7:07am Thursday 29th May 2008
By Jack Royston
A FAMILY was left stranded in Southall, miles from their home, after a clamping company towed their car away and refused to release it until the following day.
Vivek Marwah, 31, from Basildon, moved to Britain from India a few months ago and had his savings decimated when Park Direct charged him £390 to release the silver Nissan Micra, on Saturday, May 17.
He said: "How can they charge this much? They can tow people's cars and charge anything they want.
"It's such a big ammount. My savings were £600 and now I have to pay all this money. I have nothing left."
Mr Marwah, who works for Ford, had parked in the Hayes Bridge Court private carpark before going to a restaurant, in The Broadway, Southall, with his wife, their two-year-old daughter, Navya, and a friend.
After leaving, at around 11pm, they found the car had been towed away and were later told it would not be released until the morning.
Mr Marwah was forced to pay a £70 taxi fare to get his family home that night and had to pay out again the following day to pick the car up.
He said: "I told them I had a two-year-old daughter with me. I told them I made a mistake but I needed my car back.
"They said no over and over again like a pre-recorded tape. It was pathetic."
Mr Marwah said it was too dark to see a sign put up in the carpark by the firm and also suspects he may have been over charged.
He says the tariff rates displayed in the car park state there will be £150 fine for clamping, £150 for towing and £35 for holding the car overnight, plus VAT.
Mr Marwah said when he went to pick the car up it had not been clamped.
He has joined the Ealing Times' campaign to get the industry better regulated.
He said: "The sign has to be clearly visible and illuminated at night.
"There has to be regulation of the ammount they can charge and the most important thing is at night, when someone has a family, they have to give the car back.
"They can't just say we will not release it'. These rules should be written down."
Albie Saliba, the firm's director, said: "We are a parking company. The vehicle was illegally parked in an immediate tow away zone.
"If Mr Marwah had explained to us that he had a child we would have taken it into consideration and tried our very best to release the vehicle."
Mr Saliba sent the Ealing Times a photo of Mr Marwah's Nissan Micra which was clamped in the carpark on the day in question.
He said the company will only release cars during the day for security reasons.
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