19 Feb

Boycott businesses that support predatory towing

I frequently visit the Olive Way Starbucks, right across the street from not one but two of the apartment buildings I lived in during my misspent youth (back then, the Starbucks building contained a Red Robin). When I am at Starbucks, usually studying, I’m always there until closing time—but I usually manage to get out the door right before midnight, because I hate to keep the employees there late. Apparently this tendency has saved me from the predatory practices of TBT Towing, who service the Starbucks parking lot.

Apparently, TBT line up tow trucks there right before closing. At midnight, since the store is no longer open, no one is technically a “customer” any longer, and so TBT starts towing. To the tune of $280 for each car. Of course, Starbucks in general are pretty slack about kicking people out right at closing time (in my experience, anyway), so people have come out of the store a few minutes after 12 to find their cars missing, and TBT laughing all the way to the bank.

Starbucks claims they don’t approve, and I tend to believe them, because there is no way that authorizing this is in their interest. Bad PR for sure, and after closing, there is no need to rush to clear that parking lot. (The real problem there is that during the hours the store is open, the lot is often full, and on-street parking in that neighborhood is a rara avis indeed.)

The real infuriating thing about this article, though, is the “nyah nyah nyah” attitude of the towing representatives quoted, from TBT and from West Coast Towing. Predatory “patrol towing” is against Washington state law, but the companies claim that they can do it anyway and they are going to keep doing it.

From now on I am going to look at the signs in parking lots to see which tow companies the lots’ owners have contracted with. If I see TBT or West Coast, I will avoid giving the merchants my business, and I will tell them why. I hope you will do the same.

(I had this article saved all day yesterday to blog about and never got around to it. Better late than never, I say.)

85 thoughts on “Boycott businesses that support predatory towing

  1. Thank you, Dave! I know that not all tow operators are “on the dark side.” I have been rescued by a tow truck a time or two myself. 🙂 It’s just the rogues that need to be exposed, as you say. Thank you for the perspective and the useful information!

  2. WOW… Thanks for this thread. I just had an agitating evening that almost exactly mirrored Peter in #44. Exactly the same place, too. PCC parking garage. I ran in for 10 minutes to buy some fruit & bottled water, and came out to find a $30 fine for “improper parking.”

    Then I google Diamond Parking to find out that they’ve had class action lawsuits filed against them… This lawyer’s website has some information and newsclippings about Diamond Parking. http://www.hbharti.com/bharti_introduction.php

    I was furious in any event about the parking ticket, because in my opinion, there had been no infraction. I was in a non-reserved spot, within the white lines, (aside from one tire that marginally touched the painted line by 1 inch.)

    This is the email I sent out- and I also sent it to King 5 and Komo4, and I’ll be sending it to PCC, and also to the local congress people.

    To Whom It May Concern-

    On the evening of July 1st, I was visiting a friend in Fremont and stopped by the PCC Grocery for five minutes. I have never parked in this garage before, so I was very cautious to leave my vehicle in a stall that was not reserved. There were several signs that said “90 minutes free parking while shopping.” I also asked another grocery store patron if it was indeed true that there was free parking for shoppers, and she confirmed that this was so.

    After my quick five-minute dash into the store, I returned to find a $30 fee on my windshield for “Improper Parking.”

    The only possible “wrong-doing” I can think of is that my back right tire was barely touching the painted line. If this is a $30 violation, it would be decent of your management to warn patrons ahead of time that slightly skewed wheels will result in financial detriment. I DID NOT SEE ANY SIGNS upon entering or leaving the garage that warned me about your made-up “improper parking” rules. Had I been completely over the line, I could understand the fine, but I was only touching the line with a part of my back tire. Besides that, it was necessary for me to park slightly right of center in the stall, because I was parked next to one of the cement support posts, and had to leave enough clearance on the drivers’ side to open my door and walk out.

    I went back up to the store, and talked to the manager who was very helpful, even though he said that the parking garage was out of PCC’s control. He took my name and number, and also reiterated that SEVERAL of the PCC clientele have aired complaints about the Diamond Parking facility and their overly zealous parking-fine trickery.

    Perhaps you offer ninety minutes free parking so that you can send your staff in to fine your patrons for absurd secret “infractions.” Certainly this is a much more profitable scheme for you, but I find it unscrupulous. It’s a classic “Bait & Switch” tactic. Clearly, this is an ongoing rash of bad business on your part to gain financially from people who are eager to make use of your “free parking” offer.

    I have looked up your business online, and found several mentions of class action lawsuits, and complaints. I am not planning on using a Diamond Parking lot again. This is an absurd fine, and my lawyer has already heard about this as of this evening. If this fee is not waived, I will consider filing a claim against your business. I will not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the Better Business Bureau, and anyone else who might be interested in hearing about it. Furthermore, I will advise my friends & family to not support your parking lots in the City of Seattle or elsewhere. Your business practices are highly questionable.

  3. hello! glad to see people are on the ball against TBT towing -0 and without resorting to name caling, RICK, your business largely survives on victimizing people. i was towed last year from the KFC in CAPITOL HILL. without going into specifics there were more than a few inconsistencies as to why i was towed, when and who authorized it. i dont belive for a second KFC called you and said
    “tow these people”. DO YOU REALLY EXPECT US TO BELIEVE MINIMUM WAGE EMPLOYEES ARE GOING TO WASTE ANY TIME CALLING YOU TO TOW OTHER HARD WORKING PEOPLE?!? please! we all know the scam – youve got a commision deal going with the owners, or property owners to tow at will, and you give them a kickback. when i called KFC they were adamant that they dont care. now i admit that i was wrong – but is it so bad that i was there (in a spot marked “patient parking” no less) till 1 am, in an empty lot? and your “trash and needles” reasoning is complete bullshit. and here’s another kicker that works in TBT’s favor – when i got towed, during my busiest work time of the year, i didnt get around to filing for a hearng til 2 weeks later – guess what? YOU ONLY HAVE 10 DAYS! why is it when the government is doing something for you it takes at least 30 days, but when im fighting for my rights or against a SCAM i only get 10 days? and certainly dont act like youre not OVERCHARGING – i paid you $350 – thats robbery!!! and when the cops came to TBT HQ even THEY said it was ridiculous.
    i cant wait til your ass gets shut down, and i WILL have my revenge…

    so to anyone that found their way here cuz theyre googling TBT and wondering how to get their money back (unless they deserve to be towed, which im sure does happen RARELY):
    FILE WITHIN 10 DAYS FOR A HEARING!!
    TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS!!
    CHECK EVERYWHERE YOU PARK FOR ANY TOWING SIGNS SO THEY DONT MAKE MONEY ON YOU!
    maybe we should start pranking TBT to divert those trucks from their profitable “hot-spots”

  4. I was recently towed on sept. 15 from sunfish fish and chips on Alki at 11:30 at night. I was next door at a bar, and when I came out, my car was gone. After calling tbt, I went to get my car and was told that the owner of the sunfish called because the “dump truck comes at 7 AM to get the dumpster.” I was towed 7.5 hours before the truck came! the sunfish had been closed for a couple of hours, so how did tbt get a call from them? It was also explained to me by the bar manager the the owner of sunfish has a grudge against the bar i was at, and told tbt to come by anytime after sunfish closed and tow any car in the lot. this does not amount to legal authorization, and I will be fighting it. I will be forwarding this case to the WA State Patrol and the King County prosecutor if I find out the sunfish owner was not present at the time of towing, then I will contact all local media about tbt AND the sunfish. If it was legal, then I’m obviously sol…

  5. Well, I went back to the office of tbt towing today to request the paperwork to file an impound hearing, and they refused to give it to me! They also refused to show me the signature of the property owner authorizing the towing of my vehicle. With little recourse, I contacted the P-I reporter investigating tbt, and she told me to contact the DOL. After the DOL, I tried contacting the WA State Patrol Trooper in charge of the tbt investigation, and am now waiting to hear back. If anyone reads this because they’re going through hassles with tbt, DON’T ROLL OVER AND LET THEM DO THIS TO YOU!!! FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE DOL! Hopefully, with enough complaints, the state will get in gear and strip these thieving bastards of their license!

  6. Hi Guys – ran across this discussion down here in Sand Francisco, CA looking up traffic fine info on the web. VERY intersting as I have family in Seattle and Diamond and TBT are really earning reputations that are paralelling what happened years ago in San Francisco, CA. Rick, I guess all I can suggest in this situation is you can certainly do you job well – but you might also consider more doing it right, because if TBT winds up on the front page and in the middle of a bunch of headaches – at last you’ll have a lot of experience to learn from as companies refuse to do business with TBT and you look for a new job. Maybe we can start getting the word out here in San Francisco a little bit by boycotting StarBucks locally here and letting them know we’re doing it because of TBT towing practices in Seattle. We’ve got a few thousand coffee drinkers here we can sway.

  7. Hi Dan,
    Starbucks disassociated themselves from TBT pretty quickly after the ruckus broke out in the press, and later events have indicated that Starbucks probably had nothing to do with the towing — see this post and this post. So boycotting Starbucks probably isn’t necessary in this case. 🙂

  8. mtsnowman, if you read this again… according to the story I linked here, the DoL hasn’t received any complaints about TBT since August 2004! What happened to yours? I can’t e-mail you to ask because you didn’t post with an e-mail address.

    Anyway, for the rest of you who stumbled on this post, the story linked above is the most recent part of this saga.

  9. had a similar experience with being towed after hours in bothell, closed dentist office, local football game (supporting our youth) towed to the tune of 364.00, I’m sure the dentist was there to sign the authorization…. sky valley towing are the crooks this time, will be filing a complaint

  10. We had a problem some years back down in Miami with Predatory Bootings. The boot company would lay in wait and if someone went anywhere before or after shopping there, they would immediately boot the car, and charge some exhorbitant fee – $500 if I remember correctly – to take it off.

    I’ve never had my vehicle towed/booted, but I have received a couple parking tickets. One in 1998 was because I didn’t see the “No Parking” sign, and there were like 20 cars parked there. I ending up paying that one as I was illegaly parked. My parents got one in the University parking lot while we were being shown the campus. The meters only ran for I think 1 Hour [that was the most money they would accept]…and the tour ran slightly over the hour. They found a ticket on their car written only minutes after the meter would have run out. But, alas they never paid it. As it was issued by the college, not the police, they simply never brought that vehicle back on campus.

    The other was in 2002, and I was definitely not illegaly parked. I was taking classes at a state university. During 2002, they began expansion on the dorms, and some of the existing resident spaces were going to be inaccesible. There were at that time two reserved (all the spots were painted blue – residents only – and the lots were specifically posted as residents only) lots for residents. There were two commuter lots equadistant from the dorms. One was on the East side and one on the West.

    The East side one was always full, and it was always difficult to find a space. The one on the West was never full and always had dozens of extra spaces. Guess which one they decided to take spaces from – the East – which made it all the harder to find spaces. But, what they did was repaint all the student spaces blue (resident only), but had left the Green/Yellow (Staff/Professor) spaces unchanged. No sign was placed on the lot designating it as reserved. Presumably, only the Blue spaces were specifically reserved for residents only.

    The parking rules at that time stated there were two reserved lots [and this was not one of them] and that after a certain time in the afternoon, students could park in Green and Yellow spaces [normally reserved for Staff and Professors.] I had a night class. So, since the rules said you could park in any Green or Yellow space after a certain time, and it was past that time, I parked in one of the Green (Staff) spaces in that lot. When I got out of class, I found a ticket on my windshield for “Reserved Lot”. I requested a form to appeal it, and demostrated that 1) the lot was not listed as reserved in the parking rules, 2) there was no sign on the lot indicating that it was reserved, 3) that I parked in a staff space, which under parking rules was allowable after a certain hour, and 4) that the ticket was issued well after that set time.

    They would not let me register for the next semester until I paid [even though it was under appeal,] and since I was a Senior I could normally register on the first day of registration. Not wanting to get shut out of my classes, I checked into it and was told that if my appeal was successfull, they would refund the money. So, I paid. I never heard back about my appeal, and when I checked into it, I found out they had upheld the ticket in some kind of closed-door session which I was never told of nor invited to speak [on my behalf] at. I noticed that most, if not all of the tickets had been upheld.

    My guess is that since I had already paid [under the threat of being shut out of classes, while I waited on my appeal], there was no way in hell they would have ever given me my money back, even if I was legally parked. The next year they put up a sign specifying the lot was reserved.

  11. Well, damn, they made a deal. Too bad, huh? They shoulda put the sonofabitch out of business! Well, this is further proof that the laws are written to protect the business owners, not regular people like us.

  12. Ummm… if a vehicle is removed from a parking space by someone other than the owner and it is done fraudulently and without permission, why is this not Grand Theft Auto?

    If the rules are followed, and the vehicle is legitimately owed, that is one thing. If the rules aren’t followed, it’s vehicle theft – and that’s a felony.

    Just because they are licensed to tow vehicles doesn’t change the fact that misusing the tools they are licensed to use doesn’t give them any more rights than anyone else. I am licensed to cary a gun. I am licensed to use it to defend myself and for safe, authorized recreation. If I misuse that gun and kill someone with it, I’m guilty of murder – license or no license.

    The drivers should be in jail. They are giving legitimate tow truck operators a bad name!

  13. Wow. What a site. Here’s what I’ve seen so far. I’ve seen a representative from TBT towing answer all allegations presented against him in a professional and direct manner. I have also seen almost every poster here who has had their car towed for illegally parking on someone else’s property (hence, violating that persons property rights) use the most revolting and confrontational language in their posts in vain attempts to make everyone understand that they are special and should be allowed to violate others property rights. The people that have had their car towed usually start with some sort of slanderous or filthy remark (like sleaziod) then continue to tell their story on how they parked in one companies lot, then walked across the street to the bar for 40 minutes and them scream bloody murder because they got caught!
    As far as I am concerned, Once I hear “I only parked there for a minute” or “I didn’t see the 2 foot x 2 foot neon sign” that’s as far as the story needs to go. You deserve having your car towed.
    Signs or no signs, just because you own a car doesn’t mean you can park on my lawn, even if it is made out of asphalt! It’s not a horse and you can’t shoot mefor taking it.
    I am continually shocked by people since I started this line of work. I too, own a towing company that impounds peoples illegally parked cars.
    Now, Unlike Rick, I will tell you like it is.
    1.) 98 out of 100 peoples cars that we tow tell at least one ball faced lie in an attempt to get their car back. They will lie to anyone, police, the media, it doesn’t matter. Police in my area always side with me because I am not the one breaking the law, the media always sides with the car owner because they aren’t interested in truth, only newspaper sales and conflict sells papers.

    2.) The sign NEVER says the right thing. Private Parking, Customer Parking Only, NO PARKING, they all mean the same thing, PRIVATE. In other words, if there is no sign that expressly says PUBLIC PARKING FOR EVERYBODY AND ANYBODY AT ANY TIME, then it is a private lot! If you park your car there and leave the property, I’m going to take it.
    3.) Most states do not require any signage whatsoever. The property owners rights prevail no matter what. That is as it should be! I only post signs as a courtesy and a little free advertising for my company.
    4.) It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant and lactating.
    5.) It does not matter if you are unloading groceries in a fire lane with your kid asleep in the back seat!
    6.) Buying a coffee or a burger does NOT give you an all day parking pass.

    I have been in the towing industry since the 70’s. I only just recently started taking on these types of accounts and I have to tell you, I have never seen so many liars and cheats. I have never seen so many people who will go to completely ludicrous lengths to justify why parking their car on my property should NOT cost them. Who do you people think you are anyway?

    Now, here’s some kewl facts that most of you never think of.
    1) BILLIONS of dollars in sales are lost each year to illegally parked cars.
    2) BILLIONS of dollars in parking lot maintenance is spent each year by companies to repair the DAMAGE done by illegal parkers.
    3) Property owners pay FAR MORE property taxes to the local government than you do. They ARE the silent majority and you don’t stand a chance.
    4) Patrol or Predatory towing are terms coined by the media in their never ending pursuit of ‘Jerry Springerism’ (Now there’s a meaningful coined term!). They cannot be properly applied to the towing industry. Those terms would lead someone to believe that we outright steal cars for a living, we do not. We ALWAYS receive a request from someone to tow a car, either by the car owner themselves, a violated property owner or the police.

    MOST parking problems come from zoning officials who allow builders to build parking facilities that are way too small for the expected volume of cars that a new business is going to create. This is usually the result of a payoff. Don’t believe me? Go to the local zoning board in your area and get a copy of the regulations regarding parking spaces required, then drive around town and check it out. I bet you’ll find a ton of larger companies and/or franchise restaurants (like Chipotles, etc) that have access to very large amounts of cash whose parking lots are only 50% or less of whats required by the zoning rules. They knew their customers would just invade the surrounding businesses lots and they really didn’t care.

    The media is the worst problem we face. Selling newspapers isn’t about truth or information anymore, it’s about Jerry Springerism. There’s the story about the lady that parked her car in a fire lane left her son sleeping in the car UNATTENDED, and went upstairs. The car was towed. They discovered the child when they go to the yard. They tried to hang the tow driver for it. Why? because the media attacked the tow company and the driver for stealing this womans child! Now I ask you, who is really at fault? If I was married and my wife left my child sleeping in an open car in a fire lane at night in an apartment complex, I’D DIVORCE HER AND SUE FOR CUSTODY! There was one reporter last year that was fired after it was discovered that he had manipulated the information on a towing story just to sensationalize it. Where did they print the retraction? On page 8583928326453623728 right next to the used tampon ad.

    Property owners. They are put between a rock and a hard place by people like you that think “I am an American, I can park my wheelbox anywhere I want!” They don’t want everyone to think they are bad people but they have to do something. They are losing MASSIVE amounts of money to idiots and their cars.

    By the time most of my customers call me, they are desperate. they have tried putting notes on the cars, didn’t work, they even payed an employee to stand in the parking lot and tell people they can’t park there, usually the car owner flips them off or gets confrontational and leaves anyway daring them to tow their car! In the end they are left with one alternative, getting aggressive and removing the offending cars. That’s where I come in.

    2 minutes or less, wheels turned, backed in, allwheel drive, it doesn’t matter. Once I back up to your car, (I don’t even have to hook it) you owe me $53. I can even take the time to boot it for an additional $50.00, once that’s all done, If you refuse to pay me, in cash, on the spot, I’ll tow it anyway. That will most assuredly push the bill over $250 total. Call the cops, I’ll continue to hook it while you are dialing them, if you haven’t forked over the cash before I’m done, I’ll STILL leave with your car. The cops will arrive, probably after I am already gone and tell you that you just made a VERY expensive mistake.

    As far as Rick and his Starbucks account, it sounds to me like he has a hell of a job there. It would be my bet that NO ONE was ever towed at exactly 12:01 Unless that store was closed, lights off and the employees gone. A MUCH MORE LIKELY SCENARIO is a lying car owner who will stop at nothing to get revenge. As far as the signed invoices issue? I’ll bet all the notoriety scared the local store manager. Probably some cub reporter trying to create his own version of Jerry Springerism made him think he was in some sort of trouble and he lied about the signed invoices to protect his own ass.

    It will all come out in the wash. It always does and I will stand with my tow brother Rick and TBT towing until it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he broke the rules.

    Bill Weihrouch
    Skyline Recovery Systems
    Golden, Colorado
    http://www.skytowing.com
    http://www.towtalk.net

  14. Now, Unlike Rick, I will tell you like it is.

    Lots of hyperbolic assertions with zero facts to back them up from someone who is in the business of collecting extortion fees, erm, “vehicle releae fees.”

    The sign NEVER says the right thing. Private Parking, Customer Parking Only, NO PARKING, they all mean the same thing, PRIVATE. In other words, if there is no sign that expressly says PUBLIC PARKING FOR EVERYBODY AND ANYBODY AT ANY TIME, then it is a private lot! If you park your car there and leave the property, I’m going to take it.

    If you took the time to review the facts, you would know that TBT’s commissioned drivers would (1) lie in wait to (2) tow the CUSTOMER’S cars who were still in the store (3) at 12:01 A.M. when (4) it’s SBUX corporate policy not to boot people out until they’re just about to lock up. Sorry to confuse you with the facts.

    1) BILLIONS of dollars in sales are lost each year to illegally parked cars.

    More unsupported assertions with no facts to back them up.

    Patrol or Predatory towing are terms coined by the media in their never ending pursuit of ‘Jerry Springerism’ (Now there’s a meaningful coined term!). They cannot be properly applied to the towing industry. Those terms would lead someone to believe that we outright steal cars for a living, we do not.

    Well, the DOL found otherwise with regard to TBT. Sorry. And those terms are rightfully applied to sleazebags like TBT and West Coast.

    We ALWAYS receive a request from someone to tow a car, either by the car owner themselves, a violated property owner or the police.

    West Coast Towing didn’t, and were promptly given the smackdown by the Federal courts and the Washington DOL.

    There’s the story about the lady that parked her car in a fire lane left her son sleeping in the car UNATTENDED, and went upstairs. The car was towed . . .

    A non sequitur if there ever was one. It’s a word. Look it up. But then, you’re a tow truck driver, do you have more than a sixth grade education? I doubt it.

    2 minutes or less, wheels turned, backed in, allwheel drive, it doesn’t matter. Once I back up to your car, (I don’t even have to hook it) you owe me $53. I can even take the time to boot it for an additional $50.00, once that’s all done, If you refuse to pay me, in cash, on the spot, I’ll tow it anyway.

    That’s fine, I’ll just sit in the driver’s seat. You can’t tow it with me in it. If you get in my face, you’ll be greeted with a squirt from my oleoresin capsicum canister (that’s “pepper spray”). And booting is illegal in the state of Washington. Nice try.

    It will all come out in the wash. It always does and I will stand with my tow brother Rick and TBT towing until it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he broke the rules.

    You’re not in very good company. He lost his license, but the only reason he’s not working at Wal-Mart like he should is because the laws are written to protect you guys, not us.

  15. “A non sequitur if there ever was one. It’s a word. Look it up. But then, you’re a tow truck driver, do you have more than a sixth grade education? I doubt it.”

    Latin for “it does not follow…” Where’s the confusion there? You don’t park in fire lanes. If and when you do, in most states under the law you are subject to immediate towing. See the connection? Park in a fire lane, get towed. If the fire department has to come in for a fire, and there is a car blocking the way, lives can be lost if they have to contact the manager, get his or her signature, etc. etc. Hence, the ‘immdediate tow’ law in MOST states.

    Most owners of tow companies also tow, and most of us have a degree in business. First you complain about things being said without any backup, then YOU say essentially “All tow truck drivers are under educated.” Where is the study for your fact?

    “That’s fine, I’ll just sit in the driver’s seat. You can’t tow it with me in it. If you get in my face, you’ll be greeted with a squirt from my oleoresin capsicum canister (that’s “pepper spray”). And booting is illegal in the state of Washington. Nice try.”

    Do that. You can be arrested for trespass if you do so, and can get a ride in the back seat of the police car. Pepper spray would be another charge of assult.

    Bottom line, if you don’t own the spot you are parking on, you are parking on someone’s property. If they call me to come get you, and sign the necessary form for me to do so, I will tow. That’s my job. It’s interesting, when I show up to help you on the road–give you a jump, or change your tire, or tow you to the dealer to get it fixed–I’m a hero. When I tow your car that you left at one business to go to another business, suddenly I’m a SOB. Same truck, same person, same job. Strange indeed.

    Oh, and to answer a question from several posts back that I didn’t see answered:

    #9 Miss Lugo says:
    May 5th, 2004 at 7:33 am
    “One other note! WHO is the “authorized” person from Starbucks or any other business that makes the decision and signs an agreement saying the vehicles can be towed? I’d like to see a paper trail and find out how someone is authorized by a company to make such a decision!!!”

    The person authorized to call and sign by the owner of the business, in most cases is the shift manager. Usually the owner will tell us who is authorized when they first contact us to care for their lot. We don’t want to get into any arguments between employees or customers either. We (or at least speaking for myself, but it seems to be common practice) don’t take calls to tow from just anyone, but only those authorized to call. In the case of an apartment complex, it would be the owner or manager, not just one of the tenants mad because their space is occupied. Again, the ones authorized are set up in advance.

  16. My situation is similar to #44 and #52. Last week I parked at the PCC lot in Freemont for about 10 minutes, only to come back with a $30 ticket on my windshield. I got out of my car and relized that my two right tires were BARELY touching the white line dividing the parking spots. It was late in the evening and there weren’t many cars parked there, and I certainly wasn’t preventing anyone else from using any other parking spaces.

    I called Diamond Parking to complain and they said since it was my first ticket, they would do me a “courtesy” and drop the ticket.

    There have been many complaints about Diamond Parking and for good reason – to give someone a $30 ticket for something so petty – that a tire was touching a white line is ridiculous. We need to tell PCC and any other companies that use Diamond Parking that the situation is unacceptable, and that we will no longer do business with them as long as they use Diamond Parking to zealously patrol their lots.

    I recommend writing to this person at PCC and tell her what you think about them using Diamond Parking:

    Public Affairs Manager, Trudy Bialic: trudy.bialic@pccsea.com

  17. Correction to post #66:

    The proper person to contact at PCC for Diamond Parking complaints at their stores is:

    Diana Crane, Community & Public Relations Manager: Diana.Crane@pccsea.com

    After I complained to them about Diamond Parking’s overzealous parking enforcement, here is the response I received from her:

    We have heard from other shoppers that parking enforcement in the garage seems to be more stringent than necessary, but there is also some justification for it being so. The reality is that PCC is one of several Epi Building tenants and as such we don’t set the rules for use of the limited number of spaces in the parking lot, or monitor their compliance. We have tried to warn our shoppers about the parking restrictions through posted signs, and both our Fremont store director and I have been assured by the local manager of Diamond Parking that he is working with parking lot monitors regarding their judgment in issuing citations. It can be a tough call for the monitors in that improper parking on the part of some customers truly does prevent the use of adjacent spots by others, and as Diamond Parking employees they are trying to fulfill their obligation to maximize available parking for customers of all building tenants.

  18. Hi, I need help with a TBT Towing situation. I was recently about to get my car towed but got there before they could hook it up to their truck and take it away. I parked on private property and told the owner it was there and they said it was ok. Apparently, he got my car confused with someone else that left they car without permission and called it in to get it towed. When I got there, the owner told the truck driver that he wanted to retract the authorization to tow the car but he wouldnt do it. So do escape the hassle, i just paid the $217 and want to request an impound hearing…now, what am I suppose to do? Thanks in advance for all of those who can help!

    –Leyla

  19. Leyla, there was a message further up on this page that said:

    “…Every person is afforded due process through an impound hearing and the tow truck company MUST give the person redeeming a vehicle an impound hearing request form. If you do get towed, and you think it was wrong, request a hearing and you get to bring the people who had you towed into Court. If you prevail, the court will award you the impound fees, filing fees and loss of use (currently defined as $50 a day).”

    Someone else, though, mentioned that when they were towed by TBT, TBT refused to give them a copy of the form. Have no fear — the form is on the DOL website: Impounded Vehicle Hearing Request Form. But you only have 10 days to submit the form, so do it now! It sounds like you have a pretty good shot at getting your money back!

  20. Thanks litlnemo!!
    I have been on the phone all morning since today is the 10th day of when I got my car back. I finally got a hold of someone who knew a little about the whole process and was in charge of the towing that takes place on public property. Since mine was on private property, he said he didnt know details but to go ahead and file the request for the hearing since the tow truck driver didnt provide me with proper documentation when I paid for my car. Apparently, not only are you suppose to get a receipt (or an invoice) but also a form stating that we have a right to a hearing aka right of redemption when they tow our car and they release it (like the other person said). So aside from them ‘trying’ to tow my car and not releasing it at the property owner’s request, they didnt follow procedure. Hopefully this all comes out positively….for me. Thanks again for all of your help and thanks for that link.

  21. My husband and I were a victim of predatory towing we live in Westward Look Apartments in Arvada Colorado. Our trailer was towed by Max Towing on March 17 due to our tag being expired. We found out that Colorado Law has a 30 day grace period on expired tags(my grace period would have ended on 3/22/06). I had the tag in my possession but with the unfavorable weather conditions we did not put the tag on. Basically I would have had to stand on ice and try to put a tag on. We did not know the trailer was towed until we got a certified letter from the tow company. It is not like you check to make sure your trailer is there everyday unless you use it for work. The bill was $370.00!!! The apartment people and the trailer people were very rude I did get rude back at them. I am writing a letter to the district manager of the property I want my money back and I want this predatory towing stopped. Residents pay too much money to live here to have this happen. I will let you know what happens.

  22. omg, I can’t believe this post-response is still going on!
    My friend recently was towed (last night 1am) in Atlanta. They were in a restaurant across the street from a lot they parked at in downtown for less than ten minutes when half their group ran outside because one yelled “My car is moving!” (he had GPS and got an alert). The lot was full when they entered the store, and almost deserted when they exited. Turns out the stoolies were this guy/girl spotter couple in a car at the lot.

    Thing is, Georgia rules state (in the application for a nonconsensual towing license) that:

    “Surveillance of Private Property:
    It is illegal to enter into any agreement to provide automatic or systematic surveillance of a property for the purpose of removing trespassing vehicles or property. O.C.G.A. § 44-1-13(f) states that towing companies must be called by the property owner or authorized agent for each individual case of trespass. It is the Commission’s suggestion that wrecker services have the property owner/agent sign a statement or invoice authorizing the removal.”

    And Auto/Systematic Surveillance includes:
    “-Any agreement, verbal or written, to drive through a property and remove any vehicle which has been tagged with a warning or a notice by the property owner/agent unless the wrecker service has been contacted to remove the
    – Any agreement, verbal or written, to drive through a property and tag certain vehicles with warning notices (such as vehicles without proper parking decals, invalid tags, etc.) and the remove the vehicle after the warning has expired.
    Only the property owner/agent can identify vehicles for removal.
    – Any Power of Attorney or contract between the wrecker service and the property owner/agent to automatically remove vehicles parked on the premises of an abandon or vacant property without being contacted by the property
    – Entering a restaurant or other place of business, asking the patrons to identify their vehicles, and then impounding any vehicle not claimed by a patron or employee.
    – Impounding any vehicle left in the parking lot after business has closes its doors for the evening.
    – Having an agreement with an employee of a business, who has not been authorized by the property owner (clerk, security guard, waitress, etc.) to contact you for when they observe a possible trespassing vehicle.”

    I think a couple thats just sitting in a car, when a store has been closed for 8 hours, do not count as agents or even principals who are authorized to call a service out to a lot that is not there.

    A final note for my friend’s bad luck: We speculate his car was specifically targeted among others because he ran Florida tags since he was only there for a special tournament going on that weekend, and that the company knew he would be more desperate to reclaim his auto.

    My limited research to georgia nothwithstanding, I’ll be doing some digging on Florida’s own regs, because I will be damned if I’m not prepared to fight the wrecker service when my time comes, with the army of FL trials behind me.

  23. I know that this towing situation took place in Seattle but most states have similar laws and city or county regulations governing towing companies. In fact many laws or regulations are just copies from other states or cities that have tried it first.

    I was towed in San Francisco. I researched the law and got my money back. Then I decided to help others by posting a primer on Illegal Towing Practices or Predatory Towing as it has become known on the Web. It is quite comprehensive and probably paralells many of the situations you have had happen to you. You can find my site at http://sftow.blogspot.com/

    Probably the biggest unknown fact about predatory towing is that in most situations the law requires the owner of the property where the car is parked, or his designated representative, to actually be PRESENT at the time of the tow. This means if you car was towed from a bank parking lot at midnight the bank manager or his representative must have actually been present in person when the tow truck hauled your car away. The chances of this happening are slim or none.

    Read my blog for all the law you will need. Then just check these California provisions, both City and State, against your City and State provisions. It is fairly simple. Most everything is on line so you don’t need to make a trip to the law library or to city hall. Good luck.

  24. Hi,
    This thread was quite interesting in light of my recent run in with TBT. It was in Donna’s parking lot like one of the previous posters. I’m unsure if I really have a legal case, but I know I feel that TBT runs a very unethical business. If I can’t get my $350 I would like them to lose $350 in business, so I have posted reviews/complaints about them on my3cents.com plantfeedback.com judysbook.com and ripoffreport.com. I thinks its worth the time, because you may not get any response from the company, but at least there will be some bad press out there for them.

  25. I am not a lawyer but I know more about laws impounding cars than most of them. To impound a car on private property you must have proper signage. The towing company must have a contract with the business or property owner they must have rights to that property etc. Many times there is a third party (which must ne liscenced)parking service like the Jack in the Box on 50 th and Univercity Way. In either case there only individual persons listed on the contract have the power to impound a car and they must be present and witness the car on the property. As said earlier a tow company does not have blanket right to tow a car. See RWC 46.55.120. My advice is park on the street it is easier to beat a police impound much less than a parking ticket and cheaper than a private impound.

  26. Is there any way you can look at my blog – posted in #78 – and if you think as I do that this is valuable information, move it to the top of your web site so more people can get the help they need if their car was wrongfully towed? Thanks

  27. Csr booting is alive and well in Atlanta, GA

    Going shopping for a new phone? Think twice about where you go.
    August 25, 2007

    RE: 3400 Woodale Drive, Atlanta, GA 30326

    The representatives were quite helpful when I brought a friend of mine to shop for a new phone and service with this wireless carrier. As I have had wonderful service for many years, I gave her the highest referral to become a customer. I however, was not prepared for having my car booted and having to pay for a $50.00 fine for visiting the store. We had 2 cars, and after visiting the store walked across the street to have lunch with plans to return to the store to select the plan we discussed over lunch.

    I am livid that a Car Booting is a viable business in Atlanta. The car booting guy lived up to his highest potential in getting this position.

    Today I received the education on what car booting is and how expensive it can be. Rest assured, I will NEVER visit this store location or strip mall again. Atlanta needs to know that walking into a wireless store can cost you $50.00.

  28. Dear Rick Widrow,

    Do not try to point the finger at someone else. You are thief. You steal cars and extort money from people. It is very simple. I cannot walk into Wal-Mart and take a DVD player because the bathrooms aren’t clean or some other idiotic violation. Why should you be able to take a car and force them to pay an exorbant amount to get it back? The fact of the matter is that you are a tow truck driver/owner which requires no skill, knowledge, expertise, etc. You are a low life that is a detrement to a society of honest hard-working people and you belong in prison.

  29. I’m going to ask that people keep this on a higher level of discourse, please. Also, Tommy, this discussion was a long time ago, so I’m not sure that Rick is reading it anymore. You might as well go to his website and send e-mail.

  30. hey im taking tbt to court and i see you need to put your email in above but no ones emails are available… this company charged me 500$$$ yesterday to get my car out of their impound and it was there for less then 3 hours towed from a spot with ZERO signs saying i cant park there before 5 (because iv been there same parking spot almost every day for a year after 5 pm) so I have pictures and everything i need the guy charged me a redicules price my cars barely worth 500 2 more times!!!

    i would love some of these peoples emails if the blog owner has access

    thanks

    -Ian (digitalinklive@Hotmail.com) email me your statment with name and number at the end need as many as possible

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