a standard appeal template letter to send to the enforcement operator in appeal, together with a VAT receipt as proof of payment.

If you want to appeal against a council parking ticket, you'll need to be able to argue that signs were unclear or the ticket wasn't correctly issued - or that there are mitigating circumstances. There's more information from Which? here.

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