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Car Got Towed...Can they really charge this?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I parked my car on a street near my dorm last weekend. I came back yesterday and there was construction going on, and my car was towed (I walk and use public transit generally). I call the tow company, and they say it's going to be $245 to get my car back. I'm a broke college student, so I plead with the guy and point out that I really had no clue of the upcoming construction, and he admits that the sign wasn't placed there until Monday. He still refuses to even give me a discount.

Do I have any recourse here? I really don't have the extra cash for this bullshit right now.

Thanks!
JD
post #2 of 18
Towing companies may be regulated in the rates they charge by your state. You should be able to find this on some state websites (I've found them on an iPhone while at the tow yard btw).

Google "predatory towing" and your states name for a good state

Also, try and find out who puts the sign up. Maybe your university dept of public safety or whatever. You basically weren't given notice that this was a no-parking zone. See if they will talk to the tow company. Try and talk it out. Ultimately you will probably get screwed, unless you roll the dice with small claims court and also get your court costs paid for.

Here is Connecticut's, for example:
http://www.ct.gov/dmv/LIB/dmv/20/29/K-11.pdf
post #3 of 18
Check your state laws towing companies are infamous for using illegal practices. There are limits to what each compay can charge but that varies from state to state. Make sure that the signs are still posted now. It isn't an uncommon practice for towing companies to add or take away signs for certain areas. Two weeks ago there was a major towing "scandal" in my city, where a large number of cars were illegally towed.

- FYI. Get your car out as soon as possible. They charge storage fees which can be something like $25 a day.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Whoops forgot to clarify the timeline, which I think is ridiculous. I park my car Sunday. They put up sign Monday. They tow car Tuesday. Is there some regulation here?
post #5 of 18
Find out what governmental agency regulates the towing companies. Call them and explain your situation. They should be able to tell you what your rights are. For example, in NYC, the Department of Consumer Affairs licenses towing companies, sets their rates, and says what they can and cannot do. There should be something similar to this in your jurisdiction.
post #6 of 18
There are regulations about how much notice the city needs to give before they can authorize car-towing. Best bet is to talk to city hall immediately and get it straightened out.
post #7 of 18
I think your best bet might be the campus parking office (assuming you were parked on campus).

A. They usually contract a tow company to work the school, so they have more leverage in telling the tow company what to do.
B. They may have more sympathy as long as you dont come off as a wanker entitled student.
C. If they dont do something about it you can take it higher to your advisor, the dean, etc...

I had a similar situation where I parked my car then stayed on campus for about 2 weeks so didnt need it & didnt even walk by it. I came back to find out that campus building services had decided to do some spur of the moment work on the drains and had my car towed for access. They had put a note on my windshield one day before, then just called in the truck.

Parking services was totally sympathetic, called the tow company and bitched them out, called the building services guys and made them drive me to go pick up my car. The guy that ran the parking office was going to tell the building services guys to wash my car because it had the wax pencil towing writing on the windshield, but I thought that might be a bit much.

K
post #8 of 18
You own a car and you're a student? Wow. You're loaded.
post #9 of 18
I got towed once while visiting a friend at another school. Similar situation, I parked where they were going to do construction (no signs or other warnings, maybe it was emergency construction, I don't know). The parking services had all the cars towed to the stadium parking lot rather impounded. No fee, no problems. I just called parking services and asked how I get my car back, and before I could even say something about not being illegally parked, she told me to go to the stadium lot and look for my car there.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by J Darnielle View Post
Whoops forgot to clarify the timeline, which I think is ridiculous.

I park my car Sunday.

They put up sign Monday.

They tow car Tuesday.

Is there some regulation here?


I don't think you can do anything about it. The put the sign a day before they towed the car. Which technically means that you were obligated to move it.

However, since you say you usually walk and use public transit I'm presuming you didn't walk by or use your car on monday so you probably never saw the sign. I would say it's tough luck. If you are lucky or persistent (pursuing some of the advice given before me) you may get a discount but I don't think you have major recourse.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by J Darnielle View Post
Whoops forgot to clarify the timeline, which I think is ridiculous.

I park my car Sunday.

They put up sign Monday.

They tow car Tuesday.

Is there some regulation here?

Sorry, but this seems pretty reasonable to me. It essentially indicates you were given 24 hours' notice. I'm not sure where else you can draw the line when it comes to "but I was parked there before the sign went up." 24 hours? 48 hours? A week?

Ask your parents for the money. This was not you being a stuident college student (dad, I need bail money 'cause I got caught smoking weed on the campus lawn), it's unfortunate timing.


b
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdawson808 View Post
Sorry, but this seems pretty reasonable to me.

In most cases yeah, but many college students have cars on campus for going home / occasional use, but dont use them more than once a week. Frequently you have to park in out of the way lots, which you cant check daily. I think schools should (and many do) understand these circumstances and make allowances.

Anyways, there might be something in your parking permit agreement which says lays out this kinda stuff.

Good luck..

K
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by VKK3450 View Post
In most cases yeah, but many college students have cars on campus for going home / occasional use, but dont use them more than once a week.

I would completely agree with you on this general point about parking in a college lot, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Darnielle View Post
I parked my car on a street near my dorm last weekend.

That sounds to me like a city street. That means city rules. It's a tough lesson, but one that, in my experience, college students have to learn: the rules off campus apply to you even if you are a student.

[With the note that the OP has not suggested he shouldn't have to follow the rules, he's just looking for some sympathy from the city. Nothing wrong with trying.]

b
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdawson808 View Post
Sorry, but this seems pretty reasonable to me. It essentially indicates you were given 24 hours' notice. I'm not sure where else you can draw the line when it comes to "but I was parked there before the sign went up." 24 hours? 48 hours? A week?

Ask your parents for the money. This was not you being a stuident college student (dad, I need bail money 'cause I got caught smoking weed on the campus lawn), it's unfortunate timing.


b
Why does it matter how long he was parked there before the sign went up? In either case he was still given only 24 hours notice.
post #15 of 18
I worked for roadways maintenance in my city in Alberta and the notice that they required was equal to the amount of time you were allowed to leave a car on the street without being moved, which was, I think 72 hours.

So, when we put out temp no park signs, this is how much notice was given (I presume by law). further, they usually would just tow around the corner or something rather than impound. they called it a courtesy tow. Even when the jerks had lots of notice.
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