A used car dealership has finally completed one of its more dramatic sales and is now preparing to hand over a Fiat 500, which found itself at the centre of a clamping row with the DVLA.
Car Dealer reported yesterday (Sep 12) how DVLA partner NSL Services Ltd had clamped the little Fiat while it was parked in front of Strood Motor Centre in Kent.
The incident sparked a major argument between the dealership and the authorities as the land in question actually belonged to to the used car firm.
NSL eventually agreed to unclamp the vehicle but only after Strood Motor Centre had sent proof to the DVLA that they owned the land in front of the showroom.
The story has caught the imagination of the Car Dealer audience, with around 100,000 people reading it within the first 24 hours of the article being published.
It can now be revealed that the story has a happy ending with Kent Online reporting that the 500 has now been sold to a happy buyer at last.
Manager Russell Cox says that the dealership has also received an official apology from the DVLA after the clamp was removed last week.
He said: ‘They sent a letter to us, saying that they genuinely thought it was on a public highway.
‘Maybe it is a new company they are using that is a bit overeager. It still doesn’t answer the fact that they only clamped one.’
He added: ‘I saw one of their recovery vehicles parked out with its lights flashing.
‘I wanted to go out and look, but was with a customer at the time. Next thing he was going up the road with the clamp under his arm.’
The Fiat is set to be picked up by its new owner in the coming days with the buyer splashing out around £6,500 for the vehicle.
Despite another potential deal falling through as a result of the clamp, the new owner had actually already decided to buy the car before it was attached.
Following the sale, Strood Motor Centre has also confirmed that it will not be seeking compensation for the clamping.
Speaking prior to the customer collecting the car, Max Mannouch, head of social media and marketing at Strood Motor Centre, told Car Dealer: ‘We came into work and found the car clamped.
‘My first thought was that this was a joke or prank from a fellow colleague, but after closer inspection we realised it wasn’t a joke and that the clamp was from the DVLA.
‘After realising this, we phoned them asking why they had clamped a car on our private-owned land. They refused to comment and essentially said that we were guilty until proven innocent.
‘This meant we would have to go through to our solicitors to get a hold of a copy of the deed showing that we own the land.
‘If we did not do this, we would have had to pay a £400-plus fine. Once we had received the copy of the deed and sent it over, they removed the clamp the following week.’
He added: ‘Where the car was parked in the photo, the fence used to be right up against the kerb, until 15 years ago we were forced to move it back, as a newly placed junction meant people could not see past it.
‘A common misconception is that we have parked on the path, but in the photos provided you can see the foot path next to the car to the right, between the bus stop and our kerb.
‘What we find strange about the whole situation is that only one car was clamped and the four behind it were fine. We have been parking cars here for the last 40 years and have never had this happen before.’
The incident happened on August 31.