Shoppers warned to beware of fine print after clamping complaints

Shoppers warned to beware of fine print after clamping complaints

A parking enforcement company is facing criticism following complaints from shoppers in west Auckland who claim their vehicles have being unfairly clamped.

The clampers demand a payment of $200 within 90 minutes in order to have the vehicle released.

But it's all a matter of reading the fine print on the warning signs.

You probably wouldn't notice them -- the clampers are tucked away in unmarked cars, watching from afar.

Pensioner Linda Lang certainly didn't when she went to Harvey Norman in Henderson to buy a jug.

But after parking her car there, she first nipped across the road to use a public toilet and then picked up a prescription from a nearby pharmacy.

"When I came back I was on my way in the door at Harvey Norman to buy this jug and there was a voice calling from the other side of the carpark."

She was told she had been clamped and had to cough up $200 within 90 minutes.

"I went down to the bank and I got the $200, which just about cleaned me out that day.

"It was embarrassing. I was tearing up."

Ms Lang didn't see the fine print on the sign stating drivers can only park there while shopping on the premises of Harvey Norman.

She's not the only one to be caught out, with many people complaining online they've been clamped at various carparks around west Auckland.

One woman told Newshub she parked in a plaza carpark set aside for a number of shops and businesses, including a cafe. On the way she dropped in a prescription at the pharmacy, walked a few shops up to the cafe to have lunch there. On the way back she picked up her prescription and came back to her car to find out she'd been clamped because she went into another business.

Newshub witnessed two women being clamped in another Henderson carpark. They claim they didn't see the clamping warning sign and thought they were okay as there was no reserved sign where they parked.

Elite Parking Services, who employs the clampers, says it only clamps when parking terms are violated, but says anyone can challenge its fine if they submit their complaint within seven days of the incident.