I note with interest the recent articles in the Mid-Devon Advertiser regarding the clamping of vehicles in the cattle market car park in Ashburton and regret that I, too, have a similar story.
My son, who is a new driver, drove my car from Chudleigh to Ashburton on October 23 to pick up a friend who lives right beside the cattle market car park. I know for a fact that he didn't leave Chudleigh until 10.45pm and yet by 11.09pm he had been clamped. He could not find anywhere to park legally on the road so left the vehicle in the car park while going to call for his friend.
The car park was totally unlit, making it impossible to read any charges or terms and conditions, etc. We were also later made aware that one of the pay machines was out of order.
I do not believe that the car park attendants could possibly have waited for ten minutes before clamping the car and I understand, from talking with local people, that they have been known to 'camp out' in a van, waiting and watching for people who don't buy a ticket. The owner of the car park said in a phone call that he was unaware that they were clamping anyone other than persistent offenders (therefore, presumably, not somebody using the facility for the first time).
On the night in question my son telephoned me in quite a panic, feeling intimidated by two burly men in the dark, late at night and not knowing what to do.
I was informed that I had to pay the £100 immediately by debit/credit card to avoid further and even more extortionate charges being made, even though the evening parking rate was only 20p.
I did send an appeal letter to the company but my appeal was denied, saying that, in their eyes, it had been immobilised correctly.
We felt the need to advise you of this experience in an effort to help you understand the bad feeling that people have towards the recent events and the poor reputation that the town of Ashburton is now experiencing due to this seemingly 'shady' and questionable practice.
I do hope that you're able to find an agreeable solution to remedy this situation, before too many others suffer the same great sense of outrage and injustice.