Dumfries Parking

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Dumfries Parking

Dumfries parking in Dumfriesshire is getting more difficult by the day. There look to be additional yellow lines, additional traffic wardens, with a reduction of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

With a bit of luck uk comprehensive can assist you with your parking in Dumfries. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Dumfries, then we are here to assist.

Firstly there are 2 different types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which notice you've received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Dumfries council or Dumfries police then you've been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking illegally on municipal land. Such an offence is backed up by criminal law and you can be fined or end up in court for non-payment of the fines.

If you have received a PCN issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Dumfries council or Dumfries police for information on what to do next. Dumfries council will have meticulous instructions on their website outlining how long you have got to pay the fine, how to pay the fine and the penalties implicated if you fail to pay within the time limit.

By and large they afford a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The PCN ought to also contain plain detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any data, such as a video, which is being relied upon to corroborate you committed the offence. Crucially, the PCN should in addition include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals process and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you get a pcn, it is always a nice idea to get separate opinion from the Dumfries Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Dumfries lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Dumfries solicitor.

If you have got a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking company. A private parking company is an organisation which has entered into a pact with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their property.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions regularly in a sign displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that property. By choosing to park on the land it may be implied that you agree to these conditions, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are then entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will include a set time limit, an obligation to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed obviously and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at extra points across the location, along with info about parking charges and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you pick up a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you find they are not, you may desire to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The key difference between an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is nothing in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Hence they should not be described as penalties or fines, although many parking operators will label their notices a Parking Charge Notice, which handily also abbreviates to PCN (what a coincidence!).

In issuing a Parking Charge Notice, the parking operator is relying on the law of contract to make a claim for compensation. The sum they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the CAB, this charge should be reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, even though excessive charges are common. This is not a criminal matter despite any impression given to the contrary by the operator.

The operator has no right to get back a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel there has been a misunderstanding and you should not have been issued a ticket, you may wish to dispute the charge with the parking company as soon as possible. You should ask them to provide proof of their argument against you. If you fail to reach an agreement with them, then, as with all civil matters, it is up to the parking company to bear out their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to write down that, as things presently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. Thus if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this right away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to bestow the parking operator with any further info, as you would be with the police. In particular you do not have to identify the driver or supply his or her name and address.

Indeed if you are convinced that you have not parked in contravention of the rules of the car park, you do not have to contact the parking company if you do not wish to do so as the obligation is on the parking company to confirm its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on a string of letters from the company itself, debt collectors and solicitors, all warning of court action. However, the reality is that extremely few cases ever reach court because of the difficulties the private company has in proving its case. As a result, the letters usually stop. Even if a case does reach court, the company may have trouble convincing a judge that the charge is fair.

The bottom line is it is going to be very hard for these companies to establish you are a guilty party in this. In 99.99% of cases the best thing to do is rip up the ticket and throw it away. We would recommend not to contact the company (as you are handing them your details) or waste your time and money consulting a solicitor. Most of these companies do not provide proper signage - in other words they are easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the stuff you want to purchase.