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Illegal Towing and Predatory Towing Practices

Illegal towing and predatory towing is conducted by towing companies without the owner's consent. Predatory towers can overcharge, damage vehicles and often have monetary contracts with property owners to illegally tow vehicles from their property.

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Illegal Towing and Predatory Towing Practices

Some illegal practices include patrolling private lots and removing vehicles without the presence of a property owner, refusing to unconditionally release a vehicle to the owner before it has been removed from the private property, and unlawfully taking a vehicle within one hour of parking.

In the past decade, many US states began to regulate illegal and predatory towing. In 2005, a bill was introduced that would allow states such as California to enact legislation regarding towing practices on private property, but towing companies work around the legal system—predatory towers defend themselves by claiming they just have a different interpretation of the rules and hire attorneys to make it almost impossible to represent yourself without a lawyer.

Illegal Towing Laws

For example, a towing company may have a contract with a city police department in which the charge for a tow is $75.00, and the city may have a cap of $200 for private property tows. But your car may be towed from a parking lot for a charge of $400.00. Some unscrupulous towing companies ignore predatory towing laws.

Check your state's towing rules because Illegal towing laws vary. A predatory tower is familiar with the laws but assumes their victims do not know illegal and predatory towing laws. If you know the law and complain, the illegal tower may give you a refund.

Here are a few examples of illegal towing laws:

California

In 2006, Vehicle Code bill AB 2210 came into effect, which protects motorists from predatory towing practices from private property. California law requires the tow company to immediately and unconditionally release a vehicle if the driver arrives prior to it being towed from the private property or in transit.

Oregon

Oregon law requires that the tower release a vehicle at no charge only if the driver is present prior to the hookup being complete. The tower must also take at least one photograph of the vehicle and record the time and date of the photograph. The photograph must show the vehicle violation taking place.

Virginia

Virginia legislation requires warning signs to be posted at all entrances, maximum fees set for towing and storage, and photographs to be taken before towing to show the condition of the vehicle as well as the lawfulness of the towing.

Non Stop et al Illegal Towing Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit was filed against eight towing companies for allegedly towing legally parked cars, charging exorbitant fees, and engaging in predatory towing practices. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Los Angeles residents whose cars were towed while legally parked in Southern California. The suit alleges Non Stop towing and other firms regularly tow cars without reason and overcharge motorists in order to make larger commissions.

"The first thing you think of when you car has been towed is that it has been stolen," says attorney John Bisnar. "Well, getting towed is similar; it might as well be road robbery. All too often, tow companies are holding your car ransom.

"Unfortunately, many tow companies aren't playing by the rules and countless people have had their vehicles towed illegally. Not only does the tow company usually release your vehicle for cash (and usually charges about $300), it also dings hapless drivers for other charges such as $45 per day for storage, an extra $45 fee after 6pm or on a weekend. Again, these charges are not legal."

And why do some companies only accept cash? By law they are required to take credit cards or checks. "I am guessing that they want to conceal the illegal tow and/or income and/or they don't want you to dispute the credit card charge or stop payment on a check," says Bisnar.

Illegal Towing Racket and Scam

Bisnar knows that tow truck drivers get a bonus for towing cars. "We have a former employee from one of these bandit companies with a background so checkered we can't use him as a witness but he gives us information," he explains. "And we also know of this scam: Someone watches the parking lot and calls the tow company and the person who is watching is being compensated by the company for every car towed from that lot."

Illegal Towing Lawsuit

Bisnar is representing a client who was having lunch in a fast-food outlet—he was only there 20 minutes. "We know it was an illegal tow. In fact, there have been tow companies that the LA county district attorney brought charges against for this particular type of action...another client owns a towing company and his own tow truck was towed by his competition! He is flaming mad."

Due to recent illegal towing media coverage, people contact Bisnar's firm daily and many are joining the class action. However, Bisnar can only accept clients with good documentation. "People must be able to substantiate their claims; they need receipts and wherever possible, witnesses," he says.

"For instance, one person we just signed on got his car towed at a specific time-- he has a receipt for a deposit from his bank that proves he was not in the area where his car was towed, 20 minutes before it was towed--meaning his car wasn't parked for an hour. And he paid the tow company by credit card."

If you want to fight the tow company, you won't have your car and you risk paying hefty storage charges --who can afford that? "Illegal towing has become a social issue-somebody has to do something about this," says Bisnar. "Hey, why not us?"

Illegal and Predatory Towing Legal Help

If you have suffered damages in this illegal towing case, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Last updated on Dec-17-14

ILLEGAL TOWING LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Illegal Towing Akin to Extortion
Illegal Towing Akin to Extortion Portland, OR: Illegal towing is by far one of the most frustrating aspects of car ownership—especially in major urban centers where parking access is always at a premium. Motorists who park illegally must face the consequences. However, those who go out of their way to park legally are often hit with an illegal tow and the accompanying extortion that surely follows. Sadly, illegal car towing is reality [READ MORE]


READER COMMENTS

Posted by
nicci
on
I had my utility trailer that was parked on the street in between my house and my neighbors. Per my video camera system, an Officer was caught on Camera marking my tires to my trailer 8/12/15 at 3:03pm then a tow truck towing my trailer at 3:08pm. I was cited for "Parking in front of a driveway" and "Parking more than 72 consecutive hours." this is per Officer. Which again, I have camera's stamped with dates and times showing clearly my trailer being moved every other day. My camera's show my trailer was only parked at that point for only 1 day. I contested this ticket by complying with the Patterson Police Policy and in writing explain why I didn't believe this to be true and submitting my evidence, that they will keep no matter what they decide on. They ask for witness statements and pictures. So I printed out color snap shots of my video and submitted, mind you Patterson Police state they will respond within 48hours of receiving it. Well it has been 8 days and I have called and Patterson Police just tell me that the Seg. might be trying to get the Officers side and he will call me tomorrow, but "Tomorrow never comes" and my bill is getting bigger. I don't have the money to get it out as it's more than $700. Please help. Thanks for listening.

Posted by
Gene
on
Got pulled over had no ins. The tow company was about 5 car lengthbehind were the vihical was they didn't even hook to the truck but hoop in an drove into there lot they charge a tow fee of 310.00 for a tow .How can they charge a tow when they drove it in .what was towed , they never even hook on to it.expert towing in coosbay ore calls that a tow ,wow who gives the people the power to do this. A Oregon state trooper witness the avents an a bystanders.what is the law if a officer saw all this an let them get away with Robert.what's up ore.I thought were exposed to have fair an ajust laws against striking. That teift to me .what do you think

Posted by
JIM
on
PLEASE DONT THROW OUT MY COMMENT DUE TO ALL CAPS. IM JUST 2 DAYS FROM EYE SURGERY AND THIS IS ONLY WAY I CAN SEE WHAT IM TYPING.
MY TRUCK WAS TOWED, AND I WAS NEVER GIVEN ANY DOCUMENTION OF THE TOW COMPANY WHO HAD IT. nO CERTIFIED MAIL, NO REG MAIL.
IT WAS ACTUALLY STOLEN FROM ME BY LAWLERS TOWING IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY LAST mAY 7, 2015. mY FRIEND RAN A CAR FAX ON MY TRUCKS VIN NUMBER TODAY AND MY TRUCK WAS NEVER SOLD AT ANY LIEN SALE. oN JULY 16TH MY TRUCK WAS REGISERED TO A PERSON LIVING 5 MINUTE FROM ME. THE COP WHO HAD IT IMPOUNDED IN MAY REALLY LIKED MY TRUCK. i WAS TICKETED MAY 7TH AND HAD A COURT DATE. TWICE THAT COURT DATE HAS CHANGED. NOW IT IS SEPT 9TH, 2015. SOMETHINGS VERY WRONG HERE.
ANY ATTORNEY OUT THERE WANT TO HELP ME WITH THIS?

Posted by
Ke'jon Daniels
on
This is my second attempt to contact someone and my car has been towed twice since. Is anybody home? I need help by a lawyer experienced predatory towing please.

Posted by
Tyler benefiel
on
I was forced to pay well above legal limits for tow from turnpike. Complaining to turnpike didnt offer any help, they referred me back to magills. Was ordered to go back down for new receipt. While trying to leave i was attacked by owners. I had to break free and run. I was chased through town and assaulted. I have all evidence and towing laws and contracts. Turnpike refuses to acknowledge that i was overcharged, they basically let it happened and offered no real help getting it straightened out. Its like the turnpike is allowing their vendors to charge above contract. Predatory towing laws award treble damages on top of attorney fees. Even if my loss doesnt seem enough, they offer attorneys this incentive to make up for that. I need a lawyer to civilly sue this company for deceptive business practices and for the damages assaulting me, med bills ect. I hope i can convince you to help me threw this and expose this tow comp for their indiscretions

Posted by
Anonymous
on
Was towed nonconsensual from pa turnpike, my wife had flat tire it was gone within 24 hrs of breaking down. I find it at magills auto. Bill was 325.00 i have receipt. The turnpike has their tow prices on their website and in their contract with magill. To tow passenger vehicle should have been 72.00 for tow, 3.50 per mile. Doesnt speculate about storage. My bill was 125.00 for tow plus extra 30 to hookup, 3.50 a mile at ten miles, n then they charged 45 dollars a day for two days when they didnt have it for even 24 hrs, most of which i had no clue it was even towed. Then to top it off the total was still 45.00 above all items listed. When i called turnpike they called magills n magills then called me n told me to come all the way back down for different reciept, when i did they handed me receipt, i asked if they could explain, they said heres ur reciept, theres the door. While walking out i took a pic of there wall of prices because there were no towing prices listed anywhere. A mark magill charged at me for taking the pic i tried to get out door, he grabbed me from behind, at exit door. I spun n broke free n ran. Him and several men from outside chased me down tackeled me drug me to side of road n assualted me kicking my groin n choking me unconscience. Mark then took my phone, went threw it, ripped the case off n smashed it on ground, finally when police arrived they cuffed me n put me in cop car, spent 15 min talking to them, then came to me, wouldnt let me tell him what happened n cited me for harassment n refused to arrest anyone.

Posted by
Anonymous
on
Vehicle towed from private parking lot w/o authorization. "spotters" were used (black vehicle with cameras attached to hood - tented windows. Vehicle towed in excess of 50 miles (law allows tow within 10 miles). Vehicle moved in less than 72 hours without notice. Tow lot operated a Monday thru Friday 9-5 schedule (law mandates vehicle be available 24/7 - no matter reason for tow repo included). Same information reported to police within 1 hour of tow MUST be sent to owner via Certified mail within 3 business days. Unlawful tow no a misdemeanor punishable by $500 fine; 2 months imprisonment or both. Tow fees must be refunded + interest which equals 3 X actual cost to owner. Predatory Tow Law!!!

Posted by
California
on
I was towed from what looked like a parking lot that was actually private property. The property owner has been asked many times to post signs but instead works with the towing company and calls the towing company when her property gets full of cars. She is getting part of the towing fee of $100 for each tow, according to witnesses. I was charged $2,900 plus storage fee of $2,32, because I called the police who said that it was a civil matter and that I should file small claims action against them.

Posted by
Alabama
on
I was towed from what looked like a parking lot that was actually private property. The home owner has been asked many times to post signs but instead works with the towing company and calls the towing company when her property gets full of cars. She is getting part of the towing fee...according to witnesses. Was charged double plus storage fee because I called police.

Posted by
California
on
On Jan 25, 08 @ 6:00pm (yesterday) I parked my car in the visitors parking area at my 70+ unit appartment complex. It was towed away between the hours of 6:00pm-6:45pm. The complex has one sign posted at one of the three entrances to the complex that reads, [homeowners or residents are not to park in onsite parking areas from six pm the evening prior through 9:00pm the day of a holiday. vehicles in violation of weekend and holiday regulations will receive a ticket]. This is my 2nd time being towed from my own home within six months and I never received a ticket. Please help.

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