Towing the Line: Predatory Towing & Your Rights

Traffic Violations - November 10, 2021
Woman upset that her car has been towed away

There have been reported cases of predatory towing all year.

Picture this: You just finished a long, exhausting day, and you’re happy to finally walk to your car to head home. But wait a minute—your vehicle is gone! You notice a note and get a shiver down your spine—it’s been towed. But how? You park in the same spot every day. This has to be a mistake, right?

In tough times, such as during a pandemic, it’s unfortunately common for certain businesses and organizations to seize any cash opportunity they can get their hands on, even if it means taking advantage of other people. That’s exactly what certain towing companies seem to be doing.

For example, there have been multiple incidents of predatory towing in Colorado where tow operators are accused of targeting cars with expired license plates during the pandemic. In many cases, these companies go after those in mobile home parks and apartment complexes, who are more vulnerable in tough times.

This suspicious phenomenon begs the question: What are your rights regarding towing? What do you need to know to protect yourself? Let’s break it down.

You’ve been towed. What are your rights?

All too often, people don’t fight the reasoning for why their car was towed because they aren’t sure what their rights are and don’t know what to do, even if the situation feels wrong.

While state and local laws regarding towing vary, here are some common things to check for when you’ve been towed:

  • If your vehicle was towed from private property, make sure there are signs clearly stating the area is private. While this rule applies in most places, some states allow towing even if there is no sign, such as in the state of Washington.
  • The sign should list the name and number of the towing company.
  • You have the right to collect your possessions in the car, as long as you prove you are the owner.
  • Many areas have mandated that towing companies must accept debit or credit in addition to cash. Check with your local laws about specific policies.

What to do if your vehicle was illegally towed

After you have done thorough research on your state and local laws regarding towing and determined the towing company is in the wrong, here’s what you need to do:

  • Document the scene. Take photos of the vehicle, signs, and surrounding area of the incident. If the tow truck damaged your car, take pictures of that as well.
  • Keep your receipts. If there was a parking meter that you paid, for example, keep this receipt and take a photo of it as a backup.
  • File a complaint with local law enforcement authorities.
  • Get legal protection. Your provider lawyer will understand the specific towing laws in your area to help you minimize the damage and protect your rights.

Talk to your provider lawyer about towing rights

Unfortunately, anyone can get towed. It’s essential to understand your rights if you wind up in this pesty and draining situation so that you can fight for your protection if needed. Your provider lawyer is well-versed in local laws and can help you navigate through your rights regarding towing.

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