Predatory Towing – Simply explained, predatory towing is a scam put together by towing companies for the sake of making more money or maximizing their income. Generally, they are known for using spotters to setup a towing for your car the moment you leave it and then charge exorbitant fees for towing and storage. In some cases, people who engage in this nefarious act liaise with store owners and parking lot management to increase their towing income by towing the vehicles of unsuspecting car owners unlawfully and making them pay heavily for the vehicles to be released.
Predatory towing has become a matter of major concern to many people as a result of its growing popularity and in places like Southern California, residents are lamenting the hurt that they are suffering from the prevalent scam. Motorists, prosecutors and lawmakers have found consistent evidence that shows that these towing companies are taking their jobs too far and using it as an excuse to exploit unsuspecting people and the outcry has drawn attention, and has been referred to as a case of “tow trucks on the prowl” in an article published on New York Times.
How to Identify Predatory Towing
Many of the people who have fallen for this scam do not realize it yet and those who do are yet to fully accept it as a prevailing reality. For the people who do not know how to identify this popular scam and those who are yet to witness it, the following are some of the pointers that can be used to identify the scam and we will follow that with some tips on how to handle the case if you ever find yourself in the situation.
- The tow operator would demand for cash as the only wager for the release of your vehicle. This typically happens when you meet them in the process of your parking; tow operators have been reported time and again for demanding cash for the release of towed vehicles.
- The tow operator tows the vehicle without any expressed authorization from the manager or owner of the property. When something like this happens, it should serve as an indication that you are a victim of predatory towing.
- The tow operator does not have the authority or permit to tow vehicles. This is mostly the case for criminals who are not tied to a particular towing company.
- The tow operator demands that you pay a parking ticket which is not authorized by or issued by a government entity. This is a common incident in many instances in places like Southern California.
When you suspect you are about to be a victim of predatory towing, here is what you should do;
- Contact the towing company immediately. It is expected that there be a sign with the information of the towing company or you can demand for the information from the owner of the space. When you get a hold of the management, it helps to threaten them with legal action.
- Another thing you can do is threaten to report the towing company or contact an attorney or law enforcement.