Wheel clampers’ days numbered, legislation introduced to Parliament

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Protections to stop the public being charged excessive fees and being preyed upon by wheel clampers are a step closer, with legislation stopping the practices receiving its first reading in Parliament this evening.

Motorists should not have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to remove wheel clamps from their vehicle, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says.

“Many people have complained after having to pay large fees – and this can be in the region of $700 – on the spot to unclamp their vehicle. Not only are people being fleeced, there are confronting situations where members of the public feel vulnerable in dealing with aggressive wheel clampers.

“The Government has introduced the Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to better protect motorists from the unscrupulous wheel clamp operators. It sets a cap of $100 as the maximum amount motorists will have to pay to wheel clampers.” 

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says that at the moment wheel clamping is largely unregulated and the law is unclear about how much operators can charge.

“There is a voluntary code intended to protect consumers and there are some operators who are operating appropriately. But we know too there are the cowboy clampers who use standover tactics and this has to stop.

“The new rules provide much greater clarity, so that motorists will know their rights and can contest a fee when asked to pay more than $100. Wheel clampers who overcharge fees will be committing an offence, and the Police will enforce this.”

Kris Faafoi says the fee cap was set by Cabinet agreement at $100 because it provides enough of a deterrent to prevent people parking on private property without permission, while still being a reasonable amount to pay. 

“Businesses do need the means to enforce parking breaches on their premises, and they will continue to do so under the new rules. We just won’t have the kind of predatory wheel clamping where exhorbitant fees are charged and wheel clamping is run as a cash generating enterprise.”

The Bill is expected to pass by the end of the year.

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