FAQs and advice
- I have received a penalty charge notice for an alleged breach of parking conditions under bylaws. Can POPLA consider this?
- What happens if I am unhappy with the assessor's decision?
- I would like to request information from POPLA under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). Can I do this?
Will the charge be put on hold while it is with POPLA?
While your appeal is with POPLA, the operator must not pursue you for payment. If the operator requests payment from you while your appeal is with POPLA, please notify the British Parking Association who will look into it.
I want the parking operator to provide a specific piece of evidence. Can you force them to provide it in the appeal?
You and the operator are responsible for what evidence and information you provide on your submissions. The operator should rebut each of your grounds of appeal and will provide evidence to do that in their evidence packs.
However, the operator is not obligated to provide a piece of evidence that you specifically request if it does not want to. We cannot force parking operators to provide a specific piece of evidence either.
How do assessors make decisions?
Assessors will make decisions based on:
The British Parking Association's code of practice
Evidence provided by both parties
Assessors have been trained on these areas and our decision-making guidelines. They have also passed an accreditation process following our training programme and receive regular internal quality audits as well as coaching and personal development.
Will I have to pay costs if I lose my appeal? Is POPLA free?
POPLA is a free service to motorists and you do not have to pay to appeal with us. If your appeal is successful, you do not need to pay the parking charge notice. However, if you appeal is unsuccessful, the parking operator will expect you to make payment. If you delay payment beyond 28 days, the operator may add additional charges or refer your case to debt collection.
Will POPLA collect evidence or contact witnesses on my behalf?
We provide a one stage appeal service, considering the case submitted from each party. Probing one party or the other for additional evidence could prejudice the outcome of the appeal.
Therefore, it is the appellant and the parking operator's responsibility to provide their own evidence. POPLA will not collect evidence on your behalf or contact witnesses. If you want evidence or a witnesses' statement to be considered, you must collect and submit it with your appeal.
What does the POPLA appeal process look like?
We have outlined our simple 5-step appeals process here.
First you will need to submit your appeal to us, for this you'll need your 10-digit verification code provided by the parking operator as well as any evidence you would like to submit. Appeals can be done online or sent to us by post.
Once we receive your case, it will be sent to the parking operator who will have 21 days to provide their response. The parking operator will provide an evidence pack which should put its case forward and address your appeal.
We will send the parking operator's evidence pack to you, after which you will have 7 days to provide comments. Any comments you provide must relate to your original case; you cannot bring up new grounds of appeal at this stage.
The case will then go to one of our Assessor who will make a decision based on the submissions by you and the parking operator. The assessor will send their decision to both parties at the same time, you'll receive an email notifying you a decision has been made which you can view by logging onto your account.
We can not reconsider your appeal if you disagree with our decision. If you wish to dispute the charge further, you should speak to Citizens Advice Bureau or seek independent legal advice.
How long will my appeal take?
The appeal process typically takes between 6 to 8 weeks.
I have been asked to submit comments about the operator's evidence pack. What does this mean?
Once you have submitted your appeal it will be sent to the parking operator. In response they will provide an evidence pack which should outline their case and address your appeal.
This evidence pack will be shared with you and you'll have 7 days to view and comment on it. You can use this opportunity to point out any flaws in the evidence pack or provide additional information which may disprove the parking operator's cases.
For example, if the parking operator claims that signage is at a car park and you know that it has been removed, you could submit comments and information to prove that is the case - although we would advise this is your original appeal.
This stage is optional and you do not need to provide any comments.
I have been asked to submit comments about the parking operator's evidence pack, but I cannot see it. What should I do?
Please contact us at the earliest opportunity by phone or using our contact us form and we will arrange for a copy of the evidence pack to be emailed to you. If you delay and miss your opportunity to comment, we may consider the case without your comments.
Can I submit new grounds of appeal or new evidence after submitting my appeal?
No, you cannot submit new evidence or new grounds of appeal after you have submitted your appeal. It is essential you submit everything with your appeal that you want us to consider.
What happens after POPLA has reached a decision?
If your appeal is successful and we have allowed your appeal, you do not need to take any further steps. The charge will be cancelled.
If your appeal is unsuccessful and we have refused your appeal, the parking operator will expect payment. You should pay the charge within 28 days from the day we made our decision to prevent the charge from increasing or being referred to debt collection.
Making an Appeal
I'm waiting for more evidence. Can I delay submitting my POPLA appeal?
You have 28 days to submit your appeal with us from the date the parking operator rejects your appeal. We are unlikely to be able to accept your appeal if you delay beyond these 28 days.
Can I submit an appeal by post?
You can submit an appeal by post, but this will take longer than appealing online due to postage and processing requirements. Please ensure you write as clearly and legibly as you can, and wherever possible please type out your submission via computer, tablet or mobile. Our postal address is:
POPLA, PO Box 1270, Warrington, WA4 9RL
You must clearly state your name, contact details, postal address and an email address. If you do not clearly include your POPLA reference number we will not be able to consider your appeal.
Please note that we will require you to complete a POPLA postal appeal form. The parking operator that issued the parking charge notice may have already provided this to you. However, if you have not been provided with one please call us and we will send one out for you to complete and return.
Please note: we do not provide a free returns envelope with the postal appeal form, you are responsible for returning it.
How much time do I have to submit my appeal to POPLA?
You have 28 days to submit your appeal with us from the date the operator rejects your appeal.
I have multiple Parking Charge Notices. Can I submit them all as a single appeal?
No, you must submit each appeal separately. If you submit multiple appeals in a single appeal it will be withdrawn.
Where do I find my 10 digit verification code?
You should have received your verification code when you were sent your rejection notice from the parking operator, typically via post or email. If you could have received it by email, you should check your spam/junk folder.
If you haven’t received your code, you can contact the parking operator who will provide one but only if you appealed the parking charge notice within 28 days of receiving it.
If a parking operator rejects an appeal you made and you did so within this 28 day window, it is a requirement of the British Parking Association's code of practice that they issue a verification code. If the operator refuses to issue a code in these circumstances you can contact the British Parking Association.
What evidence should I submit when making an appeal?
You can find out more information by visiting our appeals guide. We cannot advise you specifically on what evidence you need to provide with your appeal, however, It is really important that you provide as much evidence as you can to demonstrate your grounds of appeal. Appeals with relevant evidence really help our assessors understand what has happened and to come to the right outcome.
Evidence could include pay & display tickets, letters, witness statements, crime reference information, photos of parking signs, etc.
I have received a charge in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Can POPLA consider appeals in these countries too?
We can accept appeals from drivers in Scotland and Northern Ireland. If the keeper of the vehicle wasn't driving, then we cannot accept an appeal from them. This is because Scotland and Northern Ireland has a different set of rules to England and Wales.
In order to appeal to us you must be the driver and you must be named on a Parking Charge Notice or appealing on behalf of someone who meets that criteria. If you submit an appeal to us in your own name, we treat that as you have admitted to being the driver even if you have not admitted that in correspondence with the operator.
Can POPLA consider my mitigating circumstances in its decision?
Our role is to consider whether a parking charge notice has been issued correctly, taking into account relevant law, codes of practice, and the evidence provided by the parties.
While we appreciate that motorists may not always be able to follow the terms and conditions of a car park due to circumstances outside of their control, we cannot allow an appeal due to mitigating circumstances alone.
However, we do have a mitigating circumstances process in place meaning that if a motorist presents us with evidence that demonstrates that serious circumstances outside of their control affected their ability to adhere to the terms and conditions, we will refer it back to the operator for reconsideration. The operator will then make a decision as to whether or not it wants to continue pursuing the parking charge notice or cancel.
If the operator decides to cancel the parking charge notice, you will not need to pay. If the operator decides to continue pursuing it, then we will come to an independent and impartial decision about whether the charge was issued correctly.
How can I send my evidence?
When you submit your case through our website, you will be given an opportunity to upload your evidence. You can find out more information on uploading evidence in our appeals guide.
If you submit your case to us by post, you should enclose copies of any documentation you would like us to consider. Please note, we cannot return your documents so please do not send originals as they will be securely destroyed once we have created your case.
You can submit Word documents, PDF documents, images, and videos to support your case. It's really important you provide everything you want us to consider as we will not request information from you if we do not have it.
If you are having any difficulty uploading your evidence, please contact us within 24 hours of submitting your appeal and we can attach it for you.
Will the discounted parking charge rate be paused or extended if I appeal to POPLA?
No. Your early-settlement period will not be extended or paused while your appeal is with us. Once the 14 day period has passed, you will be liable to pay the full parking charge notice should the appeal be unsuccessful.
Can I pay the parking charge notice and also appeal to POPLA?
No, you cannot pay and appeal to POPLA.
If you pay your appeal, then you are admitting that you are liable for the charge. If you intend to appeal to us, do not pay the Parking Charge Notice.
I'd like someone to handle my appeal on my behalf. Can I do that?
If you need or would like someone to appeal on your behalf, you can do that.
We will ask your appointed person if they are appealing on someone else's behalf. If so, they will be asked to provide evidence that you have consented to them handling your appeal. This evidence could be in the form of a letter, email, etc. which clearly names them and grants them authorisation.
To speed things up, please ensure that you provide your appointed person with a document stating that you consent for them to handle your appeal.
My code has expired however I still want to appeal to POPLA?
The 10 digit verification code issued by the Parking Operator to enable access to POPLA is valid for 28 days from the date of issue. Once this timeframe expires the code will no longer grant access to our service. We will only accept a code which has expired in extenuating circumstances such as:
The appellant was in hospital.
The appellant was abroad.
The appellant was undertaking armed service (army, navy, air force) away from their domestic residence.
The appellant must have been in one of these situations for the full duration or the vast majority of the time their code was valid.
If you feel that you meet the above criteria and would like us to assess accepting your appeal please provide us with the reason for the verification code expiry along with proof of the situation, which could include:
Letters from the hospital/GP to reflect their stay
Flight details/boarding passes
Information around any military duties or tour taken place
Once you have this information please email it to email@example.com
I'm being asked to submit third party authority. What does this mean?
Most people submit their own cases, however, some would like or need someone else to handle their case for them. This may be a friend, a legal representative, someone from Citizens Advice, or someone with power of attorney over your affairs.
If you are being asked for evidence of third party authority, it means that you have been selected to submit an appeal on behalf of someone else.
You must provide documentary evidence that demonstrates you have been authorised to handle the appeal on their behalf, such as a letter or email.
I have received a penalty charge notice for an alleged breach of parking conditions under bylaws. Can POPLA consider this?
POPLA does have remit to consider penalty charge notices issued for alleged breaches of parking conditions under bylaws. You must appeal to the parking operator first and they will refer you to POPLA and provide a verification code to you if you're eligible to apply. Please check the response to your appeal sent by the operator for more details.
What happens if I am unhappy with the assessor's decision?
POPLA is a single-stage appeals process. This means we cannot reconsider your appeal if you disagree with our decision.
If you wish to dispute the charge because you remain dissatisfied, you should speak to Citizens Advice Bureau or seek independent legal advice.
I would like to request information from POPLA under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). Can I do this?
No, POPLA is not subject to the FOI or the EIR.
I have raised a complaint about the decision or service provided by POPLA. Will the charge be put on hold during that time?
If you raise a complaint about the decision or service provided by POPLA, the charge will not be put on hold. If you do not pay the Parking Charge Notice within 28 days the operator may add additional charges.
My case has gone to debt recovery. Can POPLA help me?
You can only raise your appeal to us if you have a valid verification code. Verification codes are valid for 28 days after the parking operator has considered your appeal and sent you its outcome.
If your code is still valid, you can register it and appeal with us. If, however, your code is not valid we may not be in a position to help.
I've forgot my password. What should I do?
You can reset your password by clicking here. You will receive an email from us with a new password, please note this is only valid for 60 minutes. If you do not receive the email, please check your junk/spam folder.
I've got a CCJ for a parking charge. Can POPLA help me?
If you have a Country Court Judgement (CCJ), a court has already determined that the Parking Charge Notice is valid and you needed to pay. We will not be able to help you resolve a CCJ. If you think the CCJ is incorrect you will need to raise this with the court that issued it.
What is keeper liability?
In a case where no party has identified themselves or been identified as the driver, the parking operator is able to pursue the keeper of the vehicle in certain circumstances, based on the regulations set out in section 56 and schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Providing that the required conditions are met, the parking operator has the right to recover any unpaid parking charges from the keeper of the vehicle if, within a specified period, they refuse or are unable to name the driver at the time of the parking charge or liability incurred.
Paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 4 provides that "keeper" means the person by whom the vehicle is kept at the time the vehicle was parked, which in the case of a registered vehicle is to be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to be the registered keeper.
What happens if I have received a ticket from the Council or an operator who is not a member of the British Parking Association (BPA)?
POPLA can only consider appeals against parking charge notices issued by a private parking operator that is part of the BPA Approved Operator Scheme. If you have received a ticket from a non-member of the BPA and wish to appeal, please contact the issuer to enquire about the options available to you.
For more information on the BPA Approved Operator Scheme (BPA AOS), including a list of members, please see here.
If you have received a ticket from a parking operator who is a member of the International Parking Community AOS, please visit their website.
If you have received a ticket under the statutory schemes, usually called a ‘penalty charge notice’ or a ‘fixed penalty notice’, you should follow the instructions on the ticket. Strict time limits usually apply.
I would like to raise a complaint about the service I have received from POPLA. How can I do this?
If you feel we have treated you rudely, failed to follow our process, failed to keep you updated on progress or caused unnecessary delay, we will happily look into that and respond.
Simply head to our 'Unhappy with our service' page, you can then detail your complaint and we'll respond as soon as we can.
Please note: POPLA is a single stage appeals process, we cannot reconsider your appeal if you have new evidence or disagree with our decision.
I want to discuss payment or set up a payment plan. Can you help?
POPLA is not a parking operator and does not manage payments on behalf of parking operators. If you would like to make a payment or discuss payment options, you will need to contact the parking operator. POPLA cannot contact the operator on your behalf or facilitate a payment plan.
Who is POPLA? What is your role? How are you funded?
POPLA is administered by Ombudsman Services. Our role is to consider whether a parking charge notice has been issued correctly, taking into account relevant law, codes of practice, and the evidence provided by the parties.
We offer a single-stage appeals process. This means each party gets one opportunity to submit their case and evidence and we will make a decision based on that information alone. This will be a final decision. Other than motorists having an opportunity to comment on the operator's evidence pack, there is no opportunity to provide further information or appeal our decision.
We are funded by the British Parking Association (BPA). We charge the BPA for each case that we decide and they pass the costs on to the industry. We charge the same fee regardless of the outcome of the case. Neither the British Parking Association or any operator has any control over our decision-making and, therefore, we are impartial and independent of the sector.
I typed my registration in slightly wrong and I'm being asked to pay a charge. I've already paid for parking and I find this really unfair. Is it necessary to go through all of this to resolve it?
This is called a 'keying error' and it occurs where the motorist is required to enter their vehicle registration into a payment machine or terminal and they make a mistake. The British Parking Association released rules in its new code of practice outlining what parking companies should do where there is evidence of a keying error.
We cannot provide advice on whether you should appeal your charge with us or not. However, for transparency here is a summary of how we consider cases:
Motorists with evidence of a minor keying errors (e.g. one digit incorrect) should have their parking charge notice cancelled by the parking operator during their own internal appeals process. If we see evidence of a minor keying error, we will cancel the charge.
Motorists with evidence of major keying errors (e.g. the whole registration incorrect) should be offered a £20 reduced payment to settle the case during the parking operators appeal process. If the operator has not offered this reduced payment, we will allow the motorist to appeal. If the operator has offered the reduced payment and you choose to appeal anyway, we will refuse the appeal and the operator will expect you to pay the full parking charge amount. You cannot make a decision requiring them to maintain the £20.
Can I only appeal to POPLA on specific grounds of appeal? (incl. what we cannot investigate)
Our appeal form will put forward common reasons for appeal that you can select from. However, your appeal may not fit into one of these categories and you are invited to tell us your story as you see it and provide what evidence you think is relevant.
We will consider whether the charge has been issued correctly, taking into account relevant law, codes of practice, and the evidence provided by the parties. We can consider any grounds of appeal and evidence that challenges whether the charge is valid. We cannot, however, consider complaints about the level of customer service provided by the parking operator or the physical state and upkeep of the car park, unless they impact the validity of the Parking Charge Notice.