Pricewatch: Be careful of clampers if your car is from Wexford

One unhappily clamped driver complains that the NCPS cannot tell its Xs from its Zs

Are you from Wexford? Or is your car? Well if so, you better listen up. A reader called John Conway is not from the sunny southeast, but his car is and it has a WX registration number.

“I discovered on Thursday, November 14th, that this poses a problem for the park-and-ride ticket machine at Balally Luas station,” his mail starts.

He bought a ticket for an all-day stay starting at 2.54pm. “My wife and I returned at about 10.30pm that evening to find our car clamped. On telephoning the NCPS number on my window, I was told that I had not paid the parking fee,” he continues.

“I said that I had a ticket and receipt and offered to quote the receipt number but he would not let me do that. He asked me for my car number and I gave him that. He said that he could see my car on the system but no payment was recorded against it.”


So John was left with no option but to pay €80 on his credit card and wait over an hour for somebody to show up to remove the clamp. “I showed him my ticket and receipt and he said that I had entered the registration number incorrectly.”

The man he was speaking to insisted he had put a Z in when he should have put X. “There was no arguing with this person, and I came to the conclusion that he did not know the difference between an X and Z anyway. The print is strange on the ticket, consisting of four triangles. I’m happy that I put in an X and that the ticket shows that,” Conway says.

He points out that Wexford is the only county in Ireland with an X and there are no car registration numbers with a Z in the Republic. "Even if I had put in a Z I think I should have been given the benefit of the doubt and that a simple check of the receipt would sort it out."

So he lodged an appeal online and NCPS replied that it was his mistake but out of the goodness of their hearts they would refund €50. "I have now appealed to the National Transport Authority and they say I will have a decision by December 31st. Big deal. WX cars beware."

He sent us a picture of the ticket and it certainly looks like an X to us.

We got in touch with NCPS who sent us a distinctly unapologetic response.

“This motorist entered an incorrect registration letter on the parking machine and was clamped as a result. He appealed and his appeal was successful.   The clamping fee was refunded, minus an administration charge.  NCPS operates the Luas car parks on behalf of Transdev and in line with criteria laid down by Transport Infrastructure Ireland.”

Raging at Vodafone

A reader called Eilis Conlon called us last week and she was not a happy camper and Vodafone were to blame for her rage.

“I accepted an offer from Vodafone to increase the speed of my broadband to a gigabit,” she writes. “This was installed on Tuesday, November 5th, and I believed all was well.”

It wasn’t. “Later that day, I discovered that my phone extensions were not working (of which there are three – one upstairs in my bedroom for security reasons).”

The following day she rang Vodafone to tell them she could not do without phone extensions. “They told me there was nothing they could do. I explained it was never mentioned to me that I would not be able to use any extension phone on this super duper new package.”

The next day – November 7th – she rang again “and eventually was transferred back to Dublin. The person I spoke to agreed to change everything back to the original format/modem that I had. He said he would and as a goodwill gesture, he would reduce my monthly charge from €50 to €40. I was also told to return the new modem.”

At the time of writing last week she had not returned the modem.

“Unfortunately not only did the reversion not take place but my phone stopped working – and didn’t work for three days! So I rang again. [There was] major interference on the line,” she says, but adds that she was told that everything was being changed. Then she was cut off.

She rang again, was on hold for 35 minutes and was then disconnected.

There was several more contacts but her phone was still not working.

Then on November 15th she got an email about her new gigabit broadband “and then discovered they had changed my landline number! Of course I rang again and insisted that they change my number back to the original. Was told it will take 10 days. Please help.”

We contacted the company and the problem was resolved.

“We understand that this was a frustrating experience for this customer and that the customer service was not to the standard we set out to deliver at Vodafone. This issue has now been resolved. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” a spokeswoman said.