Unpaid Parking Ticket? Expect A Knock On The Door!

Thu 12th Sep 2019

Debt charities in the UK are warning that councils and local authorities are increasingly turning to debt collection agencies and bailiffs to collect unpaid parking fines.

Research from the Money Advice Trust reveals that unpaid PCN cases are the second most common debt, behind council tax arrears, where bailiffs are used. The charity’s study is calling on the government to independently regulate the use of bailiffs in the face of an increase in complaints about the use of the debt collection practice.

The 2018/19 period saw a 21 per cent increase in bailiffs being used compared to two years earlier, with almost £1.1million of unpaid PCN cases passed on from local councils.

Despite councils claiming that they are doing their duty to residents by collecting the money, the charities are warning that local authorities are more likely to see PCNs as an additional revenue stream.

“Reforming the law around bailiff action itself is vital if we are to protect people from harm - and we are today renewing our call for the government to introduce independent bailiff regulation and a single complaints mechanism,” said Money Advice Trust’s Joanna Elson OBE.

“Of equal importance, however, is reducing the number of debts that are being passed to bailiffs in the first place. 

“While we have seen a modest improvement in debt collection practices - and more councils reducing their use of bailiffs to collect council tax arrears - the pace of change is too slow.

“Bailiff action should only ever be used as a last resort, and can be avoided by early intervention, making sure residents get the free debt advice they need, and agreeing repayment arrangements that are affordable and sustainable.”