Average private parking ticket hits £83
The average private parking fine has reached £83, with some motorists struck by charges of up to £300.
The figures for the January and March period are based on complaints made to Citizens Advice about parking penalties - a time in which the number of complaints about the issue rose by a quarter compared to the previous year.
In the last 12 months, private car park operators have requested the details of drivers they believe have broken their rules more than 3 million times, up from 2.4 million a year earlier, the DVLA has reported.
Citizens Advice has warned that the number of complaints it has received could mean private parking operators are handing out "unreasonable penalties".
Its recent research recorded instances of drivers being given tickets when signs were hidden and ticket machines were broken. In some cases, drivers had been fined having not used the car park.
The charity is also concerned that "the knock-on effect of an unexpected parking charge can push people into debt.
It said that its network of support centres have witnessed a 39% uptick in consumer debt cases related to unpaid parking penalty and congestion charges over the past year.
"The charity wants to see greater clarity about parking tickets, including "a clear definition of the minimum length of the 'reasonable' grace period parking firms must give drivers between stopping and parking and at the end of the permitted parking period".
Lack of clarity
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Drivers are paying the penalty for a lack of clarity on parking. More and more people are turning to Citizens Advice for help with parking tickets.
"While drivers have to obey the rules on parking, firms need to make sure parking restrictions are clear, and people are treated fairly where, for example, ticket machines aren't working."
The Supreme Court will shortly hear a legal challenge to private parking charges brought after a driver complained an £85 fine was too high. All similar appeals to private parking appeals bodies are on hold until a decision has been reached.
In the meantime, if you believe a ticket you have received for parking on private land is unfair, read our brand new article in parking fines before you decide whether to pay up.