A bitter brew

A PERTH mum is steaming after car clampers swooped while her son was grabbing a quick takeaway coffee in Bayswater at 6.38am – hours before businesses were due to open.

Local executive Maria McAtackney says her son stopped for the pre-dawn coffee at Drip Expresso on Friday July 10 when he was stung by workers from Auto Clamp; perversely, they’d taken up one of the bays in a neighbouring clamp-free car park.

The clampers demanded he pay $170 on-the-spot before they’d release the car. 

Ms McAtackney branded the fee “predatory” and “a scam”, echoing the label slapped on clampers by premier Mark McGowan in February when promised to ban the practice through legislation. 

The Road Traffic Amendment (Immobilisation, Towing and Detention of Vehicles) Bill was introduced to Parliament in June, but needs a second reading and endorsement by the Upper House before becoming law.

Ms McAtackney says her son has paid dearly for trying to support a local cafe through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think any business would expect anyone to clamp a car at 6.40 in the morning when no business was happening,” she said.

Auto Clamp’s Susan Chapman said she couldn’t comment on this case “under instruction by our client” because it’s a pending police matter. She said a woman who’d been clamped in the same car park “shoved one of our drivers into a moving vehicle”.

We mentioned Ms McAtackney’s son was male, but that didn’t help.

“We’re well within our rights to clamp,” was all Ms Chapman would offer.

WA transport minister Rita Saffioti said the best replacement for clamps is for car park owners to enter into agreements with their councils to manage parking.

Those who overstay can be given warnings or fines like a normal council parking spot. Many councils already have those “local parking arrangements” in place and the state Department of Transport is encouraging the rest to pick up the practice.

by DAVID BELL

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