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Tuesday July 1 - Victory for local people as national inquiry is launched
9:06am Tuesday 1st July 2008 in News
ANOTHER campaign launched by local people in Dudley is set to have a national impact, after the Chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee announced on Friday that he would be putting car clamping under the spotlight.
Out-of-control clampers face an official inquiry by the Commons committee after I invited Mr Vaz to come to Dudley and meet victims of strong-arm tactics and extortionate charges.
He heard direct from local people like Adam Pearson who was charged £680 after parking for just ten minutes after having been promised by the car clamping company that he was allowed to park! Six men surrounded his car and even threatened to tow it away with him inside it.
He also met Upper Gornal resident Pam Houghton who parked for less than five minutes and was charged £150.
Other cases unearthed by my campaign include a constituent who parked his car for 20 minutes but was charged £325, even though the no parking sign did not make clear which area was covered. The local police explained that a clamper sits in an unmarked white van until a driver leaves, before clamping the car and calling for the tow truck. The whole operation can be complete in four minutes!
Another lady who returned to her car after 15 minutes to discover all four wheels had been clamped. She pleaded with the clampers to release it, but they demanded £350. She checked with the company who told her the maximum fine was £150, but they wanted more because a tow truck had been called.
I'm very pleased my constituents have had the chance to tell Keith what they've had to put up with. The way clamping companies are operating is a total disgrace.
I have been utterly appalled by some of the stories I have heard and it was clear that Keith felt the same when hearing these peoples stories face to face. Residents have been intimidated and the prices they have been charged are extortionate.
The system is almost totally unregulated. Companies can clamp cars immediately, load them onto trucks and charge what they like before giving them back.
We need to look at this whole area again as the current regulations enable these companies to treat my constituents in the most appalling way.