What are your rights if your car gets clamped?
Wheel clampers are no strangers to complaints. Their stand-over tactics and steep fees have regularly hit the headlines.
New rules, which took effect in January 2020, give consumers more protection against cowboy clampers. The rules apply to all private car parks, including shopping malls.
A wheel clamper can’t charge you more than $100 to remove the clamp.
The wheel clamper must remove the clamp as soon as practicable after you’ve paid. If they aren’t in the car park when you find you’ve been clamped, they must be reasonably available to respond when you call.
If they fail to remove the clamp after you pay, or fail to turn up in good time after you call, you’re entitled to remove the clamp yourself. The law says you have to make “reasonable efforts” to contact the clamper. We think you shouldn’t have to make more than one phone call.
Any clamper that charges more than $100, or fails to remove the device when requested, is breaking the law. Remind them of the rules. If they fail to comply, call the Police on 105 (the non-emergency number). Clamping companies can be fined up to $15,000 for breaking the law.
If you’ve been clamped unfairly, you’re entitled to seek a refund in the Disputes Tribunal. You have grounds to make a claim if the car park signage didn’t make it clear you risked being clamped. Take photos to support your case. The hitch is you’ll have a pay a $45 fee (non-refundable) to lodge a tribunal claim.