Unfair Melbourne City Parking Fine - What Can I Do?

Hi all,

Long story short, 2 months ago I received the fined ticket, $84, for parking without pay inner Melbourne CBD. But I paid it via PayStay app and have record showed that I paid for my parking at 9:22, while the time on the ticket was 9:23, only 1-minute difference.

I disputed and they rejected it today. They stated "Our records show that your parking session was started after the officer began issuing the fine"

Should I just swallow? Worth to go to court? Any payment relating if I take it to court?

Thank you

Edit 1: Well, I don't know why everybody here thinks everything being asked are fishy. Long story as requested then. I always park in that area 3-4 times a week. Always pay via Paystay app. I always park in the middle of the street rather than next to the walking path. That day, after stop and out of the car, I saw an opening in the traffic so I rushed toward the walking path. And then while continue walked toward my destination, I opened the app and placed a payment. I was not look back after crossing the street? So tell me is there anything fishy now?

Edit 2: I went to Virgin Bourke Street 3-4 times a week, morning. I always park near Exhibition x Lonsdale street, middle parking lane. So there is no way I can see the inspector while I am in the middle of my exercise inside the gym. Have records show the history of 2-3 months back.

Edit 3: After some helpful comment below, I looked at the fine and this is the details on it:
- Issue Time: 9:23
- Offence Time: 9:23
- Offence - Parked - Fail to pay a fee and obey instruction sign/meter/tickets. Road Safety Road Rule 2017 - Meter Expired.


  • +16 votes

    Do you want to tell us the rest of the story?

    Sounds like you were probably parked without paying, saw you were getting a ticket and then paid on an app before he/she had finished writing the ticket.

    • +4 votes

      If you genuinely were arranging to pay for parking, you should go to court. If you were being a sneaky bastard as described here, you should suck it up.


        Nah, I actually park there 3-4 times a week, each around 2 hours top and always pay via the app.

        • +22 votes

          If you have a documented history of paying around that spot then that's good evidence to present in a contest.

        • +2 votes

          The way it sounds is the parking payment system the parking inspector has gone into has not updated fast enough.

          If this is the case, definitely take it to court. Show proof of payment on previous occasions within the same parking zone to reinforce that you aren't a fly-by-night parking freeloader to make your case absolutely airtight. The prosecutor will almost certainly withdraw before it goes before the judge. They'd be stupid not to.

          If it does go to court I'd be astounded if a magistrate finds against you, notwithstanding anything which clearly shows you trying to flout the law (e.g. photographic evidence of your car standing in the spot for 30 minutes before payment).

          • +1 vote

            @mubd1234: I have at least 10 parking history at the same parking spot, around the same time in my app. It becomes my habit of parking at that spot whenever I go to the city in the morning.

          • +2 votes

            @mubd1234: I think it's more that when you pay for parking, you first park, then it takes a bit of time to either get a ticket from the booth and return, or pay by app while walking to destination. In either case, it sounds like the parking inspector did not even provide an opportunity for OP to pay for parking before starting a ticket, and as you'll notice with most inspectors, it takes a decent amount of time for their fat fingers to fumble around the keypad and type in the details such as license plate and location.

    • +14 votes

      I actually believe him. Same thing happened to me last year. Without any disrespect to few good ones, most of these $%#&ing ticket inspectors are always hiding around the corner because they know people who pay using apps usually pay after getting out of the car.

      I did the same thing. I got out of the car, started walking and paid for parking using the app. Got back 20 mins later and had a fine.

      Luckily I had a Dashcam footage of the time I parked. The fine was literally for next minute. Even if I wasn't paying using the app, it would've still taken me couple of minutes to walk to the Machine, put in my coins and print out a ticket.

      I emailed them my Dashcam footage along with my Google Maps timeline review to show them the time stamps. You know what those bastards did? Instead of admitting their scam, they replied "We will waive this fine for you, but for next time, Parking ticket should be showing on your dashboard before you leave your car. It is your responsibility."

      I would've taken them to court, had they not waived my fine.

      How #$%&ing stupid do you have to be to say that. How can you have the ticket on your dashboard BEFORE you have parked your car and walked to the machine to print your ticket?

      I am looking at you Kingston City Council!

      • +11 votes

        This is becoming a common tactic for Government, similar to RoboDebt.

        They waive individuals who put up a fight to make sure the whole system isn't tested in court and they don't even admit they were wrong in those particular instances.

  • +13 votes

    If any proof of payment shows 9.22, and the infringement itself shows 9.23, it should be withdrawn as an invalid fine if that infringement were to become void with your payment.

    But something tells me you're not disclosing the full story…


      Full story updated above. thanks

    • +2 votes

      Yeah, even though the story does sound a little 'dodgy', he did in fact have valid parking at the time the ticket was issued so the fine is invalid.


    tell us what happened?


    I'd fight it - but I'm that sort of person.

  • +5 votes

    Long story short

    Please enlighten ozb with long story…I m free…


    Story sounds fishy.

    Where were you when you made the payment?


      Possibly next to the officer…. ;P

    • +1 vote

      Across the street and walking toward while placing a payment on app. I parked in middle of the street and found a gap between traffic so I rush to cross. And then open an app, paid and don't look back after that

        • +11 votes

          Are you nut? Why victim blaming? I asked because I dont know what to do. If you don't have an answer, walk away, keyboard warrior.

          • -4 votes

            @gozyla86: You already know the answer, so why are you posting?

            The back of the fine gives you the option to take it to court. So if you feel aggrieved, then elect to have the matter heard in court.

            Everyone here thinks it's fishy because the payment was made conveniently after the fine had been issued (which takes longer than 10 seconds to generate).

              • +4 votes

                @gozyla86: Unfortunately, a great deal of the community here on ozb engages in this kind of sleuthing to prove that what you are doing is sketchy. I think it's because a lot of people post for advice and then it comes out later through their story that they have done something wrong.

                In this case though, there's simply no way you could park, leave your car, see the parking inspector, open the app and pay exactly one minute later, after the fine was given. It would take longer than a minute to open the app, enter your parking number, and pay for parking (and have your payment processed).

                Sorry people aren't giving you the benefit of the doubt


              @Davo1111: IDK about you, but reading the story says that the parking was paid for 1 minute BEFORE the fine was issued.

  • -1 vote

    "Our records show that your parking session was started after the officer began issuing the fine"- aka you saw the officer writing you a ticket so you hopped on the app to try to pay it right when they were fining you .

    How long was the car parked before you went on the app ?


    If you can’t swallow, then try your luck in court.


    Your post doesn't have the critical information.

    When did the officer issue the fine? Some time before 9.22/9.23?

    Were you parked there for some time, then spotted the parking officer, and quickly tried to pay to avoid the fine?

  • +12 votes

    I’m more curious about why you are driving to a gym in the cbd?

    • +1 vote

      Virgin Active is a really posh gym and is only in CBD + Paying for expensive parking. OP probably makes a good living to afford that but still should fight for the unfair ticket :P

  • +3 votes

    Why not use the app while sitting in your car immediately after parking?

    • +1 vote

      Lesson learned. Though I can do it while walking

    • +2 votes

      Often the 8 digit area ID (required for app payment) is not visible from sitting in the car and you have to walk over to the sign. The app has location detection but it sometimes gets it wrong (which also means a fine if you pay for the wrong area).


    Ok, so do you have any evidence to disprove their statement that your parking session started after they had started writing the ticket?

    Otherwise, I don't really see any argument.

  • +4 votes

    OP has history regarding tight pickles.

    Exhibit A: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/466831

  • +19 votes

    Should I just swallow?

    (˵ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°˵)

  • +1 vote

    ask them for the record to show that they are correct or else go to court if you truly think you are correct

  • +6 votes

    The parking spots in melbourne CBD have smart tracking. They will have records of when you enter and exit the parking bay. You may be able to request for this.

  • +1 vote

    Pay your dues, son.

  • +5 votes

    "Our records show that your parking session was started after the officer began issuing the fine"

    Ask them for a copy of those records.


    Your story does not state that you have evidence of a payment time at 9:22
    Do you have evidence? Payment receipt from the app? Screenshot?
    If you have this you have a good chance to fight it again via council letter.

    Apparently as you mention, the council has evidence of a start time at 9:23

    1 min is a very close difference that would be worth fighting, if you genuinely did pay at 9.22

    However if you clearly walked away from your car or sign post before paying you have less chance to argue. Although this cannot be proven from either ends.

    The point about you parking there 3-4 times a week is totally irrelevant.
    Each parking event is a different circumstance.
    You cannot say I park here every day and always pay..that means nothing.
    The current issue is one single event and you need to deal with this event solely as it is.

    When you point out that you walked into the path and then made the payment, that is actually putting yourself in a bad situation. You need to pay as soon as you leave the car and can read the street sign. Not while walking to another destination.

    The points about you going to gym and cannot see inspector is irrelevant. Same with you parking here 4 months back. This has no relevance to the single issue.

    I just spent 3 mins writing this. I also have no relevance.


    I feel for you Op.

    I almost got a fine for doing my best to do the right thing at a parking spot. Nearest paystation was 25m away, and when I went with my credit card the touch buttons were so fault/non responsive, I went back to car to grab coins and parking inspector was there at my car already. Lucky for me, a quick explanation and she completely understood ( apparently everyone complains about how pathetic the paystation is but they never fix it) and she let me get the coins and pay.

    Anyway long story short, if you do park there regularly and pay, you have the evidence for it, take it to court. Parking inspectors literally prey to meet ticket targets (not suggesting it happened here, but might of). It’s unethical if you ask me.

    • +5 votes

      Thank you. At least some decent advice and understanding here. I send them the receipt proving that I paid at 9:22 they still not accept despite the ticket was 1 min behind.

  • +12 votes

    If you decide to pay the fine, do a CC charge back on your parking ticket… “services were not provided”! If the council then disputes this, show them the fine ;)

  • -2 votes

    No excuse really, you hadn’t paid to park. Suck it up and pay the fine. If you had a physical ticket and could show proof to the parking officer or that you were trying to pay online then it would be a different story. The car was unattended without a valid ticket, physical or digital.

  • +1 vote

    All these people saying "take it to court" and I'm here thinking "my time is worth WAY more to me than an $84 fine". Sure, the principal of it is just - but pick your battles IMO.

    • +1 vote

      All these people amounts to 2?

      • "I'd fight it - but I'm that sort of person."
      • "If you can’t swallow, then try your luck in court."

      They sound confident.

    • +1 vote

      You are 100% correct, unfortunately, and the various infringement issuing authorities know it too.

      The number of things you can be fined for, and the value of those fines, in this country is getting ridiculous. These "enforcement officers" roam the streets looking to sting people, often for minor infractions like being a few minutes late back to a four hour parking space. Then you get whacked with the best part of $100 because something happened to run a bit over.

      Of course, as you say, as draconian as these penalties are they are carefully calibrated such that for the overwhelming majority of people the more efficient path is just to cough up rather than waste a day (and a day's income) to get their $84 back. It doesn't help that the system is entirely against those that have been fined given the "strict liability" that is applied in any hearing.

  • +5 votes

    fact check..
    if you did pay the ticket at 9:22, fight against the council, a win is guaranteed.

  • +7 votes

    If your payment timestamp in the app is earlier than the timestamp on the fine as you say, it's easy to challenge this in court and win.

  • +2 votes

    Same thing happened to me with Melbourne City Council (MCC) on Little Collins last year. Paid for parking at the machine, input the correct bay number and came back within the hour parking to find a ticket on my windscreen.
    I took a photo of the meter displaying the time (to prove that my parking session was still active), a picture of my car within the specified bay, the ticket identifying the time it was issued and the current time (still within the booking session). I sent this all to Melbourne City Council via email.
    MCC came back to me a couple of days later and asked for the last 4 digits of the card that I'd used for the parking as their system doesn't have any idea of who parked where, and paid when. This was despite all the evidence I'd provided previously.
    MCC came back again and said they were able to match my card to a parking session and my ticket was revoked.

    So, never pay for parking in the Melbourne CBD with cash, as there's no way to prove you actually paid it - it's basically your word against the parking inspector.

  • +2 votes

    The vital part of the story that's missing is what time did you actually park the car and get out of it?

    You're making it clear that you paid for the spot on your phone after you walked away from the car, and the ticket was issued one minute before you paid. Which is your self issued saving grace.

    But if you parked the car 5 minutes before, 10 minutes before paying for the spot. Then the story is different and probably why they are not revoking the fine.

  • +1 vote

    Wait, you crossed the road and paid via app at 9:22?

    So must have actually parked at 9:20 or 9:21 - yet the guy was already at your car issuing a ticket by 9:23?

    Something doesn't add up.

    • +5 votes

      Yes that's pretty much how predatory parking inspectors work.

      • -2 votes

        That doesn't sound predatory to me. when you park you are required to pay before leaving. whether it was 2 minutes or 2 hours later is irrelevant once you have left without paying.

        • +2 votes

          Not even going to the pay station if you dont have the apps? Or even with the apps but you dont know the code for it, are you expected to stay in your car instead and not move out so that you can… you know pay the actual parking??

          • -2 votes

            @pxrnm: the pay station is not leaving. you are allowed a few mins grace, my bet is we aren't hearing the full accurate story here. What does the time of infringement say (this is usually different to the time of ticket by a few mins at least).

        • -1 vote

          It doesn’t sound like drivers are able to pay while in their vehicle.


          Parking inspectors are required to provide 5 minutes grace to allow people purchasing ticket.

          This is mandatory.

          Source: Asked a Council Traffic Infringement Officer.


        People doing their job.

        • -1 vote

          You mean people filling up their fixed quota.



          • +1 vote

            @burningrage: I’m not saying parking inspections aren’t predatory in nature, but agreeing to park is agreeing to pay and abide by council rules. It’s like blaming a collections agency for not paying your credit card.


              @Anon1010: I am not saying the OP is NOT paying and abide by council rules. He has a black and white evidence that he paid for parking before he was booked and yet the council was being pigheaded ignoring the cold and hard evidence.

              So as far as the evidence suggests, the council is an arsehole and predatory.

              • +1 vote

                @burningrage: True, but the inspector would have had to be at the car prior to that - entering and checking info. Obviously if you aren’t at your vechile when you pay, it’s hard to verify that you’ve paid for the correct time. OP stated they walked across the road, if you know that the parking inspectors are predatory avoid putting yourself in that situation.

                Unfortunately, the incidents of ticketing is getting worse, especially with metro construction workers taking loafing zones. Have many friends who are trades and just cop the fines for overstaying, having to double park or use car share zones because there is nowhere to stop or park. There are definitely bigger issues.

  • +6 votes

    If it is as you claim, fight it.

    If the parking fine says 9:23, but your paid parking says it started at 9:22, then it is an invalid fine.

    Nothing else even factors into that. You could have witnessed the inspector writing the ticket and hurriedly paid, it doesn't actually matter. At the time of the ticket being processed, your parking was paid for and valid.

    Edit: I doubt they would contest that. But according to your timeline, you could have taken 1 minute to go from car to parking meter and still have gotten a fine from the predatory parking inspector and they would have claimed you still owed a fine, which is clearly wrong. You also have a history of paid parking in the app, which you could put forward as evidence that you had intent to pay for your parking in the first place.

  • +3 votes

    On the City of Melbourne Infringement Notice I have in front of me right now, there are two listed times:

    1. Notice Issued. This is the time that the officer recorded and printed out the notice.
    2. Offence Time. This is the time that it is alleged that I was infringing.

    In my case, the issue time was 12:19 pm, and the offence time was 11:36 am. I had parked in a two hour zone at 9:30 am (plus/minus 2 minutes), so I was definitely over by the offence time. In fact, the Council in-ground vehicle tracking appears to have got it exactly correct, and even given me 5 minutes 'grace period', before advising the infringement officer, who then turned up at my car at 12:19, and issued the ticket. Note that he probably could have used that arrival time as the offence time, but it makes no difference being six minutes or sixty minutes over.

    I have spoken, both on the phone regarding a PayStay issue (credit not going through immediately), as well as to parking officers. Both advised me there is a five minute leeway to deal with such situations: eg, getting out of car to go to machine, or to view the sign, or if there are issues with payStay app.

    OP, what are the times on your notice?

    If things are exactly as you state, then I would suggest writing it all out clearly, including screenshots, etc, and requesting a review by City of Melbourne. Tell them that if your review is unsuccessful you will definitely be contesting it in court. You will have opportunity to pull out of court appearance should you desire. But if what you describe is 100% correct, I expect they will accede.

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