Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Drivers can take on the clampers
MOTORISTS clamped or ticketed in Swindon may have a case against the firm which swooped on their cars.
Signs displayed by Premier Parking Services contain wording which campaigners say is misleading.
The use of the word “fine” suggests the Somerset-based company has statutory powers, like the police or local authorities.
The sign also refers to “all drivers” when in fact disabled motorists who display blue badges are exempt from having their vehicles immobilised and removed.
A pensioner in Devon had his ticket cancelled because of the discrepancies and Premier was temporarily suspended from buying personal details from the DVLA database as a result of his other complaints.
However, the company was allowed to access people’s information again after giving assurances to the DVLA that it had amended notices and tickets.
Retired fraud squad detective Nev Metson, of Wales, also took up the issue after his daughter was issued with an £80 penalty charge by the firm for overstaying two hours’ free parking by 15 minutes despite being stuck in traffic as she left the car park.
Mr Metson believes the signs in Swindon are also misleading.
“They just don’t learn,” he said. “Saying all vehicles are liable for immediate removal suggests that includes blue badge holders, which is a no no. But worst of all is the F word. The notice refers to fines. This is a blatant misrepresentation of authority, as only the police and local authorities can issue fines.
“For a private parking company to misrepresent that they have statutory authority to issue fines is about as bad as it gets.”
The sign is displayed at the Transfer Bridge estate, but the company is active across Swindon.
Mr Metson said: “The question for the DVLA is why Premier Parking Services have had their registered keeper access restored when they are still operating in total breach of the British Parking Association code.
Coun Bob Wright (Lab, Central) said clamping firms did not have the same powers as statutory bodies.
“There’s only two groups with lawful powers, that’s the police and the council,” he said.
“Everyone else is acting as part of an association independently. You would have to go to a civil court to deal with the notices they serve.
“It’s nothing to do with the powers through Parliament down to a locality.
“They don’t have the powers at all. If an individual is strong enough of mind they can say ‘This is illegal and I will see you in a civil court.’ “You cannot give a charge to somebody if there is no guilt. A local company setting themselves up as clampers might have official labels making it look like they are from the council or police but they are not the law, a court, or a star chamber. People have the right to dispute the charges in court."
Premier did not respond to a request for comment.