& # 39; The law has unfortunately failed & # 39 ;: Govt gets stuck on clinging complaints

The government will limit the capture of costs to $ 100 in a crackdown on predatory practices, with tight people who charge more to police enforcement

The government today announced new measures to address "cowboys" wheel clamps and exorbitant fees.

In the past year, pressure was exerted on heavier sanctions for clamp employees, following a number of complaints from the public that related largely to one shopping complex in West Auckland.

Today Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi and Minister of Transport Phil Twyford announced that a maximum of $ 100 can be charged for the removal of a wheel clamp, which can be enforced by the police if they try to load more clips.

Violation costs of up to $ 1000 for one person and $ 5,000 for a company are charged by the police and a fine of up to $ 3,000 for one person and $ 15,000 for a company can be imposed if the case comes to court.

Faafoi said he had heard the public's concern, which was the target of clamps that charged no less than $ 700 to remove a wheel clamp.

"Wheel clamps are common on private terrains, particularly in cities, and the practice is currently not regulated.

"Unfortunately, the law has failed and that has meant that some of the cowboy owners have calculated excessive costs," he said.

"While some operators worked on a voluntary code designed to protect consumers, it was not a level playing field and some deliberately put people down.

"Something had to change to protect the consumer from the financial loss and emotional distress caused by these unscrupulous operators."

Faafoi said he was pleased that the government had agreed to change the Land Transport Act 1998 to enable a quick resolution of the problem, because it was a growing problem that had not been addressed for a number of years.

Twyford said that cowboy clampers use stand-over tactics to get unfair compensation from motorists for far too long.

"Many New Zealanders are horrified by the stories of shocking dives in just seconds after people have parked and then demanded excessive costs to clear their car.

"The voluntary code of conduct has not worked, so we are implementing clear rules and responsibility to protect the public."

Wheel clamps are common on private sites, with violation costs at the discretion of the clamp. Photo / File
Wheel clamps are common on private sites, with violation costs at the discretion of the clamp. Photo / File

Legislation to enact the measures will now be drawn up with the aim of presenting this year to Parliament.

The Herald visited in March a controversial exciting hotspot, which the car of a reporter was clamped – despite the fact that a cameraman from the same vehicle legitimately bought articles from the bakery of the complex. The reporter confronted the operator in front of the camera, on which he defended to cling to her car and denied that he had done something illegal.

A few weeks earlier, Bryan Ward was also squeezed in the same parking lot by an Elite Parking Services guard and received a $ 450 fine by mail.

According to reports, Ward stuck the clamp and drove away before being followed by the parking attendant in a car.

A grieving mother was also clung to the police in June when she made a statement to the police about the death of her son. The wife and her friend, Louise Allen, were both clenched and each paid $ 200 fines to pay in advance. Angry, Allen paid the money, even after the detective they had just met with the parking attendant claimed to have "an ethical backbone".

The Ministry of Trade, Innovation and Employment has said that it is legal for parking companies to take enforcement measures and to charge costs where a customer has waited too long or parked in a parking space where he was not a customer.

However, that has never been good with Sue Chetwin, CEO of Consumer New Zealand, who has long advocated a total ban on clamps.

The government introduced a voluntary code of conduct in 2012 after a peak in complaints, giving people a ten-minute grace period before a clamp can be used.

Nevertheless, many smaller private parking companies have simply not signed it.

Earlier this year, Minister Kris Faafoi asked for a ceiling on the amount that companies could charge to remove a clamp and pointed out that a ban is unlikely.

He told it in June Herald all options were available to the government when considering legislation.

"We are still working on finalizing exactly what we will land on, whether it is an outright ban or we regulate that and the price of a fee to remove a clamp," he says.

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