As Christmas approaches and the January Sales follow, we may all find ourselves stuck in a long shop queue panicking that our free car parking period is about to run out. But what happens if it does? Do we have to pay charges levied by privately operated car parks?
If you fail to buy a ticket, or overstay in a private car park, you have broken your contract with the car park operator. In 2015, Mr Beavis took his appeal over an £85 fine levied by ParkingEye to the Supreme Court (ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis  UKSC 67). He argued that the charge was void as a penalty it did not represent a genuine pre-estimate of loss. The Court found that ParkingEye had a legitimate interest in charging overstaying motorists, and that the charge was not extravagant in any event.
What happens if I don’t pay a carparking fine?
If you have a good reason for overstaying or not having a ticket, or the charge is excessive, you should contact the car park operator and ask them to reconsider. If they refuse, you can appeal to POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) if the operator is a member, which can dismiss the charge.
If the operator is not part of POPLA, or the charge is upheld and you still don’t pay, you could be pursued in the small claims court. Any enforcement action is likely to lead to you having to pay an increased fine, interest and court fees, and you will have a CCJ entered against you if you lose, which could affect your credit rating.