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Driver hit with £779 clamp fee 'never received formal warning'
A MOTORIST forced to pay £779 to free her car from clampers says she was never told she had committed an offence.
Harsha Patel, 39, of Bushey Heath, says the first she heard of the illegal right turn she made on Gayton Road, in Harrow Town Centre, was when bailiffs turned up at her house at 4am on Thursday, last week.
The mother-of-two claims they clamped her Toyota RAV4 and told her they would have it crushed if she did not pay the money, which is far in excess of the fine.
She told the Harrow Times: “It was just a horrible, horrible experience. He was just not nice, he was a proper bailiff. To go through that experience at that time in the morning.
“I've never received a parking notice and I've never received any formal warning or a letter.”
Ms Patel, whose daughter has asthma, added: “The worst thing is what if there had been an emergency and I'd actually needed to use my car.”
She wants to try and reclaim the cash but has been told by the council to pursue the bailiffs and the police say it is a civil matter.
She is now seeking a civil action against the company.
The council confirmed her current address is the one listed with the DVLA but said she was caught on camera making the illegal turn, in May last year, and insisted she had been notified.
Finlay Flett, head of community safety services at the council, said: “The council’s parking officers contacted the DVLA to get the owner’s home address and sent a penalty charge notice on 14th May 2009.
“When the fine was not paid within 14 days a second charge certificate was sent on 17th June increasing the penalty to £120.
“As the fine was still not paid we sent another letter in February this year to tell the owner that we were instructing bailiffs to recover the debt.
“These three letters were all sent via Royal Mail to the address provided by the DVLA.”