The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are investigating claims that tow truck companies in Tampa are engaging in predatory towing practices and overcharging drivers whose cars they impound.
Tow companies are supposed to impound vehicles that are parked illegally or partially block roadways, sidewalks, or driveways. In Hillsborough County, tow companies are required to photograph evidence of your vehicle’s parking violation. In addition, if you are towed from a parking lot, there must be proper signage on the property in every entrance stating that the property is a tow zone affiliated with a certain tow company.
Our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are investigating a potential class action against tow companies that are improperly impounding cars or charging improper fees that they are prohibited from collecting.
What Is Predatory and Improper Towing?
Predatory towing is the practice of unaffiliated private towing companies towing illegally parked cars in private parking lots, in order to extract high towing fees. Towing legally parked cars is another facet of predatory towing.
To find out if you were illegally towed, ask:
- Were there signs at the entrance and exit to the lot displaying the warning, “tow-away zone”?
- Were there signs informing drivers where their towed car was stored and the phone number for the company, or signs indicating that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense?
- Were you towed after properly paying to park in a private lot? (i.e. not informed to display receipt on your dashboard)?
- Did you contact the police, but the wrecker company had not notified the police about the tow?
- Did you receive a detailed, signed receipt at the time of payment?
In addition, some towing companies are charging improper or excess fees, in violation of state and county laws, before allowing the owner of the vehicle to reclaim it. To find out if you were charged improper or excess fees, ask:
- Were you charged an “after-hours” or “gate” fee even though you retrieved your car within 3 hours?
- Were you charged an “after-hours” or “gate” fee even though you retrieved your vehicle during normal business hours?
- Were you charged for storage fees, but retrieved your vehicle within 24 hours?
- Were you charged for “special equipment” when no special equipment was used?
What Should I Do if My Car Was Improperly Towed or I Was Overcharged Following an Impound?
Be sure to document where and when you parked your vehicle, if your car was improperly impounded from a private Tampa-area parking lot or legal parking spot. Hold onto any proof of payment from when you picked up your impounded vehicle if you paid fees you believe were improper.
Our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan would like to hear from you if your car was impounded from a private Tampa-area parking lot, or if you paid improper fees in connection to recovering an impounded car. You may be able to participate in a class action and recover compensation for your improper impound or fees. Please fill out a case evaluation form for a free consultation.