Tourist Information Guide

Car Impounding in Barcelona - What to do to recover your car

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This page will explain exactly what you need to do if your car has been impounded. But first let's set the scene for the day your car disappeared without a trace.

You're in a hurry, you know you shouldn't park in that restricted area, but you're late for an appointment, "besides", you reassure yourself, " I'll only be a few minutes". You lock your car, you hesitate for just a moment, give your car a little tap, " I'll be back soon, don't worry" and then you're off to your appointment.

Fifteen minutes later your return to find that your car has gone. "No, I can't believe it" you scream, "someone has stolen my car"! You walk over to the open space where your car once was only to find a curious yellow triangle on the road. Suddenly you realise what has happened. Your car hasn't been stolen it's been towed away by the friendly Barcelona car impound service.

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This was the experience of one of my friends recently, and this page will explain what to do when you are faced with that wide open space on the road where your car was naughtily parked.

The first thing you will notice is that there is a yellow plastic triangle on the road where your car was parked. On this triangle will be a telephone number which you need to dial to find which impounding station your car has been towed off to.

When you call the helpline, you will find the impound service have operators that can take your call in 4 different languages: English, French, Catalan and Spanish. If you speak a different language other than these, you can send your enquiry via email, and someone will respond.

Once you make your call the attendant will tell you which impound station your car has been hauled off to. They will also tell you the fine you will have to pay to have your car recovered. Ouch, suddenly making that late appointment has become quite expensive. They will give you exact instructions on what you need to do to recover your vehicle.

Next you will need to take along your identification with your - passport or identity card along with the vehicle registration documents that prove you are the owner of the vehicle.

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If you can't prove that you own the car by producing the vehicle registration documents you could be in trouble. The car impound will not release your car until you can prove ownership. If it is a hire car, you will need the car rental paperwork. If you work for a business, you could have the business fax through the registration documents to the impound office if you do not have the ownership papers with you.

Once you have the correct identification and paperwork you need to make sure you have the means to pay the fine. This would be either via cash or credit card. You then make your way to the designated impound office and reclaim your car. You will also have a sticker stuck across your windscreen that can be difficult to remove so perhaps bring along a scraper to help remove it.

Now you're back in your car on your way home relieved that at least your car had not been stolen. "I will never again park in a restricted area in Barcelona city centre" you say to yourself. And with good reason, because now you know around every dark corner near restricted parking zones is a stealthy but efficient car impound serviceman just waiting for his next victim.

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