A disabled pensioner had his car clamped and towed after parking it - while he went to renew his blue badge.
Santokh Singh Ahdan has now been left hundred of pounds out of pocket after the clamp happy operator gave him no chance to pay up before carting off his vehicle.
The 74-year-old parked his car at the end of Lady Margaret Road, Southall, at 12.10pm on July 9, 50 yards from a social services office and returned 20 minutes later.
The careful pensioner even tucked a small note on the front of the car, noting the time and saying he had gone to renew his badge. But when he returned, it was gone.
Mr Ahdan, of Scotts Road, Southall, said: "I could not believe it. I thought my car had been stolen."
He began looking for his vehicle before another driver pointed out a notice board informing motorists they were in a private road.
Mr Ahdan, who suffers from high blood pressure and cholesterol, said: "I had not seen that notice board before when parking, which was fixed on the wall of a house and there was a fence between the house and the road."
He discovered his car had been towed by private firm Park Direct and contacted them only to find out he would have to pay a total of £393 -£150 for clamping, £150 for towing and £35 for storage along with VAT- in order to get it back.
"It made me feel awful. I've been living in this country for 40 years and this is the first time this has ever happened, and having to pay all that money is ludicrous."
He paid the full amount and appealed the charges on July 14 but heard nothing.
He sent two further reminders on July 28 and August 11.
On September 2, Mr Ahdan finally received a letter from Park Direct informing him his appeal had been looked into but he would not be entitled to a refund.
In the letter Park Direct employee Lucy Macintosh said: "I understand from your letter that your vehicle was immobilised whilst you visited social services in order to renew your disabled badge.
"Unfortunately, the area in which you left your vehicle is private property unless you have a valid parking permit on display in your vehicle.
"Park Direct has been contracted by the land owners and is under instruction to immediately immobilise and remove any vehicle illegally parked."
The letter added Park Direct attendants are unable to accept any kind of notes and must see a valid parking permit.
Albie Saliba, director at Park Direct said: "We're a professional company and it is the driver's duty to read signs and our signs state immediate clamping and removal."