Clamping gripes at Auckland shops

Linda Read says being clamped was unfair because she was still shopping. Note, this is not Read's car pictured.
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Linda Read says being clamped was unfair because she was still shopping. Note, this is not Read's car pictured.

A woman had her car clamped in a south Auckland car park - while she was shopping next door.

Linda Read was upset to find a wheel clamp on her car at the shopping centre on the corner of Great South Rd and Cavendish Dr, Manukau.

And she has accused the clampers of being "overbearing" in demanding a $200 payment.

Read said she and her son Anthony Taylor went to Pita Pit, which is part of the centre, on Thursday.

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After lunch she moved the car about 50m to a different spot within the same car park.

She said she was intending to go to the NZ Sales Outlet but her son asked if they could visit the Holden car dealer, directly next door.

When they returned from looking at a new car their own car was clamped. 

Read said she parked at 12.15pm and a ticket issued with the clamp was timestamped at 12.20pm.

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"They must have been watching us," she said.

"When I rang the guy and said we'd already been shopping in the complex, he said, 'Did you see the sign?'

"He goes, 'You're not allowed to leave and you've got 90 minutes to get $200 together.'

"He said, 'If you don't have the money we'll send a tow truck.'"

Read said she paid the fine reluctantly because she did not want to risk the towing fee of $450.

"I emptied my bank account – luckily I had exactly $200."

Read said despite arguing her case that she had been at the shops, and was planning to keep shopping, it made no difference.

"I said if I'd stayed and shopped but my son had gone off to Holden would you have clamped us? And he said yes. I said you are kidding me?"

Clamping company, Elite Parking Services, said there were signs in place telling shoppers to not leave the car park.

Part of the fine print reads: "If you leave the property of 613-615 Great South Road while parked here your vehicle will be wheel clamped."

Elite Parking Services Steve Devantier said the warning "was stated very clearly and unambiguously on 1200mm x 900mm signboards at every entrance to the property and at a further 19 locations within the car park".

He said Read's argument that she was shopping at the centre was "an unsubstantiated claim and there is no way to determine its validity" without further investigation.

But he urged any customer who wanted to challenge their fine to follow the company's internal appeals process.

"Anyone who is unhappy with the outcome of their appeal has the right to lodge a claim with the local district court disputes tribunal."

Devantier said the policy was in place to ensure genuine shoppers were provided adequate parking on the property.

 - Stuff

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