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.