FAQs and advice
How does the POPLA appeals process work?
Read about the five simple steps to a POPLA decision.
What evidence should I submit when making an appeal?
You should attach or enclose any evidence that you believe supports your case. For example:
- Crime reference number (if the vehicle was stolen)
- Photographs (if you think that the signage was inadequate)
- Pay and display voucher (if you say it was displayed and had not expired)
- Witness statement
If you wish to submit digital images you can attach them to your online appeal, cut and paste them onto a document or provide us with a disc. JPEG is the preferred format for images. Video clips can be attached to your online appeal. MPG is the preferred format for video clips and these must be no more than 20mb in size. For security reasons we cannot accept evidence on a USB flash drive.
Please note that we will not be able to return the evidence that you provide to us. As such, you should keep a copy of any evidence you send.
Will the assessor collect evidence or contact witnesses on my behalf?
It is not the role of the assessor to collect evidence or contact witnesses. They will look at the evidence that is provided to them from both parties and make a decision based on this alone. You are welcome to submit photographs and witness statements if you believe they will strengthen your case.
How much time do I have to submit my appeal?
We must receive your appeal within 28 days from the date of the operator’s notice of rejection. The date the operator sent the rejection to you will be on the appeal form.
Can I submit an appeal late?
In exceptional circumstances, the assessor may be able to extend the 28 day time limit. If you are submitting your appeal late you must state fully and clearly the
reasons for the delay. You must also provide any evidence you have to justify the delay, along with your appeal. The assessor will then decide whether the appeal can
still be considered.
Who will be assessing my appeal?
POPLA has been administered by Ombudsman Services since 1 October 2015, following our appointment from the British Parking Association (BPA).
Ombudsman Services is approved by organisations such as Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Ofcom, and Ofgem as a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution provider. This approval is reviewed periodically.
We are also a full member of the Ombudsman Association meaning that we must fulfill stringent criteria that demonstrates our independence and effectiveness as dispute resolution service.
The POPLA team reports to and is supported by a board and executive team. Find more information about the Ombudsman Services board.
POPLA’s Lead Adjudicator is John Gallagher. John is an Ombudsman with 11 years’ experience in handling complex disputes. He has helped consumers and businesses resolve over 5,000 complaints across a number of sectors including energy, communications, copyright licensing, and parking. John is an accredited mediator and is currently undertaking a Masters in Dispute Resolution. John has lead responsibility for decision-making and decision quality at POPLA.
There are approximately 30 POPLA trained assessors from various backgrounds with many years of dispute resolution experience. Our impartial POPLA assessors go through a rigorous recruitment process and are subject to an intensive training scheme prior to working live cases. After a robust accreditation process, assessors have regular quality assurance checks on their work to ensure that processes are being followed correctly and decision accuracy remains high. Your appeal will be independently reviewed by one of our professional assessors taking into consideration the relevant law, guidance and standards and the BPA Code of Practice.
How does the assessor make their decision?
The assessor will review the evidence supplied by both parties to establish what happened during the incident. If it is relevant to the specific appeal, the assessor will consider whether the parking operator has correctly abided by the British Parking Association Code of Practice and relevant law.
Will the parking charge increase if I lose my appeal?
The parking charge will not increase if you lose your appeal, although the early payment discount period will have passed by the time your appeal has been considered.
Do not pay the charge now if you are appealing. If you pay the charge, POPLA may not be able to assess your appeal and it may be withdrawn.
If your appeal is allowed you have nothing to pay. If your appeal is refused, the parking operator may try to recover the parking charge.
Will I have to pay costs if I lose my appeal?
POPLA is a free service for motorists. The assessor is not able to award costs, expenses or compensation to either party in any circumstances. The remit of the assessor only extends to refusing or allowing an appeal against a parking charge.
Can I submit an appeal by post?
You can submit an appeal by post, but this will take longer than using our web portal due to postage and processing requirements. Please ensure you write as clearly and legibly as you can, and wherever possible please word process your submission. Our postal address is:
PO Box 1270
You must clearly state your name, contact details, your 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.
Can I get information from POPLA under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004?
POPLA is not subject to the FOI or EIR.
What if I have received a ticket from an operator that is not a member of the British Parking Association Approved Operator Scheme (BPA AOS)?
POPLA can only consider appeals against parking charge notices issued by a member of the BPA. If you have received a ticket from a non-member and wish to appeal, please contact the issuer to enquire about the options available to you.
For more information on the British Parking Association Approved Operator Scheme (BPA AOS), including a list of members, please go to the BPA website.
If you have received a ticket from a parking operator who is a member of the Independent Parking Committee 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.
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 required conditions are met, the creditor has the right to recover any unpaid parking charges from the keeper of the vehicle if, within a specified period, the keeper refuses or is unable to name the driver at the time the parking charge or liability was 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.
Can I only appeal on specific grounds?
You are able to appeal on whatever grounds you feel to be relevant. However, it is up to the assessor to decide whether these grounds are valid for allowing an appeal. You may want to be aware when making your appeal that:
- If you have appealed to POPLA on the grounds of mitigating circumstances (a reason beyond your control that prevented you from fulfilling the Terms and Conditions of the parking contract), it is less likely that your appeal will be successful. This is because POPLA is not able to allow an appeal for mitigating circumstances. In the event that the assessor finds a mitigating circumstance to be the reason for the parking charge being issued, the assessor can request the parking operator to consider this, but cannot enforce it. If a parking operator has already rejected your appeal based on the mitigating circumstance you plan to bring to POPLA, it is unlikely it will agree to it the second time around.
- If you have multiple, legitimate, reasons for appealing your parking charge try and deal with these reasons distinctly and separate them with paragraphs,
bullet points or page breaks. Though every effort is made to be thorough, this will ensure that the assessor can clearly and accurately assess the exact reasons that
you are making the appeal. It may also help speed up the process.
Wherever possible, be as succinct as you can when making an appeal.
- Assessors will make decisions based on the evidence that has been made available to them. Anything that can add weight to the claims you are making will strengthen your argument. Photographs of the circumstances you are describing can be particularly useful when making a decision.
- Assessors will only consider the issues that you raise to them on your appeal form.
What if I am not happy with the assessor’s decision?
POPLA is a one stage process and there are only two possible outcomes for an appeal brought to our service: either the appeal is allowed or it is refused. We understand that it is disappointing and even frustrating when an appeal results in an outcome that you were not hoping for, however, our role as an impartial appeals service means that quite simply, we must base our decisions upon the factual evidence presented to us. If it is clear that a procedural error has been made during the assessment of your appeal, we might review the case and make changes where we deem necessary.
Can I complain about the service I have received from POPLA?At POPLA we take complaints about our service very seriously. If you think that we have done something wrong please let us know so we have the chance to put things right quickly and effectively. Your complaint will help us learn from our mistakes and improve our service.
Sometimes the outcome of your appeal is not what you want to hear. Your appeal has independently been reviewed by a professional assessor taking into consideration the relevant law, regulatory rules, guidance and standards and the British Parking Association Code of Practice. You cannot challenge the outcome of your appeal with POPLA. Regardless, you should be satisfied with the level of service you have received free of charge from us. If you disagree with the outcome of your appeal, you will need to follow alternative routes.
We can only investigate complaints that involve allegations of poor service or performance, for example where we have:
• treated you rudely;
• failed to keep you updated on progress;
• caused unnecessary delays;
• failed to explain things properly; or
• any other shortfall in service
If you have a complaint about the standard of service that we have provided, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any queries regarding the status of your appeal, or if you feel we have not considered the evidence you have provided, please email email@example.com and we will be in touch soon.
How do I get my verification code from the parking operator?
You need to contest your parking charge notice with the parking operator directly before you can bring your appeal to POPLA. You will be sent a verification code by the operator with the rejection of your representations.
You will need the verification code to appeal online or when sending in your appeal form by post. If you do not supply us with this, we will not be able to consider your appeal.
If the parking operator has not provided you with a verification code, make sure they are a member of the British Parking Association, and request one from the operator.
What happens after I receive my decision?
After POPLA has considered your appeal and issued a decision, it will issue the decision to both you and the parking operator. If your appeal has been allowed, you will not need to do pay the parking charge and the parking operator will not be able to pursue you for it. If your appeal has been refused, the parking operator may pursue payment.
POPLA’s decision is final, and it’s involvement in the appeal will cease once it has issued its decision. This does not prevent you from pursuing your issue through other channels, such as the courts.
What is the quickest and simplest way to submit my parking appeal and evidence?
Our preferred method is online using this website as this enables us to start processing your appeal straight away. It also reduces the risk of documents getting lost in the post.
Which browsers does the POPLA website support?
The POPLA website has been designed to work with most modern web browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and other browsers. We are aware of some issues with older web browsers such as Microsoft IE9. If you experience difficulty with this website please check which browser you are using and use a different one if you can. Alternatively if you still need help with you appeal click here.
Can I appeal to POPLA if I have received a Parking Charge Notice for alleged improper parking in Scotland or Northern Ireland?
POPLA can only deal with appeals against Parking Charge Notices for alleged improper parking in England and Wales. We are unable to consider appeals against Parking Charge Notices for alleged improper parking in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
How is POPLA funded?
POPLA is not funded by the individual operators. Instead, we charge the BPA for all cases we handle. This is a set fee regardless of the outcome and as such, appeal outcomes are not driven by commerciality.