Taking Wheel Clamping Company to Court
My vehicle was clamped (by London Clamping Company (PO BOX 883, CR2 8YT) whilst parked at Walkers Place in Putney SW London on 20/01/2011 and I had already paid the clamping charge of £135.00 + card surcharge of £5.00 under protest to have my car released. I believe the clamp was illegal and the fine is disproportionate, hence I am seeking information and possible assistance about the possibility of taking the wheel clamping company to court.
I have hard hard time to find out information about legal requirements and obligations of wheel clampers operating on private land. I once read somehwhere that this was supposed to get outlawed but could not find exact information whether this has now been implemented.
I wrote the below representations letter to the clamping company:
So far i understand that according to the Unfair Consumer Contract Regulations, parking fines on private land must not exceed the damages to the landowner during the period the motorist is parked there. In my case, the £140 charge I had to pay far exceeds the cost to the landowner of the car park considering that the car park in question was empty at the time when I parked there and as such my vehicle was not an obstruction hence clamp and removal would have been disproportionate. Furthermore, it did not inconvenience anyone either as the space around was empty from vehicles. The alleged contravention took place outside office hours at 7:49PM during a quick 10 minutes shopping trip to opposite Waitrose supermarket, and as such no loss of earning or amenity could be incurred.
The Business Names Act of 1985 provides that a receipt must include an address where documents may be served. The receipt served states a P.O Box, therefore not a legally permissible address.
I would also like to confirm the relationship of London Clamping Company to the owner of the land.
As I have been parking at that particular place many times before and never been issued PCN or been clamped, I completely believed it was permitted for me to be parking there.
On 25/01/2011 I received reply from Ms. T Green (Parking Enforcement Officer) with London Clamping Company highlighting:
-they will not be able to offer a refund
-they signed a contract with the landowners to provide services to their site.
-they are not limited company, the owner is a sole proprietor so they are not required to be registered at companies house. The PO Box provided is for staff safety issues
-they do not feel the release fee is dissproportionate and the length of time my vehicle parked there is irrelevant.
I am thinking of following defence points:
-no signs at the entrance to the private land; no gates; no warnings
-within the land: 3x signs put up by London Clamping Company not permanently attached to the wall or any other fixture but appear like if someone has just put them up there temporarily. Can be picked up and moved around.( I only found out this after close inspection of the site after my vehicle clamped)
-when the incident occured in evening hours: space poorly lit; unable to make out the signs in the distance even with very healthy eye-sight.The size of the signs, disproportionate against the size of the land
-other private vehicles parking on the land; create confussion over whether parking allowed or not.
-taking detailed measurements of the area and photographs to document the fact that innocent drivers are lured and fall victim to these companies. (why not put up gate? why not put up signs at the entrance? etc...) the landowners together with London Clamping Company benefit each other from this sitution, hence nobody willing to hurry up to notify drivers about wheel clamping 'mafia' operating in the area.
- finally, area not secured at all, hence can not be trespassing?
(I AM LOOKING FOR SOMEONE FOR ADVICE IN THIS INSTANCE AND POSSIBLY TO INSTRUCT A FIRM OR SOLICITOR TO TAKE THE MATTER ON MY BEHALF TO COURT. IF CASE WON I WOULD LIKE THE CLAMPING COMPANY TO PAY THE COURT COSTS, SOLICITOR COSTS, REFUND ME GBP140.00 + GBP5000.00 FOR WASTE OF MY TIME AND STRESS I EXPERIENCED HAVING TO DEAL WITH THIS MATTER.
MY EMAIL: MARIONMASAR@HUSHMAIL.COM