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Clamping complaints: No 10 minutes grace, app issues and clamped while delivering to charity shop

In two cases, people claimed that they were clamped because the Parking Tag app allowed them to pay for parking in an area that became a clearway.

File photo
File photo
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

COMPLAINTS ABOUT CLAMPING to Dublin City Council reveal that a number of people were clamped when using the Parking Tag app and others claim they were clamped before the 10-minute grace period was up.

In one case a woman was clamped while delivering goods to a charity shop.

Last month, TheJournal.ie revealed the most common areas and offences that Dublin City Council (DCC) receive clamping complaints about.

From May 2016 to May 2017, the council recorded 63 complaints about clamping on its appeals system. A number of them led to refunds or partial refunds.

We’ve looked at the recurring themes of these complaints. Namely, pay machines being out of service, tickets being turned upside down because of windy weather, and a few cases of clamps not being put on properly. We’ve also examined cases of elderly people who were clamped.

Today we’re looking at cases involving issues with the Parking Tag app, people who say they weren’t given the 10 minutes grace period they expected before being clamped and a case of a woman who was clamped when giving goods to charity.

Tick tock

In one case a mother described how she was clamped while dropping her baby to crèche but she said she was not out of the car for 10 minutes. She said she signed her baby in at 8.45 am on the morning in question and her car was clamped at 8.47am.

She had proof of signing in her baby at the said time and records of making a call to the clampers at 8.49 am. She said the clampers told her she was parked there from 8.36am but she denied this, saying she was in traffic at that time. A note on the page read, “refund”.

In another case a student described how he knew he was running late but was conscious that he had a 10-minute period of grace to get back to his car.

His ticket expired at 2.45pm and he arrived back at 2.55pm just as the clampers were putting on the clamp. He said he pleaded with them not to clamp the car, pointing out that he had returned within the 10 minutes.

Despite my pleas the clamping officials ignored me and hurriedly put the clamp on my car.

Record show the clamp was put on at 2.56pm. A note on the complaint read, “refund”.

Another complainant described how he discovered he was clamped on his way back from the machine where he paid for parking.

At the time the car was being clamped I went looking for change, went to a machine and paid for parking and returned to the car where I found a gentleman had just clamped my car.

“I explained to him that I went looking for change but he explained to me that he had already activated the clamp and that it could only be released upon payment and then I should appeal the fine.”

A note on the complaint said, “refund with caution”.

App difficulties 

In two cases, the complainants claimed that they were clamped because the Parking Tag mobile app allowed them to pay for parking in an area that became a clearway.

In the first case, the driver was parked on a clearway but argued that the fault lies with the app and not them because if they were paying with a machine, it would not have accepted money.

The basis of my appeal is that the Parking Tag app should not have accepted payment for the location in question.

The complainant claimed that the GPS on the app correctly located the vehicle and should recognise the times that the street is a clearway.

I am puzzled why there is a different treatment for those that use the parking meter and those that use the app.

The second complaint was from a driver who paid for parking with the Parking Tag app up until 4.30pm, not realising the area became a clearway after 4pm.

Again the complainant argued that the app should not allow users to pay for parking on a clearway.

My issue is by using the app, it put me in the position of unknowingly leaving my vehicle parked on a clearway after 4pm.

The driver also notes that: “At no point did the Parking Tag app highlight that there may be different restrictions for different areas of the same street”.

The driver added that they adhered to the rules under which the Parking Tag app operates, as they were advised.

“I followed the notification given by Parking Tag that my time limit was expiring and I duly paid for an additional half an hour.”

The notes on both of these complaints read “declined”.

A spokesperson for the Parking Tag app said, “It is the customer’s responsibility to always check local signage before they leave their vehicle. The Parking Tag app prompts customers to do this each time it is used.”

image2 Source: Pay Zone

In another case an app user was clamped as they were driving a different car than usual and when they paid for parking using the app, it was paid for the car they usually drive.

The driver said:

The app chooses your default reg number and does not prompt you to make sure you are using the correct reg.

The complainant added that “steps should be taken to rectify this”. A note on this complaint read, “50% refund with caution, gesture of goodwill”.

No good deed goes unpunished

In one case a complainant described how they were clamped while giving bags of goods to a charity shop.

The person admits that they parked in a loading bay but added that they were unloading their car and there was nowhere else suitable to park.

I was unloading my car with goods going to a charity shop! Where is one meant to park when unloading in this area? There is a car park across the road at Tesco but the boxes were heavy and there were many.

They also said that people should not be clamped for doing a good deed and there should be communication between the council, local councillors and the charity shop in question.

charity clamp Source: Dublin City Council

Despite feeling that they should be “fully reimbursed”, a note on the complaint read, “50% refund with caution, gesture of goodwill”.

Read: Clamping complaints: Elderly woman with no mobile or credit card clamped while at mass>

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