Clamped and �440 poorer

I am a resident of a private road in Islington. Our residents’ association employs a parking enforcement company to patrol our residents’ parking to prevent non-residents from parking in our spaces.

Unfortunately, I came to use my car a couple of weeks ago and found it had been clamped. My residents’ permit had slipped down the windscreen and only the top half was visible, so not “clearly displayed”as their signs state it must be.

I contacted the company (Parking Control Services, Magnaco) and found that the fee to release my vehicle was �440. I was informed I have to pay this fee in order to be allowed to appeal. Under duress I paid and subsequently appealed explaining the full circumstances, but the appeal was rejected.

I have contacted citizen’s advice and consumer direct only to be informed it is a grey area in the law – there is no governing body so these companies can effectively charge what they like.

I feel the charge is totally unreasonable and my only route to dispute now is through the small claims court. I am wondering if other Islington residents have had similar experiences, and may be able to advise me on whether I have a case. – Zeta Guest, via e-mail.