New measures to stop cowboy clampers

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the Government’s measures to protect the public from wheel clampers charging excessive fees and preying on motorists.

A maximum of $100 will be able to be charged for removal of a wheel clamp, enforceable by Police if clampers try to charge more. Infringement fees of up to $1,000 for an individual and $5,000 for a company will be charged by Police, and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a company can be imposed if the matter goes to Court.

Mr Faafoi says that as Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister he had heard the concerns of the public who were being targeted by clampers charging as much as $700 for removal of a wheel clamp.

“Wheel clamping is common on private land, particularly in cities, and the practice is not currently regulated. The law has been sadly lacking and that has resulted in some of the cowboy operators charging outrageous fees.

“While some operators were working to a voluntary code intended to protect consumers, it was not a level playing field and some were deliberately preying on people. Something needed to change to protect consumers from the financial loss and emotional distress caused by these unscrupulous operators.”

Mr Faafoi says he was pleased the Government had agreed to amend the Land Transport Act 1998 to enable a quick resolution to the issue as it had been a growing concern left unaddressed over a number of years.

Mr Twyford says cowboy clampers have been using stand-over tactics to squeeze unfair fees out of motorists for far too long.

“Many New Zealanders have been horrified by the stories of clampers swooping in mere seconds after people have parked and then demanding excessive fees to free up their car.

“The voluntary Code of Conduct has not worked, so we’re stepping in with clear rules and accountability to protect the public.”

Legislation to enact the measures will now be drafted with the aim of it being introduced to Parliament this year.