held in a private carpark against my will by - citypermits
Hi everyone, have a bizarre story from last night involving clampers. Would love some advice. Here goes.
My partner lives in an apartment block with underground private parking. There are numbered bays that you must hold a permit for. My gf has a space that she keeps her car in, do when I come to visit there is nowhere for me to park. I've been parking in a bay I know nobody uses when I go to visit for the night.
I've had 2 parking tickets in 2 months. ignored them both. They haven't sent any threat letters to my address. According to them, it's £80 per ticket.
Last night I popped in to pick some stuff up from my partners flat. I saw the cowboy ticketers going round (10pm) and so decided it was best not to park. Upon turning round, they chased me (both of us in cars) round the car park. They eventually blocked me off so I couldn't move. Guy storms up to me filming me on camera demanding money, and that the clampers were on their way. Please bare in mind I hadn't even parked.
I was scared, and quite rightly so. He demanded my previous payments before they let me go (£160). He also says he has me on film speeding around at them which won't look good for me. After explaining everything, he said he'd do me a deal. If I paid them £120 on the spot, he'd ignore my car in the future whenever it was parked there. I agreed. He called up his payment office and put me on the phone. I gave details of my credit card (to someone I didn't know), and they unblocked me. I drove off and left.
Immediately I called the bank, blocked the payment and cancelled my card. I visited site security and complained, who were outraged, but said the parking cowboys have nothing to do with them, the complex owners hire them. I then called the local police who asked me if there were signs up clearly stating private property with fines implicated. I said there were. The policeman then said they can do what they like as it is there land and I was in the wrong. I'm not sure about this and I don't know my rights. I felt exploited and abused.
I parked on a local side street free after 6pm. Upon returning from the flat, the cowboys found me. He went BERSERK because the payment got blocked. He said he was going to clamp my car on the street (council land) and then clamp my partners car if I didn't pay. He took my credit card off me (this was all done on a side street at 10:30 at night) and called his office back up to check I hadn't lied about the card details. He kept trying to put the payment through, but of course I'd blocked my card by this point so it wouldn't work. I asked if I could get security involved because I wasn't comfortable doing it on the street, he refused. He then gave me an ultimatum... Pay them on their website or they'll clamp my partners car.
I said I would. I haven't.
I went home shaking for the rest of the night. I feel what happened to me should be illegal, I feel completely exploited, yet when I contacted the police they were completely in his favour.
I'm now worried that if my gf goes to her car on her own and they see her, they'll threaten her.
I've contacted the estate agents who run the complex today. They assured me they can't clamp my gf's car and made a note of her bay number. But they said I really need to get in touch with the complex owners as it's them who employ the cowboys. They promote a safe living environment and they said they probably won't like the sound of what happened. I can't do this until Monday.
FYI, I took the guys phone number. He asked for mine but I refused. He went crazy when I refused saying WELL THERE'S NO WAY YOU'RE GOING TO BLOODY PAY IS THERE?! I found this an odd reaction. He also told me he got in deep trouble with his boss for letting me go without payment being confirmed.
We're now one day on and I haven't done anything. I'm worried about visiting again, parking again, I'm worried for my partners safety.
Please if anybody has any advice here I'd love to hear it. I'm really shook up and don't know what to do. Thanks in advance and apologies for such a long post.
Thanks for the replies guys. I'm willing to say I want to cause this guy every ounce of pain I can give him. So if you'd like to help me I will do whatever has to be done to do him for something. A few points:
1. The film will show me speeding off away from them at a speed too fast for an underground car park. It will then show them following me until the point he blocks me off. Car blocks an exit, I carry on but hit a dead end. I turn round and he's walking towards me as I drive at him. I did not speed at him, aim my car at him, or use my car as a weapon in any way.
2. The policeman felt that as the clampers company name was up on the posters plastered on every frigging wall, that it says on the posters that by parking there I abide to their rules, they are entitled to clamp me or fine me. Are you 100% certain he is incorrect in saying this?
3. The 'street' conversation was actually done with us standing in the entrance of the car park. There is a metal shutter that must be opened to enter. If this conversation was strictly on their land (just off the street by about a meter on a side road towards the metal shutter), can I still make a complaint about them demanding money by menace?
4. Is demanding money by menace illegal? If so, can I do them for it? Who should I first contact?
5. What benefit would sending the video to the police have?
I am surprised that no one has mentioned kidnapping and held to ransom which is a criminal offence and on which the police should react. Preventing you from leaving the car park falls into this category! A charge like this will give the clamper a lot of pain and perhaps a jail sentence!
You're all going to love this one. This is their website, check it:
www . citypermits . co . uk (sorry it wouldn't let me post the link).
Yes that's right. Read that tagline again.
"CityPermits is a Yorkshire based parking enforcement agency, providing private landowners with a non-confrontational, lawful, and ethical solution to private parking enforcement."
I feel the private land owner will NOT be happy once I report what they did. Especially if the reason they employ them is because they are non-confrontational.
I will send off for the video. Meanwhile, I checked the register but City Permits doesn't seem to be listed. What does this mean exactly? I will also contact the police tomorrow and report them for (1) demanding money by menace, and (2) being held to ransom. I honestly feel they should get locked up for this. I'm willing to take them to court. Do you think I should complain about the policeman who said as it's their land they can do what they want? If that's incorrect then he needs telling.
I will, of course, keep all you guys updated. LaughingGirl, let me know how your 'non-criminal' empire gets on
Well, basically if they are retaining images of you, especially if they contain personal information (like your car registration plate, for example), they have to comply with the Data Protection Act. They should also be registered with the Information Commissioners Office. If they're not, they could be prosecuted. I don't have masses of faith in the ICO, but I don't see why it couldn't be used to give them something else to worry about.
Something else I've found on their website:
How do I appeal against a Penalty Charge Notice (pcn)?
All appeals must be made in writing and sent to City Permits, PO Box 191, Leeds, LS12 9AS. Or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. uk. All appeals must be sent within 7 days of the date stated on the PCN. No appeals will be considered after 7 days.
To the more knowledable types - are they allowed to call it a PCN? I didn't think private companies were allowed to do that?
Non-criminal empire has already collapsed, Andy. The Police didn't seem bothered, but my other half kicked out all my henchmen. Said they were making the place untidy.
You can drive as fast as you want on private land.
Thats not actually true, you can go as fast as you want on any land that does not have a traffic regulation order or bylaw on it to govern speed, there are hunderds of places that are private and have bona fide speed limits such as the Royal Parks.
I first contacted the property developer (Scotfields; www . scotfield . co . uk).
They were shocked and said that is not what City Permits were employed to do.
However, they mentioned this is one of the first complaints regarding them they have ever received.
I mentioned that it sounds like the company has been taken over recently and that might be why.
She then put me in touch with Braemar Estates (www . braemar-estates . com), the propery manager, who actually employs City Permits.
I sent the full story by email and then got contacted by their representative who looks after the complex the incident happened in.
I was told that they are taking this matter extremely seriously and that Scotfields, Braemar Estates, and City Permits are now in talks to find out what happened.
CCTV footage has been sent off for (the car park itself has CCTV), and they are finding out exactly who the wardens were who made the threats.
Despite City Permits changing hands recently, it's still the same team that work there.
As such, it sounds like they might be employing different wardens.
They need to figure out whether the wardens are City Permits' own wardens, or ones employed externally.
Once CCTV footage has been found, they will be getting back in touch.
I will also be contacted by the head of City Permits (who, by the sounds of it, actually is a guy who promotes the ethical parking business).
He is apparently very angry at what happened and wants to work everything out with me (he bloody has to, or his company will obviously be told to leave).
That's all for today.
I haven't yet managed to send for their own video footage... do you think it's worth it?
If so, exactly how do I do it?
Do I send that template letter to their PO Box address listed on their website?
Should I also complain about them being called pcn's?
There are no speed limit signs in the car park anywhere.
I have also just contacted West Yorkshire police again. They said that despite what they did being wrong, they do not get involved in civil arguments. This includes wrong doing on private property. I should talk to a solicitor about this. They said if the guy had me by the neck threatening me, then the police would get involved. Not otherwise. They said a solicitor could take them to the small claims court etc. if wrong doing has been done. I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing I should be getting compensation out of though...