Cape Town – 131021 – Motor vehicles around the city with expired registration are fined in an effort to clamp down on motorists operating illegally. Photographer: Armand Hough

London - For many drivers hit with parking fines, the complicated appeals process can seem daunting.

But an 18-year-old IT student has come up with a way to challenge fines that’s just the ticket. Joshua Browder has saved thousands of drivers a total of more £2 million (R45 million) with his website that will generate a parking charge appeal for you.

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Since DoNotPay.co.uk was set up in August, the site has been used by 86 000 people - and almost 40 per cent of them said it led to their fines being refunded.

Based on an average £60 (R1370) parking penalty, that would mean that more than £2 million has been clawed back from local authorities for fines that should not have been handed out to drivers in the first place.

Browder, from North London, said: “I’m shocked that the site has had such a large impact.

“When I started Do Not Pay, I thought that it would help a small handful of family and friends. I could never have imagined that it would help reclaim millions in parking fines.

“But I‘m disappointed that the councils are targeting the most vulnerable in our society. The elderly and the disabled are disproportionately receiving unfair tickets. The council has a responsibility to protect these groups rather than target them and it is rewarding to do something to work towards that.’

IT’S FREE

The website, which Browder says takes about a minute to generate an appeal, asks drivers to choose one of 12 defences for their ticket.

The most popular reasons for appeals are that the parking bay was too small and that the area was not properly signposted. Others include filling in incorrect details on a permit and information missing from the council’s fine notice.

Drivers then fill in their personal details and the site generates a letter to send to the council. It’s free to use and Browder makes no money from the site.

Browder, who is studying computer science and economics at Stanford University, California, taught himself computer coding when he was 12. He came up with the idea for the website after receiving about 30 parking tickets himself - many of which he successfully appealed - around Camden, North London. All the site’s appeals were against council fines, but Browder hopes to cover private car parks too.

Speaking when the website was launched, he said: “I was given parking tickets for trivial reasons, and I came to realise that councils issue tickets first and ask questions later.

“Unfortunately, many recipients of these tickets don’t have the time, legal knowledge or energy to appeal.”

HIS 12 REASONS TO APPEAL

Traffic cop entered the wrong data on ticket

Parking bay too small

Car was stolen before the ticket

Travelling to hospital urgently at the time

Bought the car after the offence

Sold the car before offence

The vehicle has diplomatic immunity

Paid for the incorrect vehicle

Missing details on the council’s ticket

Incorrect details on the council’s ticket

Vehicle being leased

Signage problems

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