A simple mistake of where you park could cost you hundreds of dollars, but experts say there are things you can do to protect yourself and your wallet.
It’s a sight no driver ever wants to see: his or her car being towed away on a tow truck.
But most drivers don’t do anything about it, or at least they don’t know what can be done to protect their cars and their pocketbooks.
“If you believe you have been harmed or wronged in any way, go ahead and make payment for such tow. Upon completion of payment, then you have every right to make a complaint to an agency, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulatory Commission. Go down to the courthouse, and you can talk to the county attorney’s office, go to the police station, talk to chief of police, there are different avenues available to you depending on what the situation is,”said Vice President of Apollo Towing Company Mike Staff.
Motorists can help put an end to wrongful towing, but knowing the law is key. For example, what can you do if your car is already hooked up?
“If your car has been completely loaded, then the city ordinance calls for a drop fee, and that fee is set at $50 by city ordinance. They must receive your payment at $50 and must drop your vehicle. Now if your car has not been loaded, and it is in the process of being loaded or just showing up, they must leave you alone and cannot ask for any payment whatsoever, if they do, they are wrong,” said Staff.
If your car ends up in a tow lot, keep in mind, the law is clear that the tower must receive cash or some type of electronic payment such as a credit card, debit card, or bank card.
“Every tower is required in the state of Texas to receive one of those two options as form of payment, and both have to be available to you, not one or the other, and they must receive both. So if you have a bank card, and you want to pay by bank card, and you have the money in your account, and they tell you they can’t receive it, they are wrong, and they are setting you up for failure,” said Staff.
Now, if your vehicle gets towed from your apartment complex, make sure your read your lease carefully.
“They should tell you in theory of transparency and professionalism; it should be clearly divulged and explained to you, and that doesn’t always happen. So if you have questions, ask those questions and try to get those answers in some form of writing,”said Staff.
As for private property tows, they actually fill a need in our community.
“You wouldn’t be able to find a parking spot in most of your shopping centers, and you wouldn’t have a place to park in most of your apartment complexes, as vehicles would be leftabandoned with no means of opportunity to move them legally and lawfully,”said Staff.
Here is something to keep in mind, if your car is towed, the tower must report it to the police department in the first two hours.
In the near future, Corpus Christi will be getting a new service called “Find My Car”. This will be a website that will have a list of all the cars that have been towed in our area. Just log on, and you will be able to find your car. Cities like Houston and San Antonio have already started using this service.
If your car is in the process of being towed, here are a few solutions:
1. Record the towing that’s taking place on your cell phone.
2. Take several pictures of where you parked
3. Before parking, always be sure to read the signs carefully
4. Never chase a tow truck. You can follow them to the storage facility