Currently reading: Clamping complaints soar
Inadequate signage one of main causes for complaint

The number of complaints about private car clamping firms has soared by more than 50 per cent in the last three years.

Inadequate signage, unfair additional charges and a lack of an appeal process were the main reasons for complaint.

The number of clamping related issues tackled by the Citizens Advice bureau rose from 8,514 to 12,910 between April 2006 to March 2009. Evidence suggested that the penalties were disproportionate to the problems caused by parking, said the organisation.

One example of bad behavior was an elderly lady in Gloucestershire whose car was clamped before she left the car park.

"There is a serious imbalance of power between car owners and private parking companies," said David Harker, the Citizens Advice chief executive.

"The objective of those who demand payment seems to be to make money, not to ensure fair parking. Furthermore, there is currently no right for consumers to appeal fines or seek redress."

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Stephen Guckel 17 November 2009

Re: Clamping complaints soar

EGTFisher wrote:

The whole experience made me feel very angry and frustrated that these companies do as they wish without any restriction.

They do have limits, like everyone.

But definitions and other symantic abuses often cloud our rights on such incidents. It's sometimes better to reclaim your money from these people in other 'legal' ways.

In 1991 when clamping in it's infancy it was much worse. Whilst I was sat in my RAF Police unmarked car, I watched a 'clamper' dent the lower wing of a Ford Fiesta, whilst fitting one of these abominal devices. On the return of the driver, he claimed it was already damaged. He hadn't noticed me sat there watching. So I intervened.

He rang for back up, stating that the owner 'would not pay up'. In the meantime, he admitted announced it was only an accident, but they shouldn't have been parked on that spot. So is unaccountable.

"But it's still Criminal Damage, 'whether deliberate or accidental'." I, sort of, quoted form the Criminal Damage Act.

"You a copper?" he asked me.

"No, I'm a chauffeur." I lied giving him my 'Chauffeur to the Nobs and Gentry' business card. He gave it back, looking unimpressed. Then his 'supervisor' turned up with a dog in the car.

"Pay up or get towed!" he simply barked in genuine 'Mockney' at the poor offender.

"I will when you pay for the repair of my car." he said weakly.

"It was damaged already." the lamper interjected.

"You've already admitted you've done it. " I replied. "You said it was an accident."

"Who the f**k are you?" he Mocknied at me.

"I'm a f**king witness." I replied.

"You a f**king copper?" he asked.

"No, he's only a f**king chauffeur!" the clamper spewed forth.

" 'Only'?" I asked.

Anyway after a few more 'f**king f**ks', mockney 'Leave it 'arts' and copious amounts of 'innits', it was agreed that the fine would be waved and insurance details exchanged.

Apparently I'm a 'Faking Borstord'.... whatever that is I don't know, but it seemed to annoy them.

Clampers are funny.

EGTFisher 17 November 2009

Re: Clamping complaints soar

I was unfairly clamped after being given false information on parking permits by the Putney Parking Shop and I was all but unable to get anyone to accept responsibility and of the course the man in the shop denied giving me the info at all to save his back.

Having just bought a flat on a small estate in Putney I went to the Putney Parking Shop to ask what I needed to do to be able to park on the estate. After confirming at length exactly where the car was to be parked and the fact I was a new homeowner I was told I had to buy £10/day permits. After an hour of being parked outside the flat I found a clamp which cost £100 to have removed and the friendly woman who removed the clamp informed me I was entitled to a free permit and insisted I should get my money back.

Unfortunately I was unable to get anywhere with the case and lost £100 as a result of incorrect advise from the one place that I had hoped would have saved me from this. There was no clear way of getting the money back...a needle in a haystack!

The whole experience made me feel very angry and frustrated that these companies do as they wish without any restriction.