Tow Trucks

06 January 2011 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Today I was going to write about a recent experience whereby I was going to vent my anger and even name drop ( which is not the purpose of this Blog ). Instead I have chosen to tell you a story and you can interpret it as you see fit. On the one hand this story could be a good example of creativity in Enterpreneurship even though illegal and immoral. On the other hand it is an education for those of us who may be faced with similar situations.

Recently while visiting my sister in the Hospital, I found the cost for parking prohibitive. The parking ticket is only good for 2 hours at a cost of $ 8.00. I was spending 8-10 hours at the Hoapital. Nearby there are private parking lots. These parking lots are self serve. You pay your money in a machine and place the ticket on the dash of your vehicle. The cost was $ 5.00 a day. With the absence of an attendant the owner of the parking property makes exclusive arrangements with a Tow Truck Company to regularly patrol the lot for those who do not pay or have expired tickets. This particular Tow Truck Company was a shark to say the least. The second day I parked in this lot, I came out of the Hospital with my 2 sisters to find my truck gone. What a terrible feeling especially after visiting with my sick other sister for most of the day. We read the posted signs to find out where my truck was impounded to. I had paid my fee and did display my ticket in fact because it was a hot and windy day I left my windows slightly open and placed my sunglass case on part of the ticket so it would not blow off the dashboard.

We went to the compound to retrieve my truck and all hell broke loose. First of all the posted cost for the tow was $ 80.00. We argued that I paid the required $ 5.00 and the ticket was displayed. The lot attendant ( who was the owner ) showed us that the ticket was partially covered even though you could clearly see the date and the amount paid. We argued that he was taking advantage of a situation. To add insult to injury, he pulls an additional ticket from the windshield wiper for another $30.00 The ticket resembled what you would get from a Green Hornet ( meter reader ). The ticket said pay immediately to the Tow Truck Company or the amount doubles in 7 days and doubles again in 14 days. We became very agitated and so did he. Then the price started going up to get my truck. The last price was $ 300.00. My sister decided to phone the Police to have this settled and to release my truck. It was getting late I had not had any supper and I am a Diabetic. I needed to eat and take my insulin. My insulin was in a cooler in the truck and he would not allow me to get my medication. He was also about to close for the night. When threatened by the Police visit, he totally changed his demeanor. We paid the $ 80.00 plus taxes but refused to pay the additional $30.00 and did get my truck.

This is where the story gets really interesting. The following day I borrowed a family member’s car, because I did not trust these guys to maybe return and do damage to my truck in retaliation. The next few days, we would go for a walk by this same parking lot and check on what was going on. This Tow Truck Company prowled this parking lot like a wolf waiting to feed on his prey. These guys would check the tickets in the parked cars as soon as the car owner left the parking lot. One guy had a gadget in his hand which we could not figure out what it was. We found out later that some of these companies are known to blow forced air in the vehicles if windows are open to displace the ticket off the dashboard then tow the vehicle away for not properly displaying the ticket.

This Company towed 4 cars in one hour. It was like watching a production line. They also check vehicles for evidence of whether the vehicules are from out of town or not. Then give the out of towners an additional ticket on and above the posted tow charges as if it was a legitimate city parking ticket. Totally illegal !!

The good news is, one of my sisters owns the largest Tow Truck Company in the area ( 34 Tow Trucks ) and has had running contracts over the years with both the City and the O.P.P. She is a reputable owner who is appalled with some of these smaller dishonest Towing Companies. She and the O.P.P. are now charging this company with illegal issuance of tickets and illegally towing of vehicles.

My advice is be very cautious in dealing with Tow Truck Companies. Be aware of your rights and don’t be afraid of calling the Police to settle a dispute. Most Tow Truck Companies are honest Business owners. It is the odd Company that takes advantage and gives a bad name to the whole industry.