Teacher had to wait FIFTEEN HOURS to have car released by clampers
‘I was going to the dentist for a check up and at 15.12 I paid for an hours parking I got back to the car around 15.45 and couldn't believe I had been clamped’
A fifteen-minute trip to the dentist turned into a nightmare for a primary school teacher after she had to endure a fifteen hour wait to have her car released after she was wrongly clamped in the first place.
The outrageous incident which happened in the Old Ulster bank car park off Railway Street in Navan, County Meath, on April 15 last meant that Siofra Fitzpatrick from Athboy had to wait more than thirteen hours longer than is legally permissible.
Under strict new laws brought in back in 2017 when the release fee has been paid clamps must be taken off within two hours.
Parking company Apcoa who oversee clamping in that car park accepted Siofra's appeal, apparently with some reluctance and have repaid the €125 fee.
Siofra said: “I was going to the dentist for a check up and at 15.12 I paid for an hour’s parking, I got back to the car around 15.45 and couldn't believe I had been clamped.
“The notice said my car had been observed from 15.12 to 15.30 and clamped a minute later so I feel I was targeted as the guy was watching me buy the ticket his observation started at the same time I bought it.
“When I rang in and explained what had happened they were not very helpful I was told to pay the release fee and then appeal it, there was no discussion or debate they told me that was the only way it would be released.
“This was quarter to four and they told me it would be released at quarter to six at the latest.”
But nobody had arrived at that time so Siofra began emailing the company.
“I sent 17 emails over the course of an hour or so I even emailed the address they have for the hard of hearing but they turned a deaf ear as well!
“I was calling the number constantly but nobody answered and eventually I gave up trying and rang my partner to come and collect me which he did at around nine o clock.
Even opting to go home presented Siofra with another problem.
“I was afraid someone would release the clamp when I wasn't there and then the clamper would come along and reclamp it as it wouldn't have a valid ticket so I left a message on my window asking them to call me as soon as they released it.
“I didn't really sleep that night as I had the phone turned up full volume on the pillow beside me as I was half expecting a call in the middle of the night but they didn't ring until 8am the next morning.
“As I was being left back to the car park I spotted the guy who had released my car driving out and got out for a word, he was petrified and kept saying 'It wasn't me I didn't clamp you'.
“Apcoa did put the money back into my account but it was only when I appealed to the National Transport Authority that my complaint that I shouldn't have been clamped at all was upheld.
“My fear is that they would do the same to somebody more vulnerable, say for instance a diabetic who needed to take medication, and I have no doubt that Apcoa are capable of doing just that.”
Apcoa have not responded to a request for comment.
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