PCNs Explained (Penalty Charge Notices)

If you obtain a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) or motoring offence during your time in one of our hire vehicles, the following will happen:

  1. The official body (Local Authority, e.g Transport for London) for the offence will trace the registration of the vehicle to Drivalia.
  2. Our dedicated PCN team will identify who was in possession of the vehicle at the time of the offence and pass your details (Name, Address, Telephone number, Driving licence, etc) to the relevant authority.
  3. An email will be sent out to the address we have on file notifying you that we have passed on your details to the issuing body with a copy of the ticket as proof.
  4. Issue the cost of the admin fee of £55/€75 to the payment card on file and charge for the fine if applicable (toll fees, bus lane tickets, etc.)
  5. The admin fee will cover the time and work this takes plus the amount Drivalia are charged by the leasing company (who supply our vehicles).

The best way to avoid getting a PCN or offence during your hire is by driving carefully and safely, taking in all road signs and parking notices, and obeying British driving laws.


Our most common PCNs are for the following:

1. Dartford Crossing Charge

Drivers are required to go online or phone up to pay the toll. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology is used to monitor crossings.

The current rates for the Dart Charge are:

  • Cars (including trailers), motorhomes, passenger vans, and buses with fewer than nine seats: £2.50 per crossing.
  • Goods vehicles with two axles (including vans and small truck): £3 per crossing.
  • Larger multi-axled goods vehicles: £6 per crossing.

The charges for single journeys can be paid up to 12 months in advance or by midnight the day after you cross. The fees only apply between 6 am and 10 pm – if you cross overnight, you don’t have to pay. Do note, however, unlike London’s Congestion Charge, the Dart Charge applies seven days a week, including Christmas Day and other bank holidays.

If you fail to pay for your travel by midnight the day after you cross, then Drivalia will receive the fine and apply to the issuer to transfer liability to the hirer of the vehicle at the time.

We will also charge the hirer an admin fee of £55 per violation.


2. Congestion Zone Charge

The Congestion Charge is a £15 daily charge if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone from 07:00-22:00, every day, except for Christmas Day (25 December). The easiest way to pay is by setting up Auto Pay. Exemptions and discounts are available too.

Traffic signs and road markings make it clear when you are approaching, entering, and leaving the charging zone. Examples can be found at tfl.gov.uk. The best way to pay for using the congestion zone is online but if you have failed to do this then Drivalia (having received the penalty) will charge your card for the cost of £80 plus the £55 admin fee.

ULEZ CHARGES: New rules and prices on the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into effect 8th April 2019 Luckily all of Drivalias cars and vans are newer than the cut-off date so you don’t need to worry about receiving a charge for the ULEZ. If you are unsure you can check your REG at tfl.gov.uk


3. M50 Toll Fee

If travelling in Ireland, the M50 toll road is a section of the M50 motorway. Instead of a conventional barrier toll plaza, drivers pass beneath overhead cameras, which use advanced vehicle recognition technology to record number plates. This system is operated by eFlow.

If you use this section of the motorway and have not gone online, called up, or visited a local payment point to pay for your crossing before 8 pm the day after use then the fine will come to Drivalia. For our customers’ convenience, we have an account with eFlow which means that if a crossing isn’t paid for, Drivalia will charge only one admin fee of €10 plus €3.10 each time you use the crossing. You can visit here for more detailed information.

The current rates for the M50 toll are:

  • Motor car or public service vehicle with seating for up to 8 passengers: €3.10 per crossing.
  • Goods vehicle with an unladen vehicle weight not exceeding 2,000kg: €4.00 per crossing.
  • Bus or coach with seating for more than eight passengers: €4.00 per crossing.

4. Parking Eye

During your hire, you may need to use a private car park that requires you to Pay and Display. Parking Eye is one of the largest companies that run these car parks and if you use one without paying, a fine will be due.

Using ANPR cameras at the entrances and exits, Parking Eye issues fines on the basis of a contract with the motorist, which is set out via the signage at the site. If, for example, you are staying at a hotel and fail to register your number plate at the front desk, they have the right to charge you for using their car park overnight without paid permission.

Always CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION! Many fines can be avoided by motorists simply by making sure the numbers and letters are correctly given to the hotel. Capital ‘o’ or a zero? The number ‘1’ or an ‘i’? Be 100% sure when leaving your hire car’s registration plate number anywhere.

Many people are under the misconception that an FPN (issued by a privately owned car park) is different to a PCN (issued by the government) and believe they can simply not pay for a parking ticket.

This is incorrect, and although Drivalia will only take the cost of the admin fee, it remains your responsibility to pay the FPN we pass to you. The same applies to PCNs such as exceeding the speed limit, entering a bus lane, stopping on a red route, etc.


5. Merseyflow Toll

The Mersey Gateway Bridge is now operational (previously known as the Runcorn-Widnes Bridge). The bridge opened as a new six-lane toll bridge over the Mersey between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes.

Both the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled at £2.00 per journey, but if you will be regularly using the bridge then you can purchase a monthly pass by successfully registering with Merseyflow.

You have to go online to pay for your toll and there are signs along the bridge notifying you of how, where and when. If you have failed to pay for your crossing by the following day, then Drivalia will receive the fine and apply to the issuer to transfer liability to the hirer of the vehicle at the time.

We will also charge the hirer an admin fee of £55 per violation.


PCN FAQs

What if it wasn’t me driving at the time?
If you believe a PCN has been issued in error to your account, then we urge you to contact our PCN team as soon as possible by emailing pcnhelpdesk@drivalia.com

I already paid for this charge, why am I being fined again?
If you have already paid for the PCN that has been issued to your account, then we urge you to contact our PCN team as soon as possible by emailing pcnhelpdesk@drivalia.com with a copy of your payment receipts. We will aim to get this resolved as quickly as possible once proof has been received.

I want to dispute my PCN?
If you think you have a good case for appealing your ticket, then you can find all the details on your ticket of how to go about this. The best practice is to visit the website of the issuing body (i.e tfl.gov.uk or eflow.ie) where you will find detailed instructions on writing, calling, or emailing your dispute. Drivalia cannot assist with appealing a ticket for you.

How do I claim a refund on a PCN?
To request a refund of the administration fee we will need confirmation of cancellation from the issuing body stating the PCN number, vehicle registration and the reason for the cancellation. In the event that we have already paid the PCN(s), we will need a refund of the penalty charge amount before we can issue a refund to the customer.

Our policy on PCN refunds is:

  • If the PCN is cancelled because it was issued in error, we will refund the full amount of the charge(s) and partially refund the admin fee.
  • If the PCN is cancelled in good faith but the contravention was done by the hirer, we will refund half of the admin fee and the fine amount (if we have already paid it).
  • If the PCN is cancelled because the issuer cannot issue to you (for example if you live abroad) we will not refund the admin fee.

What will happen if I don’t pay my PCN?
If you do not make payment before the allotted time given on your penalty charge notice then Drivalia will pass your information and debt amount to a collections agency who may agree on a pre-payment plan depending on your financial situation and assets value.


PCN Glossary of Terms

  • FPN – Fixed Penalty Notice
  • PCN – Penalty Charge Notice
  • ECN – Excess Charge Notice
  • SCN – Standard Charge Notice
  • NTO – Notice to Owner
  • PATAS – Parking and Traffic Appeals Service
  • POPLA – Parking on Private Lands Appeals

This page was last updated in October, 2022. The prices listed are valid as of this date and are subject to change.