The state is trying to shut down TBT Towing, accusing them of forgery and poor record-keeping. TBT could become the state’s second tow company to lose a license because of fraud.
See the previous posts about TBT and “patrol towing” here and here.
dispatchers that lie to make a bonus didnt help i enjoyed the job not the stupidity of people .i always had a signed slip before hooking
I received a letter from Parking COntrol Services, Inc. threatening many things for the upaid violation which is ridiculous. They are saying “Due to recent legislative developments, PCS is goig to aggressively pursue collection of this outstanding parking notice. Your account has been referred to a towing company, and the towing company has been instructed to locate and TOW your vehicle beginning in 10 days.” Then then refer to a towing number?
Can they do this if it goes unpaid? I refuse to send them my money!!
Thanks for the advice.
Do you mean “Parking Control Services” or “Parking Control Systems”? I couldn’t find anything about the former, but I found this about the latter:
“…A contract between Parking Control Systems and the state allows it to get current addresses for vehicle owners through license plate numbers, which the company then uses to make collection attempts.”
This was at the end of a P-I article about companies that clamp cars. I notice that it doesn’t say they can tow your car, and I would tend to think they might not be able to go that far, but I could be wrong… I think you should definitely look into this. Does their letter cite the specific authorization they have for this, not just “recent legislative developments”? You might contact your legislator, City Councilperson, etc. The State Dept. of Licensing licenses and regulates towing companies, so you can also contact them. You might even contact the author of the P-I article that mentions PCS, and see if she will tell you what that state contract is all about. My Google search for info hasn’t found much.
Found this post from a search engine while looking for information after having my car towed illegally by TBT from a city right-of-way (public property) in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle, at the behest of a business owner who believed that the city-owned area behind his building was his own reserved parking space.
According to Seattle’s municipal code, a vehicle can only be towed from public property if it has been given a citation and a tow notice by Seattle Police or Parking Enforcement. Private tow companies can only tow from private property, such as a parking lot, without authorization from police.
I have a hearing to contest the validity of the impound, which I’m sure I’ll win. But what makes me upset is that even if I ‘win’ the hearing and my $350 is returned to me, TBT towing still gets paid! A judgment is simply issued against the person who authorized the tow to be paid to the towing company. Basically, these jackals are towing vehicles from public property with no authority, knowing full well that they have none, and still end up getting paid.
I’ll post the results of my hearing and the magistrate’s response to my righteous indignation here, if anyone is interested.
Please do post the results here! I’m definitely interested.
I will be sure to. This is now the second time in 6 weeks that my vehicle has been towed from public property by a private tow company without authorization from a law enforcement official. The previous offender was Lincoln Towing, and my hearing to contest the validity of the tow is scheduled for 8/2/06.
Looking through a number of other forums on your site I found the following quote from Rick Woodrow (https://slumberland.org/wp/2004/03/06/no-sympathy-for-the-tow-trucks/), dated March 24th, 2004 at 12:09 am.
“There are two types of impounds in Washington State. Private and
law enforcement. If an impound is done from public property ONLY a law
enforcement official can authorize the impound. Private impounds consist
of those impounds on private property such as land owned or leased by
business owners or home owners.”
My vehicle was towed by TBT from property which is public right-of-way owned by the city of Seattle without proper authorization by a law enforcement official.
I already knew this to be true because I’ve carefully read the RCW, but it’s great to see that the manager of the towing company whose improper impound I’ll be challenging in Seattle District Court knows it as well.
I am writing letters now to the City Council, Seattle Department of Transportation Parking Enforcement, Washington Department of Licencing, and the Washington State Patrol to advise them of this illegal practice by TBT Towing.
I won’t be satisfied with simply getting my money back any longer (now up to about $700 out-of-pocket). I would like to see the authorities crack down on this practice and, ideally, prevent these tow companies to profit in any way from impounds that clearly violate the terms of RCW 46.55 covering Towing and Impounds.
(from RCW 46.55.010 – Definitions)
(4) “Impound” means to take and hold a vehicle in legal custody. There are two types of impounds — public and private
(a) “Public impound” means that the vehicle has been impounded at the direction of a law enforcement officer or by a public official having jurisdiction over the public property upon which the vehicle was located.
(b) “Private impound” means that the vehicle has been impounded at the direction of a person having control or possession of the private property upon which the vehicle was located.
Follow up: My impound hearing vs. Lincoln Towing and the business owner who authorized the tow happened yesterday. I had previously obtained an official aerial photograph of the area which displays exact property lines, building outlines, etc from the very helpful folks at the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, which clearly showed that the spot from which the vehicle was towed is on public property.
When I presented the aerial photo along with the relevant excerpts from the RCW (Revised Code of Washington), the judge made her decision in my favor immediately and a judgment was issued against the person who authorized the tow for the total impound and storage amount, as well as the $53 court filing fee.
I have since spoken with Seattle Dept of Transportation Director, Frank Nelson, who confirmed that this practice is illegal in the state of Washington. Because I had already recovered my vehicle, however, it could not be pursued as a criminal case – once I got the car out of impound it became a civil matter. If it ever happens again, he advised, you should not pay to recover the vehicle yourself, but rather report it to the Police and have them chase it down.
I have another hearing, not yet scheduled, for the second incident. I’ll post again here once the results are in.
Thanks for the follow-up. Good job with the documentation!
“If it ever happens again, he advised, you should not pay to recover the vehicle yourself, but rather report it to the Police and have them chase it down.” — I imagine most people are just worried about getting their cars back, so they pay.
Persistance pays off! I had contacted the Seattle P-I reporter who had written other articles about shady towing practices in Seattle when this first happened. She ended up writing a story about it that got a fair amount of attention.
That spun off into a story that king5 news picked up yesterday about buisness owners putting up threatening illeagal signs:
And that prompted this follow up story today – it seems the Seattle Police are putting the clamp down on this practice. Excellent…
The bit most relevant here:
“Seattle police officer Sean Whitcomb also said TBT towing, which has signs in the area, has no right to tow cars from Seattle public parking spots. The city uses ABC and Lincoln towing companies.
If your car is towed from what you think is a legal parking spot, call.
“We recommend that people don’t become towing martyrs,” he said. IGive police a call and they will investigate whether the parking sign is legal or not. “
It is very true some of the towing companies around are bad. I have been a towing dispatcher for almost 8 years and have seen a lot of bad things happen to people because they do not know the towing rcw. When i am at work i can control what goes on as far as prices and impounds but when my sleezzy cheating boss answers the phone it is a whole diffrent game he will cheat you anyway he can. It is very sad to say that i work for such a shit hole. But by the time am finished here he will know what karma really is. I really wish trooper hilton would see through the lies this man tells him during inspection. Well i do not know everything but doing this for so long i know alot of the rcw and what can and cant be done any questions oh and tbt the owner he is neck n neck with my boss. But there are some good towing companies like petes towing and lang towing.
Everyone becareful parking downtown during peak time they will ticket and impound the meter will still take your money during this time do not be tricked. Also those tickets the metermaids give you pay them there is a law called scofflaw on your 4th unpaid ticket your car gets impounded even if you got all 4 the same day so watch out. Email question fireygiirl@aol.Com
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