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Can French authorities send parking fine without a windscreen note?

We look at whether parking charge notices can be sent directly to a car owner’s home in France

We ask whether French authorities must place a parking charge notice on your windscreen or whether they can send them directly to your house Pic: tommaso79 / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Can I be issued with a parking charge notice when I never had a contravention notice on my windscreen? 

It is legal for local authorities or companies to send you a forfait post-stationnement (FPS or parking charge notice) without first informing you with a statement pinned to your windscreen - but it is possible to appeal any increased fees due to supposed late payment if this happens.

An FPS can be used in place of an ordinary procès verbal paper fine in the case of cars which are parked without paying (in paid-for parking areas) or which have exceeded their parking time limit, and communes can decide the amount to be charged. 

In an increasingly digital world, it has become common for local authorities to send a notice  directly through the post rather than going car to car and leaving individual notes. 

This procedure makes it less likely that the driver will be able to appeal the notice on the grounds that the windscreen note was removed or flew away, for example, before they returned to their car.

Sending notices directly in the post is legal and you should pay the charge unless you have reason to appeal.

However, if you receive a charge letter which has been increased because you have supposedly ignored a notice on your windscreen and failed to pay the original fee within 45 days, but you never found a letter on your windscreen, you also have grounds for appeal.

You have a month in which to contest the increased charge through the Agence nationale de traitement automatisé des infractions (ANTAI). The appeal form can be found here

You can also appeal to the Commission du contentieux du stationnement payant in the month after you receive the increased charge, to ask for the additional fee to be cancelled.

In this case, the local authority or parking company will have to prove that it did indeed put the notice on your windscreen, through a photo showing the car’s registration number with a timestamp.

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