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Cowbody Clampers by Jason Dawe

Code of Practice for Parking Enforcement on Private Land and Unregulated Public Car Parks

Good news on the clamper front – it seems that hopefully cowboy clampers may have to hang up their boots and spurs, if a new Code of Practice being launched last week is backed by the Government.

At present there are huge loopholes in the legislation. There is no mandatory code of practice so clampers can charge what they want, and although a licence is required to attach a clamp, demanding the release fee does not, so firms can employ people with criminal records to intimidate people into paying.

Favourite cowboy tricks include: putting up misleading signs – or not putting up signs at all; parking dummy vehicles to fool motorists into thinking that parking is allowed; lying in wait until a motorist leaves the car and then immediately attaching a clamp; and calling a tow truck as soon as the vehicle is clamped to allow the higher towing fee to be charged.

The RAC Foundation is backing the British Parking Association’s Code of Practice for Parking Enforcement on Private Land and Unregulated Public Car Parks to drive the cowboys out of the clamping business. They are asking for set tariffs for clamping and towing, a standard against which Small Claims Courts and Trading Standards can measure unacceptable behaviour, and clear guidelines on what signs are necessary to avoid motorists being mislead into believing that parking is allowed.

They are calling on the Government and all public bodies to pledge that they will only employ vehicle clamping companies who adhere to this code of practice.

We all have our own horror stories relating to clamping, and the RAC has created the annual "Dick Turpin Awards" to expose the worst abusers. Have a read – it makes pretty grim reading!

Happy Motoring!

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