A grieving mother had her car’s wheel clamped while she was giving police a statement about her dead son.
The woman’s wheel was clamped on Peacock Dr in West Auckland – a clamping hot spot where an elderly woman was also clamped despite being legitimately parked at the retail complex.
Louise Allen was accompanying her friend to the nearby police station on Tuesday when they were clamped.
Allen told Stuff they parked on Peacock Dr because there was no parking at the police station.
“My best friend had to give a statement about her most beloved son’s death, it was a very traumatic experience already.”
Saying the clampers had “no sympathy at all”, Allen planned to fight tooth and nail to get her $200 back from Elite Parking Services.
“We pleaded with them to have some empathy for us under the circumstances of my friend’s grief at such an awful time but the slug and manager on the phoneline refused to even consider letting us off.
Even getting police officers to intervene had no effect.
“They said they’d just tow the cars right now.”
In late May, the Herald spoke to another member of the public who described seeing an elderly woman in tears after being clamped for 20 minutes of parking, despite the Peacock Dr retail complex being a 120-minute zone.
“A man was absolutely losing his s**t. His elderly mum was in tears after she was clamped by some scruffy looking parking warden.”
The incident was one of several Elite has come under fire for recently, with members of the public calling their parking warden’s tactics aggressive.
In response to Allen’s claims, Elite Parking Services owner Gordon Ward told Stuff that given the circumstances, the woman would get her $200 refunded.
“I’m a human being first and foremost,” he said.
“If she appeals in writing, I will make sure she gets her money back because I will be involved,” Ward said.
“She is under immense stress and we don’t want to add to that anymore.”
Staff were not supposed to use their discretion to remove clamps on the spot for free otherwise everyone would try and convince them they should be let off the hook, he said.
Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi is working on legislation to regulate wheel clamping which is currently guided only by a voluntary code.
Options being taken to Cabinet included a total ban on clamping but Faafoi has indicated that course of action is unlikely and has said he prefers some sort of cap on the amount clampers can charge.