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Towed from an unmarked disabled bay on private land!


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Hi. I live on a Lambeth Council estate, and purchased a valid Parking permit for my estate. However, Abandon cars fill the spaces so I couldnt park anywhere other than outside my house. I was parked on a road that is inside the estate, and not public road. When I came home my car was gone. It had been towed by Lambeth living for parking in a disabled bay. I was forced to pay £105 to get my car back, I wont detail the whole story, but I was treated like a criminal. At one point they took my passport (demanded for identity purposes to get my car back) and refused to return it to me! You can see the supposed bay here, SNV31183 on Flickr - Photo Sharing! I was hoping for some advice on what criminal charges I could bring against the people who towed my car. They ignored the abandon cars (untaxed/no mot/no permit) because they knew not only would they get no money but would be stuck holding the car forevermore) and towed mine for no reason other than to extort money from me!

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I'm no expert, but I wouldn't have thought they stood a cat-in-hells chance of making that parking bay stand up in court.

 

Looks like a LBA to both the clamper and the landowner might be the only way to go, but I'm sure some other experts will be along shortly to give more detailed advice.

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Thanks, I hadnt seen that! I just may get it. Id love to hear what people think are reasonable damages to claim. I was meant to be driving to see family down south, but my whole weekend has been messed up by this. Also, my heavily pregnant wife was so distressed by thinking the car was "stolen" that she ended up taking the next day off work because of it all. Not to mention our pushchair for the existing child was in the car and as such, taken too. My wifes family had to take the whole evening to get us to the car that was held MILES away, then we all had to drive back. Ive run up costs in petrol, phone calls, time, not to mention all the cancelled plans. Has anybody had any luck claiming damages for this sort of thing?

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I would be reporting them to police for theft of your vehicle, extrotion and blackmail - they have absolutely no authority to hold your passport without your consent and I would 100% be pressing charges and suing for extensive damages. As you are in London, call London Tonight and get them on to it too. The more the better. Utterly outrageous.

 

The alleged disabled bay is at very best unreadable and certainly not enforceable. Get todays newspaper and take a photo of the same bay with the paper to confirm the date of the photo and take these **** to the cleaners.

 

There is absolutely no doubt that the law MUST be changed to stop this theft. Sue the landowner too.

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The Landowner is Lambeth council as its a council housing estate. They have hired the people in question to enforce parking.

I am currently speaking to my Credit card company about a chargeback. To be honest this is my preferred method rather than winning any "appeal" as merely following the appeals process gives some form of legitimacy to the theft of my car.

Also, the form they gave me for appeals has NO options for "we towed your car from a totally unenforcable position with no right" and as such I doubt id win their so called "appeal" anyway.

What I really want to do is be able to bring actual criminal charges against these people.

Does anybody have good references to the law surrounding the rights for towing from private land?

They have definately broken the data protection act a dozen times, for example they copied down my passport details!!!

Proof of ID? I have the damn car key, what more should I need?

Our childs pushchair was in the car, and my pregnant wife was unable to do anything other than sit and stress about this the whole weekend.

How about the fact they have guard dogs, and no signage and warnings on the outside of the compound?

 

Further comments, It seems that NSL (National services Ltd) are the company in question. Do they HAVE to be registered with the SIA? And if they are not, or are registered under another name (they used to be NCP?) are they allowed to carry on towing etc?

Edited by Pyrofer
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The Landowner is Lambeth council as its a council housing estate. They have hired the people in question to enforce parking.

I am currently speaking to my Credit card company about a chargeback. To be honest this is my preferred method rather than winning any "appeal" as merely following the appeals process gives some form of legitimacy to the theft of my car.

Also, the form they gave me for appeals has NO options for "we towed your car from a totally unenforcable position with no right" and as such I doubt id win their so called "appeal" anyway.

Quite so - The appeal form is decorative at best.

 

What I really want to do is be able to bring actual criminal charges against these people.

Does anybody have good references to the law surrounding the rights for towing from private land?

The clamping guide - The same goes for clamping as for towing.

 

The police are likely to consider the matter as entirely civil, and not give a monkey's. You might report the theft, and insist on a crime reference number (and I mean really insist - they won't give one willingly). Whilst it's unlikely any criminal charges will be made, the crime reference number would be useful if you were to take the landowner / clampers to court. Similarly, you can quote it to your credit card company.

 

They have definately broken the data protection act a dozen times, for example they copied down my passport details!!!
Which specific principle have they broken? You would need to state which one in any complaint to the ICO.

 

Proof of ID? I have the damn car key, what more should I need?

Our childs pushchair was in the car, and my pregnant wife was unable to do anything other than sit and stress about this the whole weekend.

How about the fact they have guard dogs, and no signage and warnings on the outside of the compound?

 

Further comments, It seems that NSL (National services Ltd) are the company in question. Do they HAVE to be registered with the SIA? And if they are not, or are registered under another name (they used to be NCP?) are they allowed to carry on towing etc?

Yes they do, as per the Private Security Industry Act, and no they can't (at least, not lawfully).
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They refused to provide an SIA number when I called them. I will investigate further. If it turns out that they dont have a valid licence, and in this I mean both the people towing AND releasing the car need a licence, then i can press criminal charges against the individual or company not in possesion of the SIA licence.... :)

I will be doing that, NONE of the staff displayed any id at all, let alone SIA id as required by the licence conditions.

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Well, nosing through your photos a bit more, the signage says that vehicles not displaying a valid permit or vehicles that are not taxed can be towed away. Yours was displaying a valid permit and was taxed, so they have no authority to remove your vehicle. I would be suing the landowner for allowing these cowboys to act on their behalf in this manner.

 

As said before, the so-called disabled bay is not going to hold up in law as a disabled bay as the markings are virtually non existant, but even if they were 100% crystal clear, where does it say the consequences of parking in the disabled bay anyway? It doesn't thus there can be no consequences.

 

What did the press say? Did you even contact them? Use them. They are your BEST weapon in this case. Also, go around the car park and note the vehicles that are not taxed. I would advise you to stroll slowly and certainly don't make it obvious what you are doing! Write them down when you can, make, model, registration and ideally when the tax expired. How long have they been there? Write to the council with that information and ask when they last removed an untaxed car from that vacinity.

 

Get your local councillor by the scrote and get them explaining what happened. Go to the next town hall meeting and tell them. Get your MP involved too. BUT do get onto the press. They love anything like this. Your wife has told her GP how upsetting and stressful this was has she?

 

Get onto a claims firm and get them to do the claiming bit for you/her. I have no idea what you may get, but heavily pregnant woman stressed by illegal theft of the family car, with childs pushchair inside? Got to be worth a couple of grand I would think.

 

EDIT:

 

What does that white sign on the wall immediately by the 'disabled' space say? Where was that pole with the other sign you photogaraphed?

 

And that yellow sign at the end of the road hidden by the overgrowth?

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There is indeed a sign regarding the disabled bay, but its at such a height as to be invisible to anybody of human height.

I will take more photos and post in the same place later when I get home.

Sorry, was raining.. I will get more pics soon.

little update.. Most of the staff claim to have no SIA number, certainly none of them wear any ID badge as required by the SIA with the number on, however I actualy got a manager who assured me that they ALL have SIA numbers. He still refused to provide it over the phone however.

"You could be anyone! Why should I tell you?". I think thats the point, you ARE meant to tell anyone!

The receipt definately did NOT contain the details of the officer who towed my vehicle, or the SIA badge number or that person.

They are definately in breach of the SIA terms. I will call the police now and speak about pressing charges against them for theft.

Edited by Pyrofer
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  • 1 month later...

Just to update...

They rejected my appeal (finally) claiming that the bay "although poorly marked was readable and was signposted".

Bullcrap.

Im now following the chargeback route with my Credit card company, but also looking to file criminal charges for "blackmail" as that is what those clampers recently got taken for!

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Forget chargeback, no crime has been comitted until a court says so.

 

Sue the clamping company and landowner for the full ammount plus any additional charges you have incurred.

 

The sign is very clear. but is only tells you that you must be taxed and have a valid permit. You have both thus they have no right to tow you.

 

The bay says nothing. Even if it was as clear as day they cannot tow you for parking in a disabled bay as there is no signage to that effect. What is the actual reason they say they towed you? I suspect they will claim you did not have a valid permit on display.

 

Sue the ****.

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