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Excel/ Vehicle Control Services Wheel Clamp


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Hi All,

 

I got up today to find my car had been clamped. I tried my hardest to remove it, but ran out of time when Excels bully boys turned up at the scene.

 

The car park is church property, but I had parked in a corner out of the way.

 

The release fee for the clamp is stated as £100.

 

I rang them to see about getting my car releaesd as the 2 monkeys that turned up in their vehicle did nothing but laugh at my predicament.

 

I was informed that I would have to pay £460 to release my car!!!! Somehow I managed to keep my cool and asked the reason for this amount as the sign clearly states £100. I was informed that I had 3 outstanding PCN on my vehicle at this location which had to be paid prior to the clamp being removed. I disputed this as I had never had a PCN notice on my vehicle at this location. I also stated that 3 x PCN @ £80 equalled £240, plus release fee of £100 came to £340 not £460 as they were quoting. At this point I flipped.

After regaining my cool I rang again to try and reason with them. I asked them for the proof of the afore said 3 x PCN, to which I was told I would have to go through their "appeal process" . They were not very forthcoming with any solution I put forward to them, basically cough up or the car goes. For some reason though, the amount to release my car was quoted at £420, not £460 as informed in the first conversation. I was also told the tow truck would be arriving at the end of the day if I did not pay it there and then. Needing my car for work, I had no option and coughed up £420 and my car was released.

 

I immediately contacted my bank to try and stop the payment telling them I had been forced to pay it under duress and stress. As far as I am concerned it is obtaining money with menaces. The bank told me it is an authorised transaction, and can only be dealt with when the money leaves my account. I will have to ring them back at this time and pray they can do something about it.

 

I also contacted Trading Standards, and whilst they could offer no advice, have opened a case against Excel/ Vehicle Control Services.

 

Apart from this I have no other options. I intend to write to Excel/VCS and request proof of the previous mentioned tickets, however I do not expect to get my money back through them. This leaves me no option but to go through the small claims court.

 

If anyone can advise me on another course of action, then that will be welcome. Alternatively, what should I do in order to make a case in the small claims court, rule in my favour.

 

Many thanks in advance!!!

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I just want to add to this that although there are signs present, none were perfectly visible to the position I parked my car in. It was also dark (3am) when I parked my car up.

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I also want to ask the question. Can they enforce payment on previous disputed PCN's when releasing the clamp. It is £100 release fee for that "offence" committed at the time. Surely they cannot take other PCN's into consideration even if I had knowledge of them?

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ooops,

 

Just read that the clamper ID must be on display. It wasn't, he produced it out of his wallet when I requested it. Is this a weak legality??

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You've been mugged in several ways here. Firstly the bank are programmed like robots to tell you that because you used your PIN there is nothing you can do. Was this a VISA Debit card by any chance? There is a chargeback scheme for VISA Debits although it doesn't carry the same weight that Credit Card chargeback does as it isn't backed by S.75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Regardless, entering your PIN is irrelevant and they are incorrect to tell you that this act invalidates your rights to dispute the transaction. You need to be rottweiller-like and keep at them, escalating as you go. Why not ask them to provide you with the details of the clause in their Ts&Cs that relates to this? They will struggle.

 

Secondly, you cannot clamp a vehicle for unpaid invoices. You need a court warrant, and of course, to get a court warrant they need to take you to court and win. Clearly in regard to the three previous tickets (they are actually invoices when all is said and done) they have siezed your goods without a warrant, which is illegal. The tow truck story is standard b*llsh*t.

 

You need to find out who hired the clampers to operate on that land. At the end of the day you need to sue the clampers AND the people who hired them. You have a pretty solid case (especially if the signs are not illuminated as you say - get photos of this, in daylight AND at night to back up your inevitable court claim). The clampers will inevitably ignore any court claim and any subsequent judgement, but the people who hired them are 'jointly and severally liable' for the actions of their agent under laws relating to Agency, and you ought to be able to enforce any court judgement against them. This is important. FIND OUT WHO HIRED THE CLAMPERS!!!

 

Your next step is to send a Letter Before Action to both the clampers and whoever hired them stating that you want a full refund or you will sue. If they don't refund, then you sue. More details on this when you get nearer. For now, try to find out who hired the clampers.

 

 

Your point about the SIA badge is another issue you can use, also there may be flaws on the receipt they have given you - does it contain the name, the signature, the SIA number of the clamper and the full location of where it took place? You can check if the SIA number is valid online, if the receipt is missing any of the above then the clamping was automatically illegal anyway in breach of the Private Security Industry Act. The signange and clamping for an alleged debt without a court warrant is strong enough on its own though!

Edited by ManxRed
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Hi,

I paid this amount over the phone to them. I did not enter a pin into any machine. I also only got a authorisation number, not a receipt!

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Interesting read - I had never thought of applying the laws of agency to clamping although cannot see why not - has there been any precedent where this was applied?

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Interesting read - I had never thought of applying the laws of agency to clamping although cannot see why not - has there been any precedent where this was applied?

 

Loads, although I suspect I'm not allowed to name the website? You know, the parking one!! Under Agency Law, if a company or individual hires a contractor to carry out a process or service on their behalf then they are liable for their actions so long as they are going about the business for which they were employed. Money passing between the parties is irrelevant, if they are providing value (i.e. performing a service for the hirer).

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Hi,

I paid this amount over the phone to them. I did not enter a pin into any machine. I also only got a authorisation number, not a receipt!

 

You didn't get a receipt from the clampers???? Are you absolutely sure? This is VERY illegal indeed. You might want to try and get the police interested but you'd need to quote legislation at them and escalate it a bit (the Desk Bod won't want to know, "Its a civil matter, Sir, its a civil matter, Sir" ad nauseum. The breaching of the Private Security Industry Act is a criminal offence as I understand it.

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Hi,

No receipt or paperwork was given me by the monkeys on site. Once i had paid over the phone and passed my phone to them for authorisation to release, they took the clamp off and drove away laughing!

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Your only worry might be if they were not hired at all, and were simply mugging you on someone else's land without any contractual agreement to do so. Sounds a bit like they might have been, although there are signs you say, and the clamping company on the signs matches the one you got clamped by? Lack of receipt is a slam-dunk for any court action you can bring. You need to tie them to whoever hired them though, really important. I know I keep banging on about it, but without this then your money is effectively gone unless you can re-persuade the bank to do a chargeback. Let the bank know that their merchant's (the clampers in relation to the bank) acts in providing the service were illegal (in contravention of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 Licences Regulations 2007). Tell them you can supply details and tell them you will go all the way to the FSO if they do not assist you in getting your money back.

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They are the company that are contracted by th church for this car park. I contacted the church warden who surprisingly was extremely rude and would not supply any of his details whatsoever.

Judging by what you are all saying i understand the following

1 it is illegal to force me to pay for alleged PCNs which happened prior to the clamping, whether known about or not, appealed, or not having enough time to respond to them if they were issued in the last 14 days. They forced me to make payment for these PCNs by threatening to remove my car if i did not.

2. I was not issued a receipt at the time of payment, nor was i supplied any paperwork on release of my car.

3. I parked at 3 am. I will get photos st the same time in the morning to show these signs are not visible from where i parked.

4. The clamper had id in his wallet, according to regulations it should be on display.

 

Thats all i can think of for now. Bearing this in mind what should i do next.

 

Thanks everyone.

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They are the company that are contracted by th church for this car park. I contacted the church warden who surprisingly was extremely rude and would not supply any of his details whatsoever.

Judging by what you are all saying i understand the following

1 it is illegal to force me to pay for alleged PCNs which happened prior to the clamping, whether known about or not, appealed, or not having enough time to respond to them if they were issued in the last 14 days. They forced me to make payment for these PCNs by threatening to remove my car if i did not.

2. I was not issued a receipt at the time of payment, nor was i supplied any paperwork on release of my car.

3. I parked at 3 am. I will get photos st the same time in the morning to show these signs are not visible from where i parked.

4. The clamper had id in his wallet, according to regulations it should be on display.

 

Thats all i can think of for now. Bearing this in mind what should i do next.

 

Thanks everyone.

 

1. Correct, the debt has to be established in a county court before you become liable. 2. This makes it 'NOT' a civil matter. This is in breach of legislation and makes it a criminal matter. If you are persistent enough and show them the legislation, the police MAY become interested. You will need to be pushy though. 3. Just when its dark will do, it doesn't necessarily need to be 3am!! 4. Again, in breach of PSIA and makes it NOT a civil matter.

 

Find out the official name/address of the church organisation/individual that hired these clowns.

 

A Letter Before Action states this at the top. Brief outline of what happened ("My car, reg XXXXX was clamped by XYYYY at TIME on DATE at LOCATION. The signage was insufficient to convey that I was at risk of being clamped, and therefore I did not consent to clamping taking place. The case law to reference is Vine vs Waltham Forest (2000).

 

I require you to refund me the full amount of £XXX within 14 days of the date of this letter or I will begin legal proceedings without further notice to you against XXXX [clamping Co.] and YYYYYY [whoever hired them] who I hold jointly and severally liable for the actions of their agent [clamping co.].

 

Yours faithfully, etc.

 

Wait first to see if any others suggest any improvements or additions. It should not contain any emotive language, and can be very short and sweet. You don't need to provide any evidence at this point.

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Template LBA's are available on the Consumer Direct site. I'm sure you can find one that you can modify to suit your purposes. Basically what they've done is wholly illegal on virtually every front, and it's extremely frustrating that the police can wash their hands of it by saying it's a civil matter when it's clearly tantamount to extortion. You'll need to write two LBA's to both the parking company and the church (or whoever owns the land - as they are responsible for the actions of their agents).

 

In the meantime though, keep hassling your bank, if there's no joy with the monkey on the phone keep escalating up the food chain. It might be worth cancelling your card altogether, or reporting it as lost. If the payment hasn't been processed yet, this should block it, also if you've given your card number to these crooks over the phone, cancelling the card might be a sensible precaution.

Please note;

 

I am not a legally qualified solicitor and all my advice is based on my past experiences in the relevant field. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidance only.

I would always recommend to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Thanks Manxred,

 

Where can I find the legislation in regards to this. I will go to the Police and file a report of crime quoting it!!

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Just been back over things and manged to locate 2 of the alleged PCN's

 

One dated from june 2011 to which I appealed and did not receive the information I requested. This went through the process and was unresolved. I got a letter from VCS stating they would pursue me as the owner, not offering anything I had requested from them.

A second one was issued 2 days before the clamping. This did not give me the 14 days statutory to deal with the ticket.

The third one is still unknown.

 

Been and looked at the sign again.

 

The sign does say that a vehicle can be clamped for unpaid parking charges. However in relation to 1 of the tickets, 2 days is not enough time as stated as statutory on their tickets. n another, they have not forwarded me the information I requested.

 

The tickets have discrepencies as well. The address is different, my Vehicle ID id different, and the amount of signs vary from 2 to 4 (there are actually 2)

 

Dont know whether any of this is any use but worth throwing it in the mix I think

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They might as well say on their signs that "vehicles left unattended will be sold to travelling gypsies" for all the good it would do them. They can put whatever they want on their signs, it doesn't necessarily give them the right to do so.

 

Clamping over a previous unpaid debt is unlawful, regardless of the circumstances. Debts are supposed to be pursued legally via the county court system. What the clamping companies are doing is tantamount to walking up to someone, taking their mobile phone out of their pocket and refusing to give it back as they apparently owe you money. The police would have none of this and would quite rightly arrest you for theft. Why they refuse to take action against these cowbow clamping firms for doing essentially the same thing and can call it a civil matter is beyond me.

 

Keep those other tickets, they may come in handy as evidence if you do have to take the landowners and clamping company to court.

 

In the meantime, keep hassling your bank.

Please note;

 

I am not a legally qualified solicitor and all my advice is based on my past experiences in the relevant field. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidance only.

I would always recommend to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Utter cobblers, it's not an authorised transaction at all if you were forced to pay under duress. This is standard procedure from them to refuse to issue the chargeback. Keep on at them and keep asking to be transferred to someone more senior. it's quite normal for the bods in the bank call centres to refuse. Put in an official complaint and even if they refuse, you can take the case to the financial ombudsman.

Please note;

 

I am not a legally qualified solicitor and all my advice is based on my past experiences in the relevant field. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidance only.

I would always recommend to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Have just had another lengthy phone call with Leicestershire Police. Again I have been fobbed off by them.

 

They re-iterated that it was a civil matter, as I had parked in an area which is deemed private. They said VVCS were in their rights to do this. Fair enough I agreed with the clamping release fee, but not for anything else. Apparently, on private land, anything is acceptable. I used the example of walking up to someone taking their mobile phone and saying they owe me money, they can have the phone back when they paid. Apparently that is theft, however because my car is parked in a private car park, it is not!!!

 

They don't seem to see the way money was extorted from me for alleged parking charge debts as a criminal offence. I tried to explain that clampers did not have the jurisdiction to seize property to pay debts that had not been ratified by a county court judgement. I explained that I felt it was obtaining money with menaces as removing my car did harm me.

 

I am going to a Police station tomorrow to go face to face with someone over the matter. If anyone give me any information that will assist me in actually getting this reported as a crime, it would be most helpful.

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