Government's crackdown on cowboy wheel clampers passes third reading in Parliament

New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and excessive fees charged to release vehicles passed its third reading in Parliament yesterday.

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Under the bill, operators charging more than $100 could face on-the-spot fines from police. Source: Breakfast

The maximum wheel clamping fee will now be $100.

“Other changes require a wheel clamping operator to release a person’s vehicle within a reasonable period after a request to do so,” said Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi in a statement.

Police will be able to issue on-the-spot fines to operators who issue fines larger than $100 or don't remove a wheel clamp in a reasonable time.

There are no defined rules about how long a reasonable time is. However, if it causes unnecessary hardship or inconvenience it will be a breach of the rules.

Either party can take a complaint to the Disputes Tribunal.

“This Government is committed to protecting New Zealand consumers from unreasonable and predatory behaviour, and some of the worst practices related to wheel clamping have concerned me, as they have many consumers, for some time," said Mr Faafoi.

If someone is convicted of unfair clamping, they can receive penalties of up to $3000 for an individual or $15,000 for a company.

“The changes coming into effect provide a fairer system of private parking enforcement," said Mr Faafoi. "They strike a balance between protecting motorists from unreasonable and extortionist behaviour at the hands of rogue wheel clamping operators while ensuring businesses have the means to prevent people from parking where they shouldn't."