Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Apcoa parking: you've been clamped

Recently I was in a private car-park in Dublin and I paid for 2.5 hours of parking, it was 2 euro per hour. When I returned I found that my car we being clamped. The clamper, who was from Apcoa parking claimed that I was 9 minutes late. A fact which I disputed. The clamper asked for a fee of 11 euro for each minute that I was late.

When I asked him if he thought that what he was doing was reasonable or moral, he gave me the Auschwitz Guard defence, i.e. he was just doing what he was told.

Can anyone think of a worse job than working for Apcoa. You'd go round clamping people, seriously annoying them and then dealing with the consequences.

I was told that I could appeal my fine, but I'd have to pay it first. I wonder has anyone every got money back from Apcoa after appealing to them?

Is there any legal protection, if someone returns to their car and Apcoa says that they are one second late. Are Apcoa legally allowed impose any arbitrary fine?

Apcoa have a notice saying that if you tamper with the clamp then they'll fine you 3,000 euro. I wonder is that more of a threat or a promise. Suppose someone were to break the lock with a metal cutter, then what would the real fine be?

I wonder would the following business be legal:
Buy a metal cutter and some locks that Apcoa use on their clamps. When anyone gets clamped, go to them, (before Apcoa) and offer to cut the locks. Any locks that are cut will be replaced. The fee charged to the car owner would be significantly less than the Apcoa fine.

I heard a story recently of a clamping firm that kept clamping builders as they worked on a site. Whenever the cars were clamped, the builders would get their angle grinders and cut off the locks.
This continued for a while until the clampers got very annoyed and threatened legal action if the cutting continued. Though they persisted in clamping. Then the builders started pouring glue into the locks. So the clampers were unable to unlock the clamps. The builders were then on hand to offer their services with the angle grinders. The offer was taken up. After that the builders' cars were left alone.

Sometimes, people do indeed turn the tables on clampers, for example in London last year some residents in a apartment complex blocked the clampers exit until they released the clamps for free. Click here to read the details.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder are there legal precendents for any or all of the following course of actions:

    A: pulling the clamp directly off the wheel. I'm told that with newer designs this is very tricky. Also you don't want to damage the wheel

    B: letting the air out of the tyre, then pull off the clamp. Clearly you'd then need to either put on the spare wheel or immediately go to a service station to get the tyre pumped.

    C: Jack up the wheel in question, take the whole wheel off and put on the spare. Clearly this is only possible if the nuts are accessible.

    D: drive away with the clamp on.

    E: Cut the lock off with a hack-saw. This make take some time

    F: Cut open the lock using a drill

    G: Cut open the lock with an angle grinder.