The parking tickets Aussies can 'ignore' and not pay: 'Throw it in the bin'

A law expert says the 'bullying tactic' is designed to scare people into paying.

A Western Australian driver has shared his advice on what to do with a penalty notice issued by a private parking company — "throw it in the bin".

Connor Wright recently walked back to his car to find a ticket stuck to the windscreen from Parking Enforcement Services (PES), a division of Wilson Parking.

In a now viral video, he then proceeds to rip it up, telling others to "make sure to read the fine print on these bad boys".

"If you read at the back, it says important information: 'This is not a parking fine'," he said in his TikTok from last month. "Useless, throw it in the bin, don't pay that sh*t."

A photo of a Parking Enforcement Services (PES) ticket placed on Connor Wright's car in WA. A photo of Connor with the ticket.
Western Australian Connor Wright has explained why he threw his Wilson Parking penalty notice in the bin. Source: TikTok

What is this ticket?

When driving into a private car park like in a shopping centre, the driver is entering into a contract with the private entity, meaning they have to follow their terms and conditions. Going against the contract, such as parking in areas not reserved for customers or going over the time limit, may result in what's called a 'breach notice,' starting at a $65 penalty from Wilson.

"What they try and do is recover the debt for the loss incurred, effectively like a breach of contract," James Clements from Sydney Criminal Lawyers told Yahoo News Australia." But they're not fines — only a statutory body has the power to issue a fine."

Certain car parks may also include towing in their terms and conditions if a driver does not comply with their rules.

How do private parking companies enforce the penalty?

Mr Clements called the penalty a "bullying tactic" to "effectively try scaring people into paying them," however he says it's "difficult to enforce" due to "crackdowns" by the government.

In recent years, several states have adopted a measure that stops private parking companies from being able to access driver information for the purpose of private car park fees.

"They have to be able to prove that you were the driver at the time, which can be difficult, as just because your car went there doesn't mean that you're the driver," he said.

"RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) used to give them details of who a car was registered to but they're not allowed to do that anymore, according to Section 279 of the NSW Road Transport Act," he said.

"They also have to prove that they incurred a loss." Parking fines from bodies like councils, some universities and hospitals should be paid.

What should you do if you receive the breach notice?

Many in the comments of the viral video said they "wish [they] knew this earlier" and were wondering what they should do if they receive a ticket.

"Ignore it," Mr Clements said. "Or write back and say, 'I dispute this and do not intend to pay'."

"What you don't want to do is write to them and say that you disclose you were the driver."

To avoid this situation and possibly being taken to court, drivers are encouraged to read signs and know the terms and conditions when entering a private car park.

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