Zipcar car in a London street
June 28, 2023

Parking and traffic violation FAQs

We know that receiving a parking or traffic violation notice can be frustrating, which is why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to avoid getting one, and if you do, pay it quickly.

We do not issue these fines, which means sometimes members have questions – hopefully, our FAQs should make things a little bit easier.


My violation was issued a long time ago. Why didn’t I find out sooner?

We notify the relevant member as soon as we’re made aware of any alleged violation, but we can be late finding out ourselves. This is because local authorities issue parking fines, and we often won’t know anything about a parking violation until we receive a ‘Notice to Owner’ which, regrettably, will frequently arrive after the initial 14-day reduced penalty period has already passed.


Have I lost my right of appeal or the option to pay the fine at a reduced rate?

The short answer is, it depends.

In some cases, you can request that the issuing authority agrees to a Liability Transfer, which means that the time period to appeal (pay the fine at a lower rate) will be effectively reset.  This is more likely to be granted for traffic violations than parking infringements. You will be informed if this is an option by email. 

If you have been informed by email that a Liability Transfer is possible, then the new deadline will be stated in a letter sent directly to you by the issuing authority. If our correspondence indicates this is what will happen next, then please double check that we have the correct billing address registered for you. Note that local authorities can take up to 6 months to reach out directly, and there is no further action to be taken in the meantime.


I didn’t have the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. How can I be held responsible?

We ask all members to leave the vehicle safe at the end of every booking and there is no guarantee of another booking soon afterwards. This means that a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) could well be issued in the hours, or even days, after your booking. 

Frustratingly, sometimes our dedicated car club bays for Roundtrip vehicles are blocked by other road users. Parking close to the bay, or even half in it, sadly isn’t enough to avoid potential fines from parking enforcement officers.  Whenever you have any uncertainty about what parking safely involves, we simply ask members to call 0333 240 9000. The phone line priorities members in active bookings for such moments.


What is the ‘notice to owner’ and how does Liability Transfer work?

The issuing authority will reach out to us with a ‘notice to owner’ - a notification that a violation allegedly occurred in one of our vehicles. However, due to volume and third-party factors, it can be weeks or even months before we are made aware. Rest assured, we then check the member specifics and reach out at that point as quickly as possible. 

Sometimes the local authority will allow for direct communication between themselves and our members. This process is called a Liability Transfer and we will always send an email to confirm when this is possible Please note, that we don’t determine the rules on this - different authorities follow slightly different processes.


Why is it taking so long to get this issue resolved?

Unfortunately, violation issues are notoriously slow moving. Primarily, this is because fines are issued by third parties, and frequently involve three points of communication (issuing authority, Zipcar and the member).  What’s more, there is often a relatively high degree of complexity. It’s hugely important to us that our members get a fair outcome, which means this can take time.


Do Zipcar profit from violation charges?

Not at all. It takes a considerable amount of time and team resources to review all the violations passed to us.  We issue £15 administration fees simply to minimise the losses we face through this process.


Why can’t I talk on the phone to someone about my violation/PCN?

We have a small, dedicated and highly trained team of experts who review all violations/PCNs, so to ensure we’re responding to each member fairly we ask to correspond via email.  We do appreciate that fines are upsetting and frustrating, and want to help in any way we can. However, because these charges are issued by third parties and frequently involve investigation, it is unlikely even a senior member of the team will be able to provide a resolution over the phone.

We also ask for emails to ensure we keep a clear, written record of the issue at hand, and this means we can connect any information shared easily and quickly.  


Who decides if my appeal will be successful?

As local authorities issue violation fines, they also determine whether there are grounds for appeal. That said, our vehicles and our staff have been involved in these processes for many years and we will often know, from experience, when an appeal has any chance of success. We will sometimes advise the member accordingly. 

Rest assured that we want members to be successful in their appeals wherever there are sufficient grounds. As stated, we don’t profit from violations, and we are only too aware that the association of a fine with Zipcar, even when issued by third parties, is also detrimental to us. We want all our members to enjoy convenient, pain-free car-sharing.


When will I hear directly from the local authority and what happens next? 

If we have notified you that the local authority will contact you directly, it may take anything up to six months to hear from them. So it’s really just a case of waiting for the process to re-start. 

After a Liability Transfer, Zipcar ceases to be involved in said penalty. However, if after Liability Transfer, the member fails to take action, the issuing authority may reach out to us again asking for a higher amount to be settled. In this event, the member would be liable for the full cost incurred.


What’s the deal with the Rotherhithe Tunnel?

Please be aware that the Rotherhithe Tunnel only allows vehicles under 2 tonnes, and both our VW Transporter and Ford Transit weigh more than this.  Failure to follow this restriction will result in a PCN.

As such, our VW Transporter and Ford Transit vans should never be taken through the tunnel. You can find out more on this topic on our Help Centre page on this subject here.

We do try to make members aware of this whenever possible, but there are also reminders just before entering the tunnel. Appeals for related infringements will therefore not be successful.


What about Zipcar for Business?

All of the above still applies to Zipcar for Business accounts, but there are a couple of details that you should note:

  • The admin or main account will be charged for the PCN as this is the account that covered the booking 

  • The driver will be notified directly of the PCN, it is then their responsibility to inform the account admin

  • The driver should be the one to dispute or communicate with our team about the violation