Wednesday, December 30, 2009


"...Be careful where you park, or you may come back to find that your vehicle has been booted or towed. Towing vehicles from private parking lots in Charlotte has become big business – so big that consumers are filing complaints with the BBB and some are alleging predatory towing practices."



JERSEY-- Has your car been booted? If it was done illegally, you'll soon be seeing a refund check. The City Council voted 5-4 (with Councilmen Mariano Vega, Bill Gaughan, Peter Brennan and Michael Sottolano voting against) to return money to residents whose cars have been illegally booted in the past four years. Jersey City Parking Authority Director (and former Ward B councilwoman) Mary Spinello has until Sept. 1 to submit a plan for the refunds. (Stay tuned for more on this ...)


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


HOUSTON- "A company called Equipark is among the new players in the arena. Chief Executive Officer Joe Martin said, "We're doing anywhere from 30 to 60 boots a day."

He admitted that he helped craft the city's boot ordinance while serving on the city of Houston Parking Commission."It kind of dawned on me that there may be a business opportunity here..."

"His company has employees aggressively patrolling a number of lots all over downtown. Local 2 Investigates found them booting cars where payment machines were broken and, in one case, where the valid payment receipt was simply flipped upside down on the dashboard.

Martin said, "We're not trying to find a way to trick them. If we can see that that's a valid receipt, we're not going to boot them, but if we can't see that it's a valid receipt, it could be a receipt they picked up off the ground, it could be a receipt from yesterday, there's just no way of knowing until you see the other side of that receipt."


Monday, December 28, 2009


Some people are outraged over Jersey City's aggressive parking enforcement. Even innocent people are being caught up in the drama.




"...I was faced with someone who was rude, threatening and aggressive. Someone who charged me £120 to release my car. What has happened to decency? These clampers are a new breed of cowboy police who are being allowed to infiltrate our society."


"Car Clampers" On The Rise

"Car clampers are on the rise as the number of people holding licences for the unpopular practice has soared this year."

“A compulsory licensing scheme for operators will leave clamping firms in no doubt as to their responsibility to the public and anyone breaching the strict code of practice risks losing their licence. Firms will have to ensure signage is clear, fines are proportionate and towing practices are regulated.”


"...Newspaper’s demand for the regulation of a ‘legalised mugging’ regime worth 1billion-a-year."

"... Land owners who allow unlicensed clampers to operate from their property also face jail.
Any driver who feels they have been wronged will be able to appeal to an independent tribunal, funded by a levy on parking and clamping companies.

At present, motorists appeal to the clampers themselves – scandalously allowing them to act as judge and jury.


"Some may say that the high cost acts as a powerful deterrent, but when you consider the fact that many signs are occluded, and many regulatory times unclear, $60 seems like an awful lot to pay for inadvertent infractions, when deterrence isn't necessary."

"Employees of the company are paid solely on commission, meaning if they want money, they have to boot."

"...the lack of a decent appeals process."

"...what about the case of empty lots? Do complexes really need to enforce when there are no cars in the lot? There needs to be a stipulation in the system allowing for this. Again, if booters weren't paid solely on commission, I think we would see less ridiculous enforcement."



"...the Dallas City Council passed an ordinance in August designed to crack down on booting companies and the parking lots that employ them...Lots that don't boot cars will not have to issue receipts even if they use towing to enforce payment.

...Council member Angela Hunt, who represents parts of Deep Ellum and who pushed for the receipt requirement, said she wants drivers to know that they are entitled to proof they paid:

"Do I think this will end all booting problems in Deep Ellum? No, because I still think there will be unscrupulous and unethical booting companies. But the city now has some method of penalizing these people in a forceful way," she said.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


"...$50 to have the boot removed. According to the Atlanta Police Department, this lot has had numerous complaints in the past. Please beware of this possible scam targeting convention-goers."



"Car clampers are to be banned from charging motorists what they like under a government crackdown...Bosses of private firms who break the rules would face six months in jail or a fine of up to £5,000."


Government "Crackdown" on Parking Lot Extortionists

“We want to make sure that best practice is being observed and we want to make sure that motorists are not being bullied or intimidated.”


Clamping Industry Out of Control

The amount of money paid by motorists to clampers and private parking companies has reached "epidemic proportions", according to the AA.


"At the moment the sector is largely unregulated, meaning the outrageous excesses of some operators are allowed to continue unchecked," said councillor Neil Eustace, chair of the council's public protection commitee."


Clamping is a State-Sanctioned Extortion Racket

"By refusing to clamp down on the clampers, the police are neglecting their duty to protect the public..."

"Extortion is a particularly ugly crime. It is committed regularly, apparently endorsed by the Government. Firms claiming to "protect" privately-owned land from trespassers clamp any car that makes the mistake of parking in an area patrolled by such a firm. The firm's agents then refuse to unclamp the car unless paid hundreds of pounds by the owner or driver, who has to pay up or lose his car. The clampers will increase the fine unless it is paid immediately."



Extortion Scam

"This is the biggest scam I've ever seen. I was visiting in Charlotte, had a couple of minutes for a cup of coffee, decided to run into Starbucks. I was driving a big truck and couldn't fit in the small parking spaces behind Starbucks, so I parked in the lot behind that. I was in Starbucks less than 5 minutes, came out to get in my truck and couldn't believe this thing was attached to my wheel! This is extortion. All he has to do is sit there and collect money from innocent, unsuspecting people, while telling you there IS a sign there. (But it's in 10 pt type.) I went into the office and told the lady I don't know how she can sleep at night! How can we get the word out? I am sending a letter to Starbucks asking that they put a sign on their door!"

July 18, 2009 by Kris in Frankfort, KY



"Parking Enforcement Systems is a private company categorized under Parking Stations and Garages and located in Birmingham, AL. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $500,000 to $1 million and employs a staff of approximately 5 to 9."


Friday, December 25, 2009

Parking Lot Thug Facing 43 Counts of Extortion, 12 Counts of Coercion

“He simply went too far,” spokesperson for the Augsburg public prosecutor’s office Matthias Nickolai said.

The 30-year-old man is accused of 43 counts of extortion and 12 counts of coercion after forced money out of drivers for illegal parking under contract of supermarkets, hospitals and clinics, Nickolai confirmed."


Dishonest, Unregulated Wheel-Clampers

"The activities of less than honest wheel-clampers have been the subject of numerous newspaper articles and Watchdog-style TV shows for many years. Having concluded that self regulation was not the answer, with effect from 3 May 2005 the government introduced a licensing regime for wheelclampers in England and Wales, making it unlawful"


Extortion in Victoria, British Columbia Parking Lots

"As residents we have no recourse against these assholes, “pay us or you will regret it.”

Did the governments not ban racketeering and extortion to rid us of the “Mafia”?

But its ok because for Robbins Parking to do it. At least the Mafia extorted money in return for protection. Robbins parking extorts money from us and we get nothing in return other than an unsafe place to park our vehicle for a short period of time."


Petition To End Tire Clamping on Private Land (SCOTLAND)

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Outlaw Private wheel clamping and vehicle removal companies. More details

Submitted by Tom Halvey – Deadline to sign up by: 15 January 2008 – Signatures: 263


More details from petition creator

"The Facts about wheel-clamping in Scotland, in 1992 wheel-clamping on private land was banned overnight, as it was declared to be extortion and theft. * Many clampers don’t have offices and work from PO Box addresses or from mobile phones. Charges can range from around £50 to over £500 for the removal of clamps and towing away fees. The government brought in legislation that has effectively legitimised extortion by clamping companies, how can clamping be a crime of extortion in one part of the U.K. and is then legitimised in another area of the U.K.

Fines/costs levied are far in excess of anything that could be called reasonable.We are concerned that there are inherent flaws with the licensing scheme arising from the fact that there is no enforceable code of practice that clampers have to abide by upon receiving a licence and are still able to charge as much as they like. The government should look to rectify this as a matter of urgency."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Is Private Clamping Legal?

"According to the RAC, the clamping of cars by private companies could be an infringement of the 1998 Human Rights Act. The motoring organisation says that the fines charged by private individuals are usually exorbitant and unjustifiable.

The fines for parking on private land are also demanded without any type of legal process and this is something that the RAC would like to see changed. The changes would certainly help people with courier jobs, as there is nothing worse than returning from a delivery to find a large yellow wheel clamp placed on your beloved van."

"So how exactly is wheel clamping illegal? Chris Elliott, a barrister for the RAC, argues that the concept of one citizen punishing another is alien in English law and that the purpose of clamping is simply to prevent a vehicle being on private land without permission. Therefore, Chris argues, clamping is perverse as it perpetuates the harm caused to the landowner which is ultimately a self-inflicted wound.

The only tactic is to punish or deter, both of which have no foundation in English law. This is because they are based on a notion that one person cannot punish another and that punishment is a power reserved solely for the State.

There are further arguments by barristers that the practice of clamping is also contradictory to protocol 1 of the Human Rights Law, which states that every person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions and should not be deprived of them, unless in accordance with English law."


Wheel Clamping Is Illegal In Britain

"A NUMBER of articles and letters have appeared in the Argus over the past two weeks on the question of wheel clamping.

When are those involved going to wake up to the fact that wheel clamping is illegal under the laws and constitutions of Great Britain.

Arbitrary fines were made illegal some 600 years ago by the Magna Carta, which guaranteed the right of trial before any fine or other punishment could be imposed.

This has been ratified several times since, in such acts as the 1689 bill of Rights, the 1701 Act of Settlement, and Article 6 of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

No one can be subjected to a fine unless found guilty in a court of law.

Putting up notices stating an intention to clamp illegally parked vehicles does not make the act lawful. Under civil law, as opposed to criminal law, you cannot have your goods seized for non-payment of a debt unless the debt has been proved in the civil court and a warrant issued.
Neither do any of the clamping firms have any defence by claiming to be licensed. No one can be licensed to break either the criminal or civil law,

Anyone who has been clamped is quite entitled to sue for damages in the civil courts. "


Sunday, November 29, 2009


The Facts about wheel-clamping

  • In Scotland, in 1992 wheel-clamping on private land was banned overnight, as it was declared to be extortion and theft.
  • Many clampers don’t have offices and work from PO Box addresses or from mobile phones. Charges can range from around £50 to over £500 for the removal of clamps and towing away fees.
  • It is estimated that the clamping industry is worth somewhere in the region of £240 million per annum, with around 350 firms operating across England and Wales.

Examples of Cowboy Clamping behaviour

The RAC Foundation has received hundreds of complaints about cowboy clampers over recent years. Our dossier of cases includes:

  • A postman who was clamped whilst delivering a parcel to a customer’s front door
  • A lady who reported her car stolen, only to be telephoned by clampers a month later, demanding £900 for the release of her car
  • A clamper who forced a heavily pregnant lady to walk two miles to a cash point to get the clamp release money
  • A hearse was clamped with a body in the back of it
  • A disabled lady was clamped when her badge feel off the windscreen of her car. Despite producing her badge, the clamper demanded payment and claimed he was “clamping for charity”.
  • A man was clamped when he stopped because the clamping lorry had run into the back of his car.


  • In 2001, in response to The Foundation’s and motorists’ concerns, the government passed legislation in the form of the Security Industry Act in order to set up a licensing scheme for clampers. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) was later set up in 2003 to implement the scheme.
  • As of 3rd May 2005, clamping without a Security Industry Authority Licence became a criminal offence. Anyone clamping, towing or blocking vehicles for a fee will now need a licence.
  • All wheel-clampers now have to undergo training, criminal record checks and identity checks in order to be granted a license to clamp.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reno Officials Investigate Car Booting Companies

"Reno police and city officials are investigating car booting companies after numerous complaints of employees demanding cash and other alleged ordinance violations."

Investigators found the car booters had "...refused to identify themselves" and that these businesses, who are governed by both the licensing department and Reno municipal codes, were "...not really meeting the guidelines and requirements..."


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Orlando city commissioner wants to ban the practice of "booting" cars parked in private lots. It has been described as "...out of control."

Click here to read what residents have to say about private car booting operations:

Here are a couple highlights:

"The boot serves no purpose... it's a straight up money grab. It doesn't free up a parking space - which is supposed to be the reason for enforcing illegal parking anyway.

At least towing frees up the parking space for those who are "supposed to be there"... or at least that's the excuse.

These predatory tow companies are the lowest forms of life."

" place a boot on a vehicle is technically theft since the vehicle owner is being deprived of use of the vehicle without lawful cause since there is no inclusion in any code for a private entity to boot a vehicle, only to tow it.

So, if push comes to shove the tow operator could be charged with grand theft, dealing in stolen property, and extortion for requiring $100 payment to release the stolen property. It would probably only take one arrest of the greedy tow truck operators to make this practice come to a screeching halt. "

Tougher Rules For Dallas Car Boot Operators

"The compromise approved Wednesday will require receipts given by machines or a lot attendant as proof of payment for any lot opened after Wednesday.
It will impose the receipt requirement in phases for existing lots.
The largest number of boot complaints came from Deep Ellum, and that area will get the receipt requirement on Jan. 1, 2010. Other lots would be added by July 1, 2011.
By Jan. 1, 2011, all lots in the city must provide receipts before they will be permitted to boot cars."


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fury at Car Boot Clamping

"There was outrage at a car boot sale when clampers swooped on Sunday morning bargain hunters.

Tyres on the clamping company's van were slashed as tempers flared and police were called."

"Lewes MP Norman Baker, who was browsing nearby stalls, said the row highlighted the need for greater scrutiny of the way clampers operated and the fines they charged."


BBC NEWS: Should Private Car Clamping Be Banned?

The practice of clamping cars parked on private land should be made illegal in England and Wales, according to the AA. What do you think?

The public have absolutely no protection if a private parking firm acts unfairly
Paul Watters, the AA

The motoring group argued that "immoral practices" are common among private parking firms and government plans for greater self-regulation would not work.

Trade body the British Parking Association said the AA had suggested no "credible" alternative. Wheel clamping is already banned in Scotland and in Northern Ireland only unlicensed vehicles can be clamped.

Does car clamping on private land work? Have you been clamped on private land? Should England and Wales follow Scotland's example and ban clamping? What alternatives would you suggest?


Car Booting - Atlanta, GA Complaints - $50.00 fine for visiting the store

Many residents of Atlanta have complained about unlawful booting:

"Fight Predatory "booting" and towing by boycotting those shopping centers who's property owners hire these companies. Tell the store managers you will not be returning to spend your money there! Tell everyone you know to avoid these places and write about them on the internet! It will make a difference!

NO ONE LIKES HOW THESE SCAMMERS MAKE MONEY!!! They may be legal, but that does not mean they are right! Legality is only a matter of acceptance. If enough people complain, and loudly, then the laws will change!

I am a victim too. The "Disco Kroger" parking lot at 3330 Piedmont Rd. near where Piedmont crosses Peachtree Rd. is one of these places. It is regularly patrolled by men in white vans who work for EPS, a company that will place a tire lock on your car if you leave the parking lot for ANY LENGTH OF TIME. You will be charged $50, and in my case they will claim they can run your credit card for the money, cancel the transaction, and require cash to remove the boot. Don't ever pay them in cash! If you pay them through your credit card company, you can dispute the charge. If necessary, I recommend calling a police officer (which I didn't do but should have) to act as a liason to keep the EPS employee straight and honest, and keep you safe. These "employees" will get confrontational with you if you get angry! BEWARE!!

EPS is located at Peachtree Street, Suite 400 Atlanta, Ga 30303 (404) 605-9242.

The Property owners of the Disco Kroger Shopping Center are Equity One Inc. Located at 1600 NE Miami Gardens Dr
North Miami Beach, FL 33179 (305) 947-1664"


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is Clamping a State-Sanctioned Extortion Racket?

"By refusing to clamp down on the clampers, the police are neglecting their duty to protect the public, says Alasdair Palmer."

"Vehicle clamping isn't designed as a deterrent, but as a cash cow."


Car-Booting Punishable With $5000 Fine in Washington

Using "The boot" to immobilize a vehicle on private property in Washington is now a crime punishable by a year in jail and a $5,000 fine:

"In response to numerous consumer complaints, the Legislature passed a law making such impounds criminal."


Fredericton Company Gives Boot to "Car-Booters"

A complaint against a parking enforcement company in Fredericton has led to a ban on the controversial method of blocking unauthorized vehicles known as booting:

"We are talking about a method of enforcement that is illegal. Keeping your property "hostage" until the "ransom" is paid is illegal. Gluing his papers all over your car is illegal.

Locking your wheel with bolts could interfere with your tire alignment, could scratch your wheel covers and car, being sneaky , threatening and intimidating people is just wrong and illegal.

He is not police, who gives this guy the right to enforce the law anyway?"


Poor Signage Leads to More Car Booting and Angry Customers

Here's another case from September, 2009 out of Canada:

"Jon Norman, who manages the Great Canadian Pub on Orange Lane, said the crackdown has been hurtful to his business, mostly because the crackdown has come without warning.

"I've lost customers," he said. "Maybe (the parking crackdown) it's necessary, but the implementation's been bad. They've got these tiny little signs with small print that are about the size of a stop sign."


Dallas Boot Law Vote Delayed

View more news videos at:

" councilmembers Wednesday delayed for at least two months a vote on a law to regulate parking lot booting. It comes after months of meetings and angry complaints from customers.

The complaints center chiefly on lots where customers put cash in a slot but receive no receipt to prove they paid. The immobilizing boot is placed on a wheel as a penalty for failing to pay. The fee to remove the boot is generally $100.

Many people insist they were booted unfairly.

“All we’re asking for is a reasonable ordinance, you provide a receipt,” said Sean Fitzgerald with the Deep Ellum Community Association.

Fitzgerald was prepared for a planned public hearing and city council vote on Wednesday, with dozens of supporters to speak and a petition with more than 800 signatures."


Private Parking Lot "Booting" Ruled Illegal in Washington State

In 2005, authorities in the state of Washington ordered companies operating in parking lots to stop using the "boot" to punish drivers for trespassing on business parking lots.

"There are no laws regarding the use of wheel clamps, but attorneys for the Licensing Department said that using them to immobilize someone else's vehicle is illegal for anyone but an authorized government agent, such as a police officer."

"Using a clamp to immobilize a vehicle is to deprive the owner of the vehicle of the use of his property. That vehicle is being held for ransom, basically, until the owner pays the money to release it...That's an impound."


Tire Boots "Plague" Dallas Parking Lots

Tire booting is considered a "plague" in Dallas. Overzealous private parking companies are said by one driver to be "...waiting to catch somebody doing something wrong," and that "...they make an honest person into a dishonest person."

The practice of private booting has aptly been described by many as a "money making scheme." I suggest that the term "racket" makes more sense because the "car booters" create circumstances unfavorable for anyone parking in their lots, and then they extort money (CASH ONLY) from drivers who want their cars back.


Kim Holland or KRQE News 13 Previews Unethical "Boot Man"

Reporter Kim Holland or KRQE News 13 provides a little background to the parking lot disputes which have happened in the past, and why people are so upset by the manner in which their cars are being booted. One point that needs to be accentuated: the parking lot's payment box is on the opposite end of the lot, a whole block away.

This makes it very unclear to the Subway sandwich shop patrons that they are even supposed to pay. The signs that do exist are bent up, graffiti enhanced, and placed so high up on the wall that they're all but lost among the advertisements.

People find it frustrating because they are made to look like they are trying to get away without paying, when in reality, most are simply caught unaware. It is my contention (and that of many others), that this is part of an intentional ploy to entrap unsuspecting drivers:

" they're doing it is awfully suspicious and there's a lot of drivers that are upset with the method..."

"It's an unusual way that they're booting these cars....but its not..... quite......right..." --Kim Holland

Friday, October 9, 2009

Minneapolis City Council Bans Unregulated "Car Booting" Industry

The city of Minneapolis found the "Car Booting Industry" to be an unregulated, obnoxious practice and they had the good common sense to eliminate it. I hope that Albuquerque will take similar measures to protect it's residents.

According Minneapolis' city council's report:

"...booting companies were observed booting without adequate signage and without proper authorization."

This is exactly what is happening to residents of Albuquerque. The place where my car was booted had signs, albeit graffiti covered, weather-torn, and poorly placed ambiguous ones. The report went on to explain that:

"...several companies also charged unauthorized fees, used intimidating behavior and threatened to have cars towed if booting fees were not paid immediately..."

This too, resonates with observations by people in Albuquerque, including my own. I would definitely say it was "intimidating behavior," not to mention weird. The word "sketchy" also comes to mind. I was being staked out by a creepy, beat-up car with tinted windows. The man inside refused to identify the name of his "business" or to provide so much as a business card or a receipt. I had no way of verifying if he had a legitimate right to boot my car in the first place.

Furthermore, the toll-box was over 50 yards away on the other side of the (mostly empty) lot. His behavior and methods weren't what I would have expected from an actual parking lot attendant.

It was clear to me, as it has been to far too many others, that this "boot man" is intentionally creating the problem in order to provide a solution--at a profit. In other words, it's a racket.


Alasdair Baxter, Nottingham Discusses Clampers in His Area:

"From what I have seen most clampers come from the fringes of the criminal classes. They are of the same ilk as those who come to your door offering to tarmac the drive, demand a huge price and then drive you to your bank to get cash to pay them with.

Why does England and Wales not get in line with Scotland where private clamping is totally illegal."

Alasdair Baxter, Nottingham, UK.Tel +44 115 9705100; Fax +44 115 9423263

"Fred" from :


"The present legal position of clampers is a scandal and amounts to barely legal extortion in many cases. There is absolutely no excuse for failing to bring in a system of licensing that will regulate them.

We have all heard the horror stories, up to and including the deliberate setting up of tempting-looking sites to entrap the unwary. At up to £300 per victim the costs are easy to recoup.

I recently heard a case in court where the driver of a clamper truck was seen by the police to clamp a vehicle, whereupon they checked him over. It turns out that he has no licence, and his truck is uninsured. He then tried to give the officers false details, and only adjusted his attitude when they handcuffed him and put him in the police vehicle. He then failed to turn up to court, and I issued a warrant for his arrest.

The Government needs to find time for a short Bill bringing in licensing of clampers, with a proper code of practice. Perhaps a private member will oblige?"

"My point has nothing to do whether clamping is legal - it obviously is. What has happened though is that some clamping firms are in the extortion business rather than that of parking control.

In my area a car was towed away within four minutes of being left and the owner was told that it would cost him £385 to get his car (which was in an adjacent street) back.

Clampers have threatened and intimidated old and vulnerable people. All I am asking is that clampers are properly licensed, checked for criminal backgrounds, and that their behaviour be subject to a code of practice.

My story about the unlicensed and uninsured clamper who then tried to get arsy with the police was to illustrate what some of the clampers are like. They should be controlled."

Krissie Labanauskas "Car-Boot Racket; Old Navy Chicago, 60290"

"No Savings Here!"

"...Had a terrible experience here. Parked with intention of using coupon at Old Navy but had to use the restroom before shopping so ran across street to Starbucks....On way to shop at Old Navy, saw boot on my car! Store managers claim their hands are tied and cannot do anything regarding their customers being booted.

Car next to me was booted as well, when they had already shopped at Old Navy, one person was still in Old Navy at time of boot, and three others ran to Starbucks for a drink.

All in all, I paid $115 to remove boot...terrible experience, did not use coupon or shop at store after being rudely dismissed by manager.

No discretion to help out customers regarding boots sounds like a bunch of b*** s*** OR terrible corporate management/policy. Either way, avoid this store and certainly avoid the lot. Global Parking Management Inc. supposedly runs the lot.

March 17, 2009 by Krissie Labanauskas in Chicago, IL