Complaints soar over car clamping

People who clamp cars are bona fide vermin. They immobilise your car and make you cough up hefty sums with a practise that far too heavy handed for the problem it claims to tackle. It's a bit like fox hunting with atom bombs.

Those that clamp are becoming increasingly unpopular too, with the number of complaints made having rose by more than 50% in the last three years, according to the charity Citizen's Advice. Massive charges, inadequate signage and the eagerness to clamp and tow make up the majority of the complaints.

Between April 2006 and March this year, the number of parking enquiries dealt with by Citizen's Advice bureaux (CAB) rose from 8,514 to 12,910.

The Guardian report that one old lady in Gloucestershire found her car being clamped before she had even left the car park. To rub shit in the wound, she was immediately charged £250 and despite the fact she returned to the car park with the money, her car was already being loaded on to a truck. Of course, there were no obvious signs, the clampers had no ID and no photograph had been taken to show the alleged breach of parking rules.

"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."

So bad is the problem that apparently, the Queen's speech (on Wednesday) is going to include a call for new measures to clamp down on rogue parking operators.

Private parking companies are unregulated which means that motorists have no official route of complaint. There is a £125 cap on the charges that can be applied for clamping but private clampers often get around it by double charging for clamping and removal. It's no wonder that we have to rely on blokes in stupid outfits, like the pictured Angle Grinder Man, to come and haul our sorry arses out of the shit.

Up in Scotland, wheel-clamping on private land is illegal. It was banned by the case of Black v Carmichael 1992 SCCR 709, when wheel-clamping was found to constitute extortion and theft. Get that! All this sorry business generates millions of pounds for idiots and hopefully, something will be done to sort it out. Remember, we've got a couple of handy cut-out and keep guides to dealing with clampers and fines here and here.



  • T D.
    Its strange that Scotland have much better laws than us. They seem to use Irn Bru infused common sense. Case in point. Also, student loans, sunbeds, other stuff I can't remember.
  • Alan
    Is Angle Grinder Man AGM (pictured) still in business?! I'd assumed he'd been done for criminal damage (to the clamps) and had given up his super-hero job of rescuing stricken motorists.
  • Ian M.
    its also illegal in Northern Ireland, in fact the only way you can be clamped is if you dont have road tax, doesnt stop these private companies from clamping though
  • Gunn
    @T Durden, I'm surprised your surprised, Scotland always ahead in common sense and fairness. What's maybe more strange is why England and Wales don't follow suit, is it southern snobbery stopping them admitting it's a good idea.
  • oliverreed
    Soon one of the clampers will have the shit knocked out of them, they might listen then..... "First Clamping Stabbing" - it's coming
  • Overlord
    that's a man in the picture?
  • Chris
    @ Ian Morbin - Seriously?
  • Overlord Awesomeness
  • Alan
    @Overlord, actually he's a super-hero, just like Superman. Sorry for the confusion :) Just wondered if he was still out saving people.
  • Ekky
    I wonder what you have to pay to get this off?
  • bob
    why shouldnt people who park illegally not be clamped? I say increase the fees to 10 times the cost then these muppets might understand what paying for an hours parking or using one parking bay means
  • Alan
    @bob you have obviously missed the point entirely and as you're obviously a bit dim I can't be bothered going to the effort of explaining to you. Will just point you to the here and here links at the end of the article.
  • malc
    Dear all. i recently went in to Swindon town center in wiltshire with my 13 tear old daughter to buy christamas presents for the family. We brought a parking ticket as I TRUELY THOUGHT i was leagally parked as the parking was out side . when I came back after approximately 1 hour, astonished to find my car was parked ontop of a lorry. after speaking very politly yo the driver who was sat in his cab to explain i truely did not realise I WAS PARKED ILLEGALLY, why would i have purchased a parking ticket , to be told to look at the sign on the lamp post where my car was parked. when I LOOKED IT STATED THAT THE PARKING WAS IN THE YELLOW ZONE.I waas in a faint white zone behind another car. the driver then stated there were signs around the area, this was true, however, not on the lampost where I WAS Parked BUT FAR AWAY around the area. I do believe this was a con as why not put the sign on the lamp post. The cost I HAD TO PAY WAS £250 .My question is why was the car on the lorry and not at the cheaper cost of £125 clamped. I was told by the driver I was lucky as the car was to be towed away to WESTON Super Mare, where I WOULD HAVE PAID THE CLAMPING FEE OF £ 125 +£250 for towing and £55 to get it out.Aked how do you expect me to get there , told get a train or bus!!!!. i was also told that there were cameras all around the lorry watching me, I WONDER WHY? my daughter was in floods of tears and the driver did hand over a tissue( HUMAN-DONT BE FOOLED) IPAID THE £250 (CONNED )t oget it back. I di say shall I GET THE POLICE, the driver replied he was contacting them alreasdy to say he was removing the car and by the way I HAD TWO ELIGALE TYRES.wrong as the car was in for repair the next day and asked the garage for aq repot on all tyres and all leagal, so beaware.... My question can I CLAIM?

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