One of the most common reasons people are issued with a CCJ is a failure to pay a parking ticket.
The original parking charge may only have been £40 but the cost of having a CCJ on your credit record is enormous.
If you’ve discovered a CCJ relating to a parking charge, we recommend that you take steps to remove it as soon as possible. This article explains how the CCJ may have come about in the first place and what you need to do about it.
Why have you received a CCJ for a parking charge?
Although each case is slightly different, the CCJ probably happened as a result of the following circumstances:
1. You changed address but you didn’t update the DVLA straight away
Whenever you move house, there’s always a lot to think about and so many organisations to notify of your new address.
The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002, impose a duty on you to notify the DVLA of any change to your address. If you don’t do so, you could be liable for a fine.
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll receive a fine for a genuine oversight, a potentially greater risk to you is that your contact details for parking fines are out of date.
It’s not enough simply to update the DVLA with your new address for the driving licence. You also need to update your vehicle log book (V5C). You can find out more about that here:
Many people forget to do this and so they’re at risk of receiving parking tickets without being given the opportunity to respond.
If you’ve received a CCJ for a parking fine, the chances are that it’s because you didn’t update your vehicle log book before the alleged parking violation happened.
2. You stayed too long in a restricted car park
Many car parks, particularly at supermarkets and service stations, allow you to stay for a limited time without paying, usually about 2 hours. This is intended to be enough time for you to do your shopping.
The car park is usually managed by an external parking management company, such as Parking Eye or Civil Enforcement Limited.
If you stay for too long, you have to pay a significant charge. The way they catch you is by using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). This technology can record what time you arrive in the car park and what time you leave.
There have been questions raised about whether it’s legal to issue parking charges in this way. In fact, the legality was challenged in the Supreme Court in 2015.
To the disappointment of many motorists, the court decided that, provided the signs at the car park are clear and the charge is not too high, the parking management company is allowed to issue parking tickets to people who overstay.
If you received a parking ticket, you may have difficulty defending yourself against any claim, unless you can prove that the signage was not sufficiently clear.
3. The parking management company obtained an address for the vehicle’s registered keeper from the DVLA
If you stayed too long in a car park, the parking management company probably sent a parking charge notice. But how did they decide where to send it?
The parking management company is allowed to access information from the DVLA in order to find out who the registered owner of your vehicle is.
Having found out that information, they sent the parking charge notice to the only address they had.
If you had not updated your address, the parking charge notice would have been posted to your previous residence. As a result, you would have been unaware of the parking charge notice and unable to pay the charge or contest it.
4. The parking management company issued a court claim against you, using your previous address
The parking management company want their money. If a motorist doesn’t respond to a parking ticket, they take legal action.
The address they provide to the court is the same address as they originally obtained from the DVLA. Even if you had updated your log book after the date of the original ticket, they probably didn’t enquire of the DVLA again. This means that the court papers were all sent to your previous home.
As a result, you weren’t aware of the court action against you and you couldn’t respond.
In the absence of a response, the court issued a default judgment. This is a type of CCJ and will remain on your record for 6 years if you don’t pay it within a month. The trouble is that you couldn’t pay it within a month because you weren’t aware of it.
Having obtained the CCJ, the parking management company usually does nothing further, except wait for you to contact them.
What should you do now?
There are three ways to remove a CCJ from your credit file. The way that’s mostly likely to apply in your case is an application to set aside judgment.
Only a court can set aside a CCJ. However, if both parties agree that the CCJ should be set aside, then a court is much more likely to make that order. This is known as a consent order.
We have found that parking management companies are willing to co-operate, provided they get their money. If you intend to contest the parking charge, they are unlikely to consent to the judgment being set aside.
We usually recommend offering to pay the full amount of the CCJ, even if you think it’s unfair. The cost of contesting it is likely to be disproportionate. It will also take much more time for you to get a clean credit record.
Usually, if you offer to pay in full, the parking company will consent to judgment being set aside. They will sign the consent order which can then be filed at court.
Provided that the court endorses the consent order, the CCJ will be removed from your credit record.