Getting towed: Your rights when dealing with tow-truck operators
These rules apply to private parking operators who use wheel clamping (“immobilising devices”) on private property, like a shopping centre carpark. They don’t apply to vehicles parked on a public road.
- The operator can’t charge you more than $100 (incl. GST) to remove the clamp.
- The operator must be available (within reason) to respond to your request to remove the wheel clamp.
- The operator must remove the wheel clamp as soon as reasonably practicable after you have paid the fee.
- It is an offence for the operator to charge you more than the $100 maximum fee.
- It is also an offence for the operator to fail to remove a wheel clamp within a reasonable time after you have paid the fee.
There are fines available of up to $3000 (for an individual) and $15,000 (for a company) for these offences.
When can you challenge wheel clamping?
- If your parking did not break any rules (like there was no warning sign in the carpark), you could argue that the clamping was unjustified.
- If you are charged more than the maximum $100 fee for removal, you could argue that the clamping was unreasonable.
- If the person who arranged for your vehicle to be clamped was not the owner of the land or business (or their employee) where you parked, you could argue that the clamping was unauthorised.