Motorist wins wheelclamping battle

01:43, Jan 31 2009
CHRIS JONES: Won court battle against wheel clamping company.

The taste of victory is sweet for wheelclamped car owner Chris Jones.

Mrs Jones and more than 30 other motorists found their cars clamped at Glenmall last September.

NZ Wheel Clamping representatives said they had 90 minutes to pay the $150 release fee or face getting towed away.

Mrs Jones paid the fine but said she would challenge it.

And this month the Glen Eden business owner got some good news.

NZ Wheel Clamping was ordered to refund her money after the case was heard by the Disputes Tribunal.

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"I'm very happy with the decision," she says.

"I'm hoping they will give the money back to the other people as well.

"We'd also like the debt collectors who've been sending out letters to the people who didn't pay to back off."

The carpark is owned by Glen Eden Developments, which gave New Zealand Wheel Clamping authority to clamp any vehicles parked for longer than 120 minutes.

Mrs Jones has used the carpark for nine years and had no idea new rules had been put in place.

The tribunal said signs warning people that they would be wheelclamped if they parked there were inadequate and difficult to see.

It said Glen Eden Development or NZ Wheel Clamping should have given Mrs Jones sufficient warning that she could no longer park there.

The tribunal also said there was insufficient evidence to establish whether the signs had been in place before September 27 when the wheelclamping began.

NZ Wheel Clamping director Gordon Ward says the company isn’t willing to accept the tribunal's ruling.

"We will be appealing the decision," he says.

"We've already started on the application.

"We believe adequate signs were in place.

"We wouldn't have wheelclamped there if they weren't."

Presland and Co legal executive Clare McGuinness-Goodwin was one of the people wheelclamped on the day.

She says a number of people who refused to pay the fee have since been sent debt collection notices.

Ms McGuinness-Goodwin says NZ Wheel Clamping should refund the rest of the people who paid.

And she isn't concerned at the company's plans to contest the decision.

"They can appeal and we'll be there," she says.

Western Leader