Wednesday 28 September 2016

24 seconds too late - motorist forced to pay €80 clamping fine after topping up account

The driver had tried to make a payment an hour earlier but there was a technical error on her account.

Amy Molloy

Published 10/09/2016 | 16:01

Aisling Scally
Aisling Scally

A woman was clamped because her electronic parking top-up was processed 24 seconds too late.

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Aisling Scally was forced to pay €80 after topping up her account, seconds after Dublin City Council clamped the car.

Ms Scally, who works as a reporter, had parked in the Ballsbridge area and received a text confirmation at 12:46 that payment had been received.

She was shocked to discover her car had been clamped, with the immobilisation notice issued at 12:46 – the same time she topped up her account.

After contacting a Dublin Street Parking customer service manager, she was informed that the parking attendant checked the car at 12.46 and 19 seconds, but there was no payment.

“I asked to speak to a manager when I rang initially. I was called back and told my payment was processed 24 seconds after they decided to clamp my car, and I had no choice but to pay the fine and appeal. Both the initial customer service agent and the manager I spoke to raised their voice and were very difficult to deal with, making the whole experience even more frustrating,” she said.

When contacted by Independent.ie, a spokesperson for Dublin Street Parking Services said staff had scanned the vehicle twice to check for payment before proceeding to clamp.

Ms Scally had tried to make a payment an hour beforehand, but there was an issue with her account. About a month ago, she was the victim of debit card fraud and had her card cancelled and a new one issued. The Parking Tag app was set up for payment on her old card, resulting in the payment not processing.

“The road I was parked on in Ballsbridge is notorious for clamping. It's flanked by a park on either side, one of which contains a playground, so it's always busy with parents as well as local workers. It's a busy hotspot clampers can exploit,” she told Independent.ie.

Dublin City Council advised Ms Scally that there is a ten-minute grace time from the expiry of the ticket, but in this instance 57 minutes had passed and there was no valid payment when it was clamped.

Parking Tag said they could not offer a precise breakdown of when payments are processed.

“I think there is an urgent need for greater transparency with clamping. Companies are fining people €80 for the sake of 24 seconds- complete exploitation. The Parking Tag app company do not keep record of times down to the last second, so even the clamping company's claim of the time lapse is totally opaque,” she stressed.

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