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You Can’t Keep A Good Clamper Down

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The DriveWrite Archives

You Can’t Keep A Good Clamper Down

Geoff Maxted
October 6, 2013

Tron Lamborghini
A year after most wheel clampers were banned from operating in private car parks, parking enforcement firms are reaping large sums from issuing automated so-called ‘penalty' tickets. While Communities Minister Eric Pickles is reining in local authorities who over zealously use CCTV, private parking operators now rely heavily on this technology and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to watch drivers and issue tickets through the post when they put a foot wrong in parking areas. In short - situation normal.

It is reported that there has been a surge in parking charge notices issued by private firms through the post with complaints coming in countrywide. With clamps no longer an option now in England and Wales it was inevitable that the number of parking charge notices (private parking tickets) would increase.

Complaints have increased and they have exposed a new and hard-line attitude by private enforcement firms. Recent cases have shown harsh treatment of a diabetic, who overslept beyond the two hour limit at a deserted motorway service area in the early hours after having concerns about his blood sugar level. Despite obtaining a doctors certificate the parking firm rejected his appeal and although he said this would cause hardship the firm said he could pay the £60 by monthly instalments. Another member in London was threatened with a £160 parking ticket which breached the £100 maximum recommended by the British Parking Association's code which the enforcement firm was signed up to. She was so scared she paid up rather than taking the case to the new independent appeal service POPLA. In short - situation still normal. It really does beggar belief that in this day and age people can still be bullied in this way. How do these people sleep?

POPLA appears to be struggling to cope with appeal demand with its website warning of high demand and a backlog. Latest statistics show that 13,611 appeals were registered up to late August with only 6,913 decided; of those, parking firms won more than drivers: 3,361 and 2,856 respectively.

Although clamping has largely gone its legacy remains. One individual who was wrongly clamped and towed in 2012 secured a victory against the clamper in court but despite employing his own bailiff to recover the sum he has yet to see a penny of the £500 he was awarded because the clamper has gone to ground. In short - situation normal at the small claims court.

Motorists so targeted can thank the DVLA. This organisation makes millions selling our details to these bandits and it behoves all drivers to watch their step. These firms are registered with this government department and the DVLA has no interest in the fairness of the situation - they just want to trouser the dosh.

When parking check for clear signage. If ticketed take appropriate photos to guard against any nefarious practices and generally do all you can to fight your corner. Remember; this is a civil action and not a legal matter. Bullies never prosper in the end. Landowners have a right to protect their property so, if in doubt - don’t. Better still, stick to properly managed council car parks.

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