Can I remove a wheel clamp from my car?
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 was introduced in 2014 and has significantly changed the way in which debts can be enforced by a bailiff/enforcement agent. The changes include the introduction of ‘fixed fees’ and improvements have also been made to ‘exempt goods’. A further improvement is the introduction of statutory notices that must be provided to the debtor; which in the case of a car being clamped, is a Warning of Immobilisation (here)
With regards to motor vehicles, the new regulations provide the following:
Bailiffs may only take control of a vehicle actually owned solely or jointly by the debtor.
A car belonging to a third-party cannot be taken.
A car displaying a Blue Badge cannot be taken.
In many cases, a vehicle that is subject to finance/hire purchase/log book loans cannot be taken. A page dedicated to this subject can be found here.
The regulations specifically provide that a vehicle may only be clamped on the debtors premises or on a ‘highway’. A vehicle must not be clamped on ‘private’ ground such as large shopping outlets, supermarket car parks or motorway service areas.
If a bailiff has clamped a vehicle, the regulations specifically provide that he must provide a Warning of Immobilisation. Further details of the notices required can be read here.
How long can the vehicle be clamped for?
The regulation specifically provide that a vehicle should remain clamped for a minimum of two hours. Therefore a bailiff cannot charge a ‘removal’ (sale stage fee) of £110 unless this time period has elapsed.
Cutting off a wheel clamp
Under section 68.1 of Schedule 12 (TCEA 2007) it is a serious offence to remove a wheel clamp or to obstruct the bailiff from clamping or removing the vehicle and a person found guilty on conviction may face being fined (level 4) or sent to prison for a term not exceeding 51 weeks…or both.
Sadly we have received many reports of debtors being arrested and charged since the above offence was introduced.
Whilst the internet is a great source of information please be very careful indeed of internet sites which advise you to remove a wheel clamp on the basis that the ‘clamping’ had apparently been ‘illegal’ and claiming that you are entitled to ‘compensation’ (or even the cost of a hire vehicle!!). It is for a court (and not a website) to decide whether a bailiff has acted illegally.
Note from Bailiff Advice
If you have any queries in relation to a vehicle that has been clamped by a bailiff, you can email a question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Please refer to our Contact us page for further details.
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 including details of bailiff fees that can be charged, the notices that must be given by the bailiff and items that are ‘exempt’ from being taking into control (by bailiffs) can be read here.