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Confusion over late-night clamping at train station

Pricewatch: A reader had paid for a day’s parking at Dublin’s Heuston Station but after a day trip to Kerry she returned to her car to find it had been clamped

Last August Monica parked her car at Dublin’s Heuston Station before travelling to Kerry and set off to pay for her day’s parking.

“As required, I went to the machine to make my payment of €9.50 for the day. Entering the information of my car, I paid the cost with my debit card. Receiving a receipt, I then made my way to get my train,” she writes.

So far, so what?

“I returned from my journey at approximately 9pm, to find that my car had been clamped and a fee of €120 was required to remove the clamp. I tried to pay to have the clamp removed but my attempt was rejected,” she says.

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It was rejected on the basis that her debit card was out of date “even though it was not and thus I was forced to pay with my credit card. I then had to wait until 11.30pm for someone to come and de-clamp the car. In the meantime two ladies approached me to inform me their car had also been clamped after they paid €9.50 cash,” Monica writes.

“The three of us, pensioners, had to wait in the isolated station, somewhat wary of our safety, for over two hours before someone would come to unclamp our cars. This time period of over two hours far exceeds the one-hour time frame of de-clamping stated on the Apcoa website, which seems all the longer when you must wait in a deserted train station at night with a lack of security.”

Monica was sure “there was an error somewhere and “subsequently looked at my car-parking receipt”.

She sent us an image of the receipt and it says her car was registered for parking with the time and date. “However, no charge is registered on the receipt but even so this led me to the question why was I even provided with a printed receipt which had my car, date and time registered within the car park. I then decided I would check my account to see if a charge for parking had gone through. After contacting my bank, they provided me with a statement.”

That statement confirms that the charge of €9.50 had been paid. She sent us an image of that too.

“I paid my €9.50 to park my car in the car parking facility by debit card, which was in date, with proof from the bank of charge and also with a receipt from the payment machine confirming my car registration to be there. Therefore I want to know why I had to pay an additional €120 to have my car de-clamped while I waited in Heuston Station I have made appeals to both Apcoa and the NTA, as attached, which were rejected. However, both were rejected with vague reasons. My €9.50 was paid, but to me, the payment machine or accounting system were at fault and I don’t believe this was reviewed properly and could be affecting a number of other individuals not just me.”

We contacted Apcoa and at the time of writing it had been in touch with Irish Rail and both were trying to establish exactly what had happened in this case.

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