Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Wait, Stop the Criminal Illegal Towing

Since last Monday, there have been 404 visitors to my site, seeking out information about their vehicle being towed without their consent.Of those 404, 163 called, the majority of rest emailed or text-ed their concerns.
The same issue, I saw no sign when I pulled in, but I did find the sign once I started searching the number to call to retrieve their vehicle. Still, parking facilities are using towing signs that DO NOT comply with the Texas Towing Law, Occupation Code 2308.301. The sooner these parking facilities understand they are on the hook for monetary damages, no less than a $1000, if the sign posted does not bear the required language.

Law Enforcement agencies must seek out known victims of criminal illegal towing, if the signage posted where vehicles are being towed, fail to contain of the required text. There is no valid excuse for doing nothing and it is not law enforcement or mine to teach these criminal who repeatedly post their own towing signs that fail to comply as in mixing up the words on the sign. Just the fact the towing company installs the signage is a violation in itself, we must no forget, that the parking facility must give written notice to the towing company, they have installed the required siganage. Occupation Code 2308.255

As of September 1, 2009, several rule changes have gone into effect, but the towing industry is refusing to follow these new rule changes because TDLR has not published them. As long as the towing industry thinks they have the upperhand, consumers will continue to be abused and our economy will suffer.

At the last Towing Storage Facility and Booting Advisory Board meeting, seems the towing industry wants to do away with providing the towing receipt to the consumer. This move could never be allowed to happen regardless of what they want and those documents should always be provided to the consumer at the time of payment for services.

Tow receipt and vehicle storage facility receipts are government records and falsifying either carries a criminal penalty which include jail term. Most importantly now, the vehicle storage facility receipt "must" provide the name of the person who authorized the removal, failure to provide this vital information, subjects the vehicle storage facility employee to a criminal charge, Class B Misdemeanor.

These enhanced criminal penalties for violating any part Occupation Code 2308.001 - 460 were made possible by hard work by myself, since the towing industry was But, we prevailed with a strong regulatory power.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Making a Difference, Seek Out Justice

I have noticed a big change among wrecker drivers operating in the areas around Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. With the hardworking Detectives with the Austin Police Department Wrecker Enforcement Unit, writing wrecker drivers high dollar tickets for their stupidity and collecting fees not allowed.

I expect certain wrecker driver to continue their crusade to steal vehicles from parking lots not in compliance, wrecker drivers arriving at collision scene not wearing the TDLR mandated clothing, and not completely cleaning up the accident scene.

Just this past week, I saw a collision at East Riverside Dr at Tinnin Ford RD where two rotation were called, I parked and watched to see who would arrive, sure enough Rocha's arrived first. The Rocha driver was not even wearing the correct shirt, no was his City of Austin license clipped to his shirt. OF course, I documented the entire event with video. The 2nd truck to arrive was Harpers, that their driver was wearing the TDLR approved short, in addition to displaying both the COA badge and the TDLR badge.

Lots of changes have came to the towing, vehicle storage and booting industries, that TDLR will regulate. There also is an attempt by Joane Messina and Amy Milstead-Ellzey to do away with giving the consumer a copy of the tow truck receipt, I don't see this changing, because the tow truck receipt (governmental record) is a requirement for request the hearing to determine if probable cause existed to have the vehicle towed in the first place. In addition, tow truck drivers have been known to forged someone's name on the authorization line on the tow truck receipt, another reason, the consumer is entitled to both, the tow truck receipt and the vehicle storage facility receipt. TDLR should place an empasis on wrecker driver and vehicle storage facility employees, to complete the paperwork.

I was told during a telephone call, that three wrecker drivers were arrested in the San Antonio area, after an alert patrolman videotaped vehicles being towed away from a closed service station, with none of the required signage posted. After further review, not one of the three who were arrested didn't have a TDLR licenses, nor could they produce any documentation giving them the right remove 34 vehicles from that location.

What this tells me is that local law enforcement agencies are doing something, like arresting wrecker drivers for committing criminal action, such as illegal towing.

Anyway, I have submitted an application for the "public member" opening on the TDRL Texas Towing, Storage and Booting Advisory Board.

Although I no longer work in the towing industry, I have a vast knowledge of experience in these types of trades.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Criminal Illegal Towing Takes On New Meaning in Texas

It's official, wrecker drivers and property managers are now subject to immediate arrest for taking your vehicle without permission from private or public parking facilities not in compliance with the Texas Towing Law, Occupation Code 2308.

This criminal penalty enhancement (Class B Misdemeanor) is much welcomed by law enforcement agencies across the state, in hopes that crooked wrecker drivers will think twice before towing a vehicle without probable cause, although, I believe many who currently tow illegally, will continue until sentenced.

Another much anticipated change in the towing law, increasing the amount of financial liability the Court will be awarding, for the statutory violations, no less than a $1000.00, the parking facility will be liable to vehicle owners. Just remember, if you pay $200 to retrieve your vehicle and file a Justice Court suit for the statutory violation against the parking facility, you will receive no less than $1000.00 per violation, in addition to three times the $200.00 plus your attorney fees.

On another note of importance, the tow hearing to determine if probable cause existed to have your vehicle towed, will be held in the jurisdiction of the parking facility, not the vehicle storage facility.

In addition, the vehicle storage facility is required to provide the name of the person, who authorized the towing of your vehicle, with their address, city, state, zip and phone number. Should a vehicle storage facility employee refuse to provide this information, vehicle owners are encouraged to call the Police.

I am really excited about these changes in the towing law, because some towing companies have and are continuing to financially abuse consumers, being vehicle owners or operators. With these new tools, now justice can be served, only if you have a Judge who does not base his/her decision on campaign donations, which has happened many times in the past.

Consumers can be assured that online complaints filed with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation will render sanctions if warranted, because wrecker drivers are trained and certified, therefore knowing their actions are scrutinized.

Always call your local police department if towed from private parking lots if you think you were illegally towed after reviewing Texas Towing Compliance's website.

College students returning to Austin need to remember, when catching the wrecker driver hooking up your vehicle in a parking lot, they must release it for free, if not fully prepared on for transport, to learn more, watch this video.