A consumer advocate is calling for wheel clamps to be banned saying they are archaic and holding caught-out motorists to ransom.

An Auckland couple was forced to fork out $760 to a Ponsonby antiques dealer after parking outside his closed shop on Sunday night.

It only took 15 minutes for the notorious clamper to pounce on unsuspecting motorists Sharn and Jamie Phillips who parked in a private park outside Bashford Antiques before heading to a nearby restaurant.

The couple were forced to hand over $760 to the shop's director Michael Organ before he would release their car.


The pair paid the hefty bill but were shocked, after having to call police and Organ storming across the road to a nearby petrol station where he verbally abused a shop attendant.

Today consumer researcher Jessica Wilson told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking it was time the Government banned clamping.

Property owners can legally clamp and charge as much as they like so long as the area is clearly posted as a private car park.

"These guys can buy a few clamps and set up shop. They're effectively holding consumers to ransom. We wouldn't expect to see this on council-owned properties - you park on the street or in a council-owned building - you don't get your car clamped but for some reason we're allowing private parking operators to get away with this."

Wilson said it was an archaic practice and time it was gone.

"Get rid of clamping. It's an egregious situation. These guys are effectively holding consumers to ransom," she said.