Your decision to pay them the €120 is your call at the end of the day. But if I was in your position I'd still be taking that legal case- the way to win it is all there in black and white in the link I posted- to repeat - there is no legal basis in Ireland for a person to enter into a contract with the use of a sign. The only way a contract can be entered into is verbally or by signature and that point is perfectly clear under Irish law but as yet no one has challenged the clampers on it, once they do then their days are numbered,
And if your solititor charges €200 an hour then I'd advise to find a different one- there are 4,000 unemployed solicitors in Ireland, many of whom would be glad to do it on a no win no fee (especially as the legislation all points towards a winning case). If you had him on a no win no fee then your financial risk is zero. The management company wouldn't be party to the action, only the champers who were the offenders in the first place.
So, why don't you put your money where your mouth is, and take a case? Easy to do. Find a development with clamping enforcement. Park there. Wait to get clamped, and then you can bring a case against them? But no, you'd prefer to hide behind a keyboard and advise others to do it.
As for the management company, of course they are party to the action. They have to be. They are responsible for the parking. They have contracted the clampers to enforce parking.
In the end, the OP did what he thought was the most responsible course of action. I have sympathy for that. I was clamped incorrectly before in our development, but the management company quickly sorted the issue for me. Each circumstance is different though.
A solicitor is not as quick to take on a "no win no fee" case on an area of untested law as you may think. Looking through other clamping cases in the UK it usually involved an appeal before the plaintiff was successful. I agree the linked article you showed (which was great btw) sets out a strong case.
However I am not a visitor - the case would likely rest on the conditions on the leasehold - there may be one in there that allows the MC introduce new regulations if agreed at the AGM. In that case my consent could be implied by membership of the MC. The point is barristers make a living debating back and forth these things, and in this case I would be the one paying by the hour.
And as Paulw has said the management company would almost definitely be involved. The clamping company is acting under their direction and could be considered their agents. I would not be surprised to find an indemnity clause in the contract between the MC and the clamping company. It would be a pyrrhic victory to be awarded damages and costs only to realise there is no money to collect the bins as a result.
Also a success for me would likely be the end of clamping in the development. The permit system has been successful in getting people to pay their fees and regulate parking, both of which we have had a lot of difficulty with. A common sense approach to these things would prevent all this hassle - "oh you have a valid permit - let me take that clamp off there, sorry". Sadly this seems to be lacking in my situation.
The realities of actually pursuing a case have been very sobering for me. Our legal system is slow, expensive and difficult to access. Life is too short sometimes.
As I said before, all those appeals will be a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.
Go through with them if you like, but just so you know what to expect from that bunch of APCOA scumbags.
Realise that the alternatives that property owners will have to come up with may be even more draconian.
If I were you I would continue to apply as much pressure as you can to the management company in an effort to get your money back. They are the ones who hire the clampers and they are the ones who have the power to get the issue sorted for you. Ask them to write to the clamping company threatening to pull the contract if the money is not returned; unless they are complete morons they are not going to risk losing a couple of grand in an effort to hold onto €120.
How can you say that when you didn't try the legal system route?
Is there any reason why the management company cannot apply their own clamps? I know where I work the company has no problem personally clamping cars.
Then in the even of unfairness as with the OP the Mgt company could remove the clamp.
Also it would mean only people genuinely causing a nuisance would actually be clamped.
Expensive: the upfront cost of a solicitor would be in excess of the €120 release fee. If the case was to run on it could be many multiples of €120 with no guarantee of recovering your costs.
Slow: a case could take months to be heard in court, and only after plenty of trading of letters etc.
Difficult to access: there is no "small claims court" for civil torts. For a lay person the only realistic option is to go through a solicitor.
Yeah, I stand by what I said. Do you know some way to take a case that it is cheap, quick and easy? Please do share.
It's mainly a cost thing I'd say - the outside clamping companies are not paid a fee by the management company, they make their money on the release fees. For the management company to do it they would need to buy the clamps and employ someone to put them on and potentially be available 24 hours a day to take them off.
Not sure how it could be a cost thing. By the sound of your complex there are many members of the management company lining there. If there was an issue surely someone could contact any member of the company and the situation could be assessed from a non revenue raising perspective ie if there is an actual nuisance. No need to hire someone and no reason for innocent people to be clamped. The mgt company could contact residents if their car needs to be moved rather than having them clamped.
I am sure a clamp is not that expensive.
I think it is immoral of the mgt company to hire these guys to come in and extort money from residents and visitors.
Alternatively you could put into the contract of the clampers that they MUST realease a clamp on the orders of the mgt company. Who is hiring who here?
Current cost to management company of contracting external clampers: €0
Cost of management company doing their own clamping: Some non zero amount
It might be different in other developments, but in ours the principle is keep the fees as low as possible.
Also as this is a first here, the MC have asked me to go through all the appeal hoops to see how it works. If the appeal is rejected they will consider directly refunding me and will take it up with the clamping company. Maybe some changes in the contract when it is renewed might be needed. It could be a change in the permit system - maybe a register of resident vehicles that the clamping company have instead of stickers. Will be working on it anyway.
You forgot the cost to poor unfortunate whose parking permit accidently falls off window - €300+ *
It is n ot just about the management company. The MC should be looking after the interests of the tenants too.
Also I would have reservations about a MC that invite companies with the reputation that these companies have onto the premisis and enable them to snoop about un supervised.
*I presume you didn't pay the €300+ that you mentioned earlier in the thread btw?
I was clamped again yesterday.
Same situation as the OP. I drive different cars all the time when working, so cant really change the parking permit reg at 2am.
I get clamped because the reg doesnt match.
I just cut the chain with a nice big bolt cutter and throw it to the side of the road. I have a note attached to the parking permit telling them that anything attached to my car now belongs to me and I can do whatever I like with it. Its as legal as their clamping notices are.
They seem to have no problem identifying me when they want to call threatening me with all sorts of legal action, but it all comes to nothing. Funny though that they clamp me because they cant identify the car from the permit, yet they still manage to get my phone number using the permit.
Based on the 'traffic cone in front of my house' brigade, those people would clamp people for parking in 'their' (not) parking spaces.