Private car parks

Private car park operators can send you payment notices when you don’t follow the terms and conditions displayed at the entrance of the car park.

Read our answers to frequently asked questions about what to do if you receive a payment notice.

What is a payment notice? Is it a fine?

Private car park operators do not issue parking fines. Parking fines or infringements are issued by a Government body. Private car park operators issue payment notices to consumers who use their car parks and do not follow the terms and conditions.

How can private car park operators ‘fine’ consumers?

Private car parks operate in a range of locations including shopping centres, retail outlets and food stores. Private car park operators can issue payment notices for ‘breach of contract’. Private car parks don’t always have a boom gate operating; which means you must find the ticket machine, purchase a ticket and place it

Are the payment notices legal?

Private car park operators can only issue a payment notice when you breach the contract of the car park. They can take the matter to court and will have to show evidence to back their claim.

What are my options?

First,  should contact the private car park operator.. Some car park operators will only receive complaints in writing. If your matter remains unresolved you can <lodge a written complaint> with NSW Fair Trading. We’ll assist you with disputes regarding payment notices. You can also lodge an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, or you have the option of hiring independent legal advice.

Do I have to pay the payment notice or deal with the intention to sue?

Fair Trading cannot advise consumers either to pay or not to pay a payment notice or how to respond to the notice of intention to sue. You should consider getting legal advice immediately.

I have received a letter from Australian Recoveries and Collections – what do I do now?

If you wish to dispute the payment notice, we can help. If you receive a debt collection letter you should contact us immediately on 13 32 20. You should be aware that private car park operators can still take legal proceedings. You also have the option to lodge an application directly to the NCAT, which if lodged first, can prevent it from being heard before any civil court.

What happens if I don’t pay it?

The private car park operators might decide to hire debt collection, consult with a lawyer and/ or legal proceedings. These steps may be additional costs to the consumer.

Roads and Maritime Services have sent my personal details to a car park company. I forwarded a letter to the car park company about this but have not received a response – what can I do?

Private car park operators have told us they are contacting all consumers by letter. This letter will outline the location of the car park, the date and time the consumer parked in the car park and why they have received the alleged payment notice. The notice will also detail the registration of the vehicle concerned and the payment notice number. Once you receive the letter, you should consider the information provided before disputing a payment notice.

I have concerns about a court case

Fair Trading cannot provide legal assistance and cannot advise on any court proceedings involving RMS. The court case number is provided to consumers by letter and they can use this information to get any details they like.

I have concerns about my privacy

If you have concerns about your privacy, you should contact The Office of the Privacy Commissioner NSW (Privacy NSW):

Phone: 02 8019 1600
Fax: 02 8114 3755
Mail: GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001

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