This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 16 October, 2018
Advertisement

Over 228 people appeal car clamping decisions in the first two months of new law

Last year legislation came into effect to regulate clamping in Ireland, allowing for an appeals process from people who have felt hard-done by from clamping companies.

Image: RollingNews.ie

OVER 228 clamping appeals were made to the National Transport Authority in the first  two months of a new law allowing for an independent complaints procedure.

Legislation came into effect to regulate clamping in Ireland in October, allowing for an appeals process for people who feel hard-done by.

The Vehicle Clamping Act 2015 gives the NTA the power to:

  • Make clamping and signage regulations
  • Establish appeals and complaints processes
  • Make a code of practice for parking controllers and clamping operators
  • Investigate and prosecute any alleged breaches of regulations

Drivers who wish to appeal a decision must first make an appeal to the parking controller who operates the clamping in the area. This could be a private clamping operator or a local authority.

Before this law came into effect, the clamping operator’s appeal process decision was final.

Appealing a clamping decision

However, since last year, drivers can appeal the decision to a Clamping Appeals Officer, who is designated by the NTA.

The Clamping Appeals Officer’s job is to independently examine and determine the case.

The officer is independent of both the parking controller (who is employed by a clamping company) and the NTA. The officer must carry out his or her work with impartiality, fairness and consistency of approach, as is set out by the new law.

If a driver is unhappy with the circumstances in which they were clamped, the must first complain to the company that clamped the vehicle. If they are still not satisfied, they can appeal the decision to the NTA, which is where the Clamping Appeals Officer’s role kicks in.

The parking controller and clamping company is required by law to accept the decision of the Clamping Appeals Officer in every instance.

Information released to TheJournal.ie under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 shows that 228 appeals were made to the NTA between 1 October and 30 November 2017.

Of that number, 78 appeals were allowed. The number of appeals dismissed came to 91 (including 15 cases where partial refunds were awarded).

Under the new legislation, drivers can also make complaints to the NTA if they are dissatisfied with their treatment by a clamper.

Complaints about clampers 

In the first two months of NTA having such power, only five complaints were received – all relating to one clamping operator.

One man complained in September 2017 about not being able to get in touch with the company in order to have the clamp on his car removed.

He said he accepted he was in the wrong, as he did not display a ticket and his car was clamped.

“I absolutely have no objection to my car being clamped because I should have displayed a ticket but I have a big problem when I failed to make contact with the driver on call to release my car.

“I spent two hours on Saturday night trying to make contact with the company,” he said in his statement.

The complainant said the phone message said there had been a “technical error” and then said he would be transferred to an agent, but each time the line would go dead.

The car owner said he called the garda station but was told they could not offer him assistance. The car park he used was open 24 hours, he said, adding that the company should therefore offer a 24-service line to call.

‘I had to get a taxi’

“I had to get de-clamped on Sunday morning. I had to get a taxi home on the night which cost me €50,” said the driver.

Another car owner complained about the same company, stating that he parked in an area where the signage said pay-and-display times were between 8am and 6pm.

“I parked outside of these times and I was clamped. The declamp fee was €165. I showed the operator the pay-and-display times were 8am to 6pm and he said they had changed to 24 hours. But the signs and the ticket machine did not state this,” said the driver.

The complainant said he complained to the clamping company and submitted a photo of the signage and ticket machine, which clearly showed the times.

“The company rejected my appeal with no mention of the pay-and-display times,” he said.

Another driver complained to the NTA about the conduct of one clamper, who she described as acting aggressively towards her.

She said she was taken aback by his manner, and said she felt intimidated by him.

clamp

Another complaint detailed that how one driver approached his car to see it had been clamped. He said the clampers were standing next to it, and he questioned why he had been clamped.

He said they wouldn’t explain to him why and when he questioned them again, stating he had previously parked in the same spot for the same period of time and never got clamped they began to laugh at him.

The car owner said he felt very uneasy when the clampers laughed at him in public.

clamp

He said he rejected the fine, but the company rejected his appeal and told him to talk to the NTA.

Speaking about the new legislation last year, Transport Minister Shane Ross said it is important to have a “robust regulatory framework” and a complaints and appeals process on a statutory basis.

Read: Driver refunded after claiming clampers waited for grace period to expire in ‘ambush type exercise’>

Read: Parking complaints: Driver refunded after claiming clampers took photo of wrong street sign>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (28)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel

     

    Trending Tags