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IT'S NOT FINE - Campaign on unfair private parking charges

In 2014, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) led a campaign against unfair charges for parking on private land. The It’s Not Fine campaign reminds consumers that such charges are not fines or penalty notices as on public property. It also seeks to help those hit by disproportionate or unfair charges fight back.

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs) across Scotland have helped clients challenge charges and have been at the forefront of campaign activities. They have seen consumers charged up to £200 for outstaying allotted time limits by as little as half an hour. Signs in such private car parks – often those outside supermarkets and garden centres – are not always clear or visible. Those who do not pay the charges often receive repeated letters from car park operators, many of which have references to rules and processes that do not apply in Scotland, such as County Court Judgements and the use of bailiffs. 

Read our detailed advice on this topic on the public advice site

Read our report into private parking charges, published in October 2014


When you park on private land such as a supermarket or garden centre, any ticket you receive is not a fine or a penalty as it would be in a public space. It is a civil, not criminal, matter. If you feel the ticket has been issued unfairly, or the charge is disproportionate:

  • Contact the company operating the car park and state the reasons why. For example, were the signs clear? Template letters are available from Citizens Advice Scotland on the links below. 
  • Speak to the owner of the car park. Are they aware of the operating company’s conduct?

We have made available template letters for you to easily and quickly challenge charges: