A landmark trading standards prosecution under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) has put a rogue car clamper behind bars.
Clifton Hoffman tried to con Black Country motorists out of more than £32,000 in illegal fines and employed bouncers to intimidate victims. He ticketed at least 280 cars, charging up to £450 for drivers to recover impounded vehicles.
Wolverhampton trading standards investigated Midland Parking Solutions Limited (MPS) after receiving numerous complaints about its ticketing and clamping practices.
Offences uncovered included:
- MPS had no licence to clamp vehicles
- the parking fines were made to look like they had been issued by Wolverhampton City Council
- follow up paperwork sent by MPS gave false and misleading information about the Road Traffic Act 1991
- the company falsely claimed on its website to be a member of the British Parking Association.
Paul Dosanjh, principal trading standards officer in Wolverhampton, said: ‘This case was a novel way of using the 2008 regulations to get a result for consumers. This investigation took the view that motorists who are ticketed and clamped are parties to a contract with the parking management service – in this case MPS. The CPRs come in where aggressive or misleading practices take place – like in this case.
‘This is a great result and a warning to other conmen like Hoffman that trading standards are not resting on their laurels but constantly working to find new ways to protect our communities.’
9 April 2010