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Driver refunded after claiming clampers waited for grace period to expire in 'ambush type exercise'

Questions around the ten minute grace period not being fairly given made up a number of the complaints about clamping last year.

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

A DRIVER WAS refunded after claiming they were clamped in an “ambush type exercise” as they were one minute over the 10-minute grace period.

Information provided to TheJournal.ie under Freedom of Information shows a number of complaints that were sent to Dublin City Council last year.

In some cases drivers felt frustrated over the lack of signs after being clamped, one driver said it seemed like a trap, while another driver claimed they were parked in a valid spot and clampers took a photo of the wrong street sign after being questioned about why the car was clamped.

Questions around the ten minute grace period not being fairly given and drivers saying they were clamped because of issues with apps also made up a number of the complaints.

One driver described how they were clamped in an “ambush type exercise” as they were just one minute late returning to their vehicle. They said:

Clampers were waiting for the ticket and grace period to expire in an ambush type exercise.

“One minute had elapsed and I had returned to the vehicle.”

The driver added that the appeal should be given serious investigation and consideration “in the interests of fairness, integrity and common decency”.

A note on the complaint read: “Refund”.

Another driver also complained about being clamped at the 11th minute and added that they believed they were parked in a car park owned by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council – which gives a 15 minute grace period.

I paid for a 30 minute ticket which expired at 2.21pm. I returned to my vehicle at 2.31pm to find my vehicle had been fitted with an immobilisation device.

“At 2.32pm an immobilisation notice was printed and handed to me and photographic evidence of my vehicle was taken.”

The driver added that the map of Dublin City Council parking zones does not include Milltown car park and they presumed it was owned by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council who allow for a 15 minute grace period.

A note on this complaint read: “Refund, gesture of goodwill”.

In another case a driver says the parking tag didn’t work and that is why they weren’t able to extend their ticket.

However, they added that this is “not even the most important part of the story” as they also claimed the 10 minute grace period was not respected.

“The parking tag expired at 12.25. I arrived at the vehicle at 12.36, so in the 11th minute I was standing at my car. At 12.36 my car was already clamped and the immobilisation notice was printed off.

So, if the car was already clamped and the notice was printed off at the 11th minute, it proves that the agent did not respect the policy and started clamping my car before the grace period had finished.

A note on the complaint read: “Refund – gesture of goodwill”.

App issues

Other drivers also complained about issues with apps.

In one case a driver explains that they downloaded the parking app to pay for an extra hour as they did not have any change.

They said they “inspected the ticket machine and signage in the area for an indication as to what app to download” but that “there was no logo or any reference to any app”.

The driver then downloaded the Park by Text app, found the area on the map and paid for an hours parking.

“The parking cost me €2.70, 30 cent more expensive than Dublin City Council charge for that area.”

However, the driver says they were “displeased and enraged” when they later discovered they were clamped. They were told by the DSPS that they had downloaded the wrong app.

I have no issue with purchasing a ticket and abiding by the law but I genuinely believed that I was acting in the spirit of the law on that day.

“To conclude: If DSPS had a logo on their machine to identify what app service they were operating under – I would not have received a fine. If there was no app service available, I would have obtained the required amount of change to pay for a ticket and not received a fine.”

A note on the complaint read: “Refund with caution”.

In another case regarding a driver paying with an app, the driver had their car clamped because even though they paid for 45 minutes (the duration for which they were parked) they started being charged 15 minutes before paid parking time kicked in.

The parking hours were 8am – 6pm, but the app started charging from 7.45am. The complaint read:

The application did show as expiration time 7.45am but I believed at the time that the actual duration would be used from 8am, so I was certain that I was parked legally.

“The point remains that I did pay for the time my car was parked and in respect to the road signage, so the notice should be cancelled.”

A note on this complaint read, “Decline”.

Read: ‘It seems a bit like a trap to me’: Drivers frustrated over lack of signs after being clamped>

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

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