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Thursday, December 13, 2012

TTC Founder Blast TDLR Commissioners for 2012 Failures

The video speaks for itself, consumers and towing companies who do not commit violations are mad as hell their competitors are rarely required to obey State Law.

http://tinyurl.com/be9l7kb


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bexar Towing Agrees to $10k in Refunds

San Antonio based Bexar Towing has agreed to refund vehicle owners for overcharging and illegal tows based on a news story published this morning.


Friday, November 16, 2012

A&A Wrecker Parking Fee Scam Exposed

Austin, Texas based A&A Wrecker's criminal behavior exposed in an unauthorized parking fee scam targeting motorists towed from LAZ parking lots.

Recent email from another A&A Wrecker victim:

"I just had my scooter towed today from the LAZ parking lot at 216 Congress. I parked it on the edge of the lot near the sidewalk not taking up any spaces used by cars. After it was towed I found out this whole thing could've been avoided as scooters and motorcycles can park for 12 hours free at any city of Austin metered spot.

My issue with A&A is I called them at 4:30pm asking about my scooter and they told me it was a $190 fee and I could pick it up at any time 24/7. I went there around 9pm tonight and they proceeded to tell me I had to pay $11 to LAZ parking before they would release it (this is the first time they had mentioned this unknown fee), and that LAZ was closed for the day. I feel like they're scamming me and forcing me to charge me to hold onto the vehicle longer. 
Is it valid for them to hold my vehicle on behalf of some other company, I asked if I could pay them the $11 to give to LAZ as clearly they had some type of shared business, and they told me they have no connection to them?
This practice of towing companies collecting parking fees for paid parking lot owners and demanding them before releasing their stored vehicle is illegal. Any motorists charged this unauthorized parking fee by A&A Wrecker while in Austin or anywhere in Texas should file a complaint with TDLR.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Braunfels Council Approves Sole Source Towing Company


Despite protests and warnings from towing company owners, New Braunfels City Council on Monday approved a new way for the city police department to procure towing services for the 1,600 tows it orders every year.

Police Chief Tom Wibert said the current system, in which 17 different towing companies are each used for three weeks during the year, makes it difficult for the police department to monitor whether the companies are operating legally.


Wibert said that while most towing companies on the list are “very good partners,” one company overcharged a police department customer by $183 for a 6-minute tow and is now under criminal investigation.

Another one or two are also operating illegally and “ripping off people in the name of the police department,” Wibert said. “We can’t have that.”

The chief suggested a new procedure under which a single company would be chosen by competitive bid as the police department’s primary towing-service provider and a second company would be picked as a backup for “overflow” needs.

Two New Braunfels towing company owners, Samuel Campos of Citywide Towing and Jeremy Hernandez of JJ’s Towing, told council they didn’t like the idea of one towing company being named the police department’s primary provider.

Campos said the rotation should be kept in place, with the offending companies being removed from the list.

Hernandez said he didn’t think a single company could handle the job.
Manuel Guajardo of MG’s Towing and Storage, who said he sued the city — and won — over towing laws a dozen years ago, cautioned the council to be careful that it didn’t wind up in court once again.

Assistant City Attorney Frank Onion advised council that legal precedent at both the federal and state levels support municipalities naming a sole-provider for police-ordered tows.

The chief said the police department orders wreckers for such things as clearing roadways after accidents, impounding vehicles and for seizing vehicles for evidence.Onion said private citizens would still have the option of choosing their towing-service provider, unless officers at the scene determine it would be faster to clear an accident, for instance, by using the police department’s designated provider. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A&A Wrecker & Recovery Busted for 2nd Time by TDLR

Once again, Austin based A&A Wrecker & Recovery has been busted after a joint investigation by law enforcement and TDLR. This latest towing scam has wrecker drivers for this company towing vehicles prior to the authorized times to tow from the 1200 block of East 5th Street.

The motoring public is once again reminded to watch where you park and question the reason your vehicle was towed, if from private parking lot.

Click here to read investigation file.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Door Locks Not Working After Towing Incident?


It is not uncommon for a wrecker driver to damage the door locks of a vehicle he/she is going to tow without the vehicle owner's permission. When retrieving your vehicle from the storage facility, you always want to check every door that has key locks, to see rather or not they still lock or unlock the vehicle. Another way to tell if your vehicle has been unlocked is the weather stripping at the bottom of the glass is torn, bent or detached from the door shell.

There is really no valid reason for a wrecker driver to unlock a locked vehicle, considering the towing industry provides all the necessary equipment to tow a vehicle. In most cases, a wrecker driver, when peering into the vehicle, will list items seen on the vehicle inventory sheet, while others will just steal what they want and write on the vehicle inventory form that the doors were unlocked. In any event you find that your vehicle has been opened, while at the storage facility, you most definitely want to call 911 and file a report for burglary of your vehicle.

If you find that your door locks don't work, you most definitely want to call the Police to make a damage report and be sure to get the offense number, so when you file a complaint against the towing company and vehicle storage facility, for damage or personal effects stolen from your vehicle, you can include this offense report number in the explanation of your complaint.

In every insurance claim filed against a towing company and vehicle storage facility, having a Police offense report number validates your claim, as without it, it's your word against the towing company, and they are known to be pathological liars. Never, should you ever leave the Vehicle Storage Facility property if you discover damage to your vehicle without having law enforcement come and take a report. Once you leave the storage lot and notice items missing, your chance of any recovery is slim to none.

If you ever see someone trying to unlock a vehicle in any parking lot with a “slimjim” (door unlocking tool) with a tow truck nearby, call 911 immediately to report someone attempting to burglarize a vehicle.

Friday, August 31, 2012

TAMU Towing Scam Exposed - Motorists Get Screwed

A long running policy of Texas A&M University at College Station to charge the vehicle owner, a $75 towing service fee, is staggering and illegal that carries a criminal penalty.  Vehicle owners whom are towed have rights, the tow truck driver must offer a drop fee, prior to leaving. In one incident, a tow truck driver ran over a vehicle owner that is now homeless less the use of his legs.

A recent email:

I have a story to relate. 
 
Texas AM University charges $75 if they call a tow truck to remove your car.  I was illegally parked (intentionally) for 30 min to unload heavy tools and equipment in a very congested area.  The intent was to unload then move the car.  I was in the reserved spot for 30 min with a University parking tag (for another area in the boonies) .  the parking guy was on me quick and ticketed me for 30 bucks but also told me a tow truck had been called and I receive a $75 citation even if the tow truck is called and does not tow the vehicle.  
 
My thought is well that was a bad deal for tamu and since no service was provided then I should not have to pay.
 
I read the article on San Marcos and not sure if that applies here or not. Mention was made about state law preventing a show up fee charge?  
 
Keep up the great work.  
 
 
Mit freundlich Grüßen,
Christopher S. Jaska
Of course this practice is illegal, hopefully soon TAMU will obey State Law and change their towing policy.



Saturday, July 28, 2012

$85 Tow Fee in San Antonio Reinstated

On Wednesday, a San Antonio Judge sided with City of San Antonio regarding the tow fee for private property impounds, being $85 instead the $250, the maximum fee set by the State.  For motorists charged the $250 tow fee, you are encouraged to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations to recover the overcharge, to which the towing company will be forced to refund.

In an earlier post reference Park Right Solution being busted by TDLR for towing a vehicle without authorization; Jess Horton, this company's co-owner is also President for Southwest Tow Operators, a large trade and training organization for towing companies in Texas.

Jess Horton is the reason for an attorney general opinion reference financial kickbacks AND NOW his company has been caught red handed involved in fraud by towing vehicles without authorization to do so.  TLDR's fine matrix carries a maximum fine of $1720.00 per violation.
But this towing without authorization is serious business and TDLR will pursue actions against them and every other towing company operating outside the boundaries of State Law.

Stayed tuned.....






Thursday, July 12, 2012

Austin Towing Company Scams Motorists at 900 E Braker Lane

Austin based Albert's/Prontos Towing has been towing vehicles from within a shopping center without authorization from the parking facility owner.  The towing company that holds a valid contract is fuming, that their competitors thinks they can sign a contract with a tenant, post their signs, use a spotter, then tow vehicles belonging to patrons of other businesses. within the parking lot.

This latest victim called earlier today with concerns to which I drove to the parking facility, to confirm my suspicions.

Hopefully, TDLR and SOAH will be on same page here and fine this company heavily.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

DFW area Plagued by EXCALIBUR TOWING Scams

Email regarding Excalibur Towing via Texas Towing Compliance:

Hi, My name is Chris. I've been reading your blog and had a concern that maybe you could direct me what to do.

My mother's car was in an apartment complex in the correct parking spot. The car got a sticker because someone had broken into the small section of the rear window and the tire was flattened. We couldn't get the window fixed right away, but it was only the small section so we covered it up completely with plastic on both the inside and outside. We also bought a tire and swapped it out. 

On July 2nd, we got a sticker stating that the Registration tag was expired and it said inoperable. The sticker gave said we had 48 hours to correct the problem or remove the vehicle. The towing company took it on July 3rd before 4 pm. I spoke to the police thinking it was stolen. They told us to talk to management of the apartment complex. Management told us we had to deal with the towing company. I called and talked to 3 different people at Excalibur, and was given the runaround because of the 4th of July holiday. I was then told that the 48 hour notice didn't matter. That we should have fixed that window completely or the property owner would be dealing with fines. I asked them why they would give us a 48 hour warning. We rescheduled our days to take the car July 3rd. He told me that's no excuse, we should've had it done by then and that the 48 hour notice doesn't matter.

Are we in the wrong? I would understand if they towed it after the 48 hours, but shouldn't the time frame be honored? Thanks in advance for your time.
My response to this latest illegal towing victim:
Yes, you were wrongfully towed if towed for expired registration without receiving the certified letter allowing 10 days...The Judge that hears the case, Ken Curry is corrupt. I urge you to file a complaint with TDLR since this company already owes $21K in fines.

Another route is to sue your apartment complex since they authorized the towing company to tow your vehicle. Even better, file criminal charges against the property manager for violating the Towing Law since it's a misdemeanor.

Another problem is the law enforcement agency's attitudes on criminal illegal towing, telling potential crime victims to talk to the property manager, when property manager is the perpetrator. 

Learn your rights when towed!


Friday, June 29, 2012

TDLR Commissioners Meeting Public Comment


Texas Towing Compliance Executive Director Pat Johnson addresses the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations Commissioners Meeting this morning. Topic of interests: companies allowed to operate even without paying fines, vehicle damage complaints, convicted felons, and continued dishonesty among towing companies.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A&A Wrecker Busted for Illegal Drop Fee Scam

According to the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations, A & A WRECKER & RECOVERY LLC was busted recently because their driver refused to release a vehicle when the vehicle owner caught them in the process of loading the vehicle. The State, TDLR is asking for a fine of $6000.00. This is not the first time this company has been fined by the State and the Austin Police Department.

http://texastowingcompliance.com/files/A_A.pdf

The public should continue filing complaints with TDLR against towing companies, like A&A to insure they are held responsible for their illegal acts.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A-AARLINGTON ABANDONED VEHICLE ENFORCEMENT Continues Sticker Expired Scam Unabated

texastowingcompliance.com

This company claims being in business for 25 years gives them the right to tow vehicles for expired inspection/registration  without the 10 day certified mail notice. They are in for a serious fine from TDLR for continuing this serious violation.

This company has already been fined $10K by TDLR by violating the rules and regulations, so what's another $3000 fine to them.

I suggested the victim pursue criminal charges via the Irving Police Department for Felony Theft since probable cause didn't exist to take his vehicle.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Desoto, Texas Latest Towing Scam Community

As I said before, predatory towing companies will operate in jurisdictions where law enforcement looks the other way, or is just uninformed of their responsibilities.

Yesterday, I received a call via the towing hotline, 512-680-3190, from a female motorist in Desoto, Texas whom followed the suggestions regarding illegal towing. A police officer with Desoto Police Department told the victim, "all we can do is maintain peace". That in itself is a serious blunder, as had this police officer been update on the towing law, he/she might have realized the sign posted was not in compliance, but it's obvious this law enforcement agency needs additional training, since I was told, "they (Desoto) don't have a problem with private property towing", but they do.


The towing company, 24 Hr Wrecker Service Inc of Lancaster has already been cited by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations for violating the rules and regulations back in February 2012. Now they are going to deal with another complaint for illegal towing, since the sign fails to state whom may park in the parking facility and prohibit all others.

The victim, was ever so cool to send me the photos of sign prior to arriving at the storage lot and that began a whole different outlook, as after a brief conversation regarding the illegal sign, the towing company released her vehicle at no charge.

By far, Texas Towing Compliance comes through to save another victim of illegal towing from paying for the release of their vehicle.

In hindsight, the Desoto Police Department should be a wary eye on towing companies operating in their city stealing vehicles from private property, unabated.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TDLR Fine Matrix Sends Strong Message to Towing Industry

After attending the TS&BAB meeting earlier this week, I must say TDLR shoved it into their faces, the fines they face for violating the rules and State Law.  This fine matrix should be incorporated by municipal courts and Justices of the Peace fine schedules.

TDLR is meeting with law enforcement agencies across the State of Texas is educate them on their responsibilities in enforcing the Towing Law, as they would a traffic citation, or the in case of a repeat offender, a trip to Jail.

The biggest towing scam that is occurring is expired registration or inspection stickers. This entails a wrecker driver or employee of the towing company attaching a bright orange warning sticker, waiting a few days, then towing it.  IF this has happened to you, take action against the apartment complex owner or manager in Court. Do not hesitate in filing criminal charges against the wrecker driver and the property manager, as they are fully aware of the notification requiring a 10 day certified mail letter warning.  You also want to file a complaint with TDLR against the towing company, as this violation carries a $3000 fine, per violation.





As I told the board during the comment session, they should adopt the matrix and quit nick picking, stalling and asking for delays..These fines are for licensees who repeatedly violate the law and request a reduced fine, while John Doe motorist is out $300, or his vehicle.




Friday, June 1, 2012

Reasonable Effort - Author version

Thefts and violations within vehicle storage facilities licensed by TDLR are attributed to employees licensed by them. Convicted felon towing companies continue to target the motoring public, bringing gangs of burglars scouring your parking lots..

The issue of "reasonable effort" consist of preserving the vehicle in the state of receipt at the VSF until released or auctioned...

Pat Johnson, author, founder
Texas Towing Compliance

512-680-3190



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

HB3510 Author, Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton Removed from Office by Voters!

Mike Hamilton's comments during the last session of the Texas Legislature regarding his acceptance of financial kickback in consideration of business contracts doomed any chance of returning to Austin.

It's a great day for Texas to observe defeated State Rep Mike Hamilton, as he can return to his kitchen duties.

This election proves voters in his district don't care for his recipes!

http://texasparkingfacilityfraud.blogspot.com/2011/03/motoristsbusinesslaw-enforcement-under.html


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TDLR Commissioners Meeting Public Comment - May 29, 2012

As a former tow company manager, I respect that TDLR wants to work with honest and law-abiding towing companies and storage facilities for society's benefit.  But I submit that a recent regulatory interpretation by TDLR punishes even the honest and law-abiding towing and storage companies.

Storage facilities are supposed to accept people's credit cards.  That's fair.  But a new regulatory interpretation requires them to accept even credit cards that belong to folks OTHER THAN those retrieving their vehicles.  Such transactions increasingly result in charge backs and penalties assessed by financial institutions, regardless of the legality of the tow.  Is it fair or wise to subject honest and law-abiding towing and vehicle storage companies to this financial hazard?  I ask that you please reconsider this, and remedy it for society's benefit.  Otherwise Texas will be deprived of parking space availability, because nobody will want to tow noncompliant parkers.   


At the same time, though, I have NO sympathy for any dishonest, noncompliant towing and storage companies here in Texas.  Such tow pirates make it harder for honest and compliant competitors to remain in business.

And yet TDLR makes it so difficult for their tax-paying victims to get justice against them.   Why is that, TDLR?

Do victims who complain to TDLR get told what the status is of their complaint, corresponding investigation and administrative trials are even after they have submitted all the necessary information to TDLR about their ordeals?    Not usually.  If victims receive any notice at all, it's
usually very vague and uninformative.  And by the time TDLR lets them know what to submit, too much time might have passed to efficiently gather what TDLR's investigators need to know to make a sufficiently expeditious investigation.  Why not put a list of evidentiary requirements on a highly
relevant part of your website so that victims will know what they'll need promptly, in order to make their complaints more informative to TDLR as soon as possible?    Or does TDLR merely want to receive lots of complaints so that it can preach to our government that TDLR needs and somehow deserves more of our tax dollars?  


I will oppose that every time because I still haven't gotten a satisfactory answer to this question:  What do you give taxpayers in exchange for their hard earned money?  

Can such victims or other members of the public check the status of their complaints online at TDLR's website?  No.   

Are such administrative trials handled even remotely expeditiously?  No.


Why should the accused get to continue depriving their victims of their right to a speedy administrative trial?    It takes about a year, if not longer, for an administrative trial to emerge through TDLR...assuming that TDLR doesn't settle for smallish settlement amounts beforehand  in order to
avoid having to do the work that taxpayers pay TDLR to do.    You know that such predatory companies charge their victims more if their victims request extensions to pay for the right to retrieve their vehicles.  So why does TDLR nevertheless allow postponement after postponement without charging the tow pirates and storage conspirators more, too?  How is this discrepancy fair?  Why doesn't TDLR want to get these dishonest companies out of Texas commerce sooner?   

  Texas tax-payers' tax dollars still pay TDLR lots of money each year.  What do they get in return if TDLR does little more than prosecute a few cases now and then, only to enter into payment plans with companies that owe substantial debts for their noncompliance?    TDLR is well aware that
such companies' partners then sneakily set up or otherwise collaborate with new companies that evade having to make the payments, while the original offending companies gradually and quietly go out of business.  One such example is Merlin Transport, which owes TDLR over $21,000 after having lost its administrative trial because it couldn't afford to keep paying its lawyers lucrative fees.    Is Merlin's owner Nick Massey not working behind the scenes nowadays with Tarrant County Abandoned Vehicle Removal Inc., though?    Talk about re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic... 

What is TDLR best at?  The answer appears to be:  getting a hefty paycheck paid to some of its higher-ranking employees, at taxpayers' expense.    Taxpayers pay TDLR, so TDLR doesn't mind looking the other way when it comes to collecting its fines.  What do taxpayers get in return for
their trust and investment in TDLR, though?    No wonder TDLR is so nontransparent.  TDLR has plenty to hide, and it isn't pretty...   

Why doesn't TDLR propose regulatory reform to make it tougher for crooked tow pirates and storage facility co-conspirators to sneakily and quickly re-emerge from the ashes?    The problem CAN be remedied even before the next legislative session gets underway, and TDLR already knows this. 


Cities such as Dallas already have the municipal ordinances in effect for preventing such instances of predatory evasiveness among tow pirates and their vehicle storage co-conspirators who seek to reincorporate.  I have lawyer friends who can confirm this if you don't believe me.    


But TDLR makes such proactive municipalities' work a lot less efficient when TDLR won't even shut down such dishonest, noncompliant companies by terminating their licenses so that such municipalities in Texas can more efficiently fight their partner’s re-emergence as fresh new entities. 

Is TDLR so co-opted by noncompliant towing and storage facility companies (some of which have representatives serving on TDLR's committee) that TDLR consequently can't even adequately suspend the licenses of noncompliant companies?  If a company is in a payment plan supposedly trying to make amends for its past offenses, why not make that information available online for the public's protection?    Municipalities want such information. Why not make it readily available?     

People have been killed throughout Texas as a result of unlawful towing practices.    I and some allies have increasingly popular websites dedicated to exposing misdeeds regularly committed in the Texas towing industry.


The problem is not going away, and neither are we.  But if TDLR won't carry its share of the weight too, then it's time for TDLR to get out of the way and stop costing taxpayers so much.  You cost more to taxpayers than what you collect in fines, especially in terms of hidden costs AND societal costs from you’re not doing an adequate job.    


Should we ask to have TDLR's budget spent elsewhere, instead?  If not then how about TDLR's answering our questions with helpful DEEDS, not mere words, followed by laziness and a
lack of transparency?


Pat Johnson
Texas Towing Compliance

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TDLR Clarifies Regulations with Towing Companies in Austin, Texas

In a meeting this morning, that featured Robin Motem, TDLR, Robert Loosier, APD, Ric Paterno TCSO and all but two towing company owners discussed 7 items.

Benefiting motorists who's vehicle has been placed into storage; the vehicle storage facility is required to accept credit cards regardless who's name is on it; the storage facility cannot charge a credit card usage fee; and a vehicle facility must release personal property to to rightful owner regardless of time or day within one hour's notice. Unless a law enforcement hold, nobody touches the vehicle or it's contents.

Another live saving benefit to motorists, is that tow trucks cannot run red lights enroute to a traffic accident, thus reducing the chance of a traffic fatality.

On another account, if a vehicle becomes disabled or wrecked on a public roadway or shoulder, an IM (Incident Management) permitted tow truck must remove the vehicle.

Overall, many members of the towing industry were not pleased upon leaving the meeting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

San Antonio City Council Answers Cries From Public with New Booting Ordinance

With booting company representatives present, all wetting their beeks on the booting fee about to be imposed them, members of city council sent a strong message.

https://webapps1.sanantonio.gov/rfcadocs/R_9137_20120511022108.pdf

The passage of this ordinance will soon be followed by a revised towing ordinance that will once and for all stop this continued abuse of motorists in San Antonio.

San Antonio Police Department Finally Takes Action Against Towing Companies linked to Tow Fee Overcharging Citizens & Tourists

Finally, the San Antonio Police Department is enforcing their wrecker ordinance regarding the nonconsent tow fee of $85.00.

Many questions remain as to why SAPD and the City of San Antonio until just recently began enforcing the regulated tow fee. It's not like either can say they were unaware of motorists being severely price gouged.

Just why is it that members of the San Antonio City Council and their Mayor are eager to accept campaign donations from lobbyists of area towing companies, so certain towing companies can line their pockets with the hard-earned money of the citizens and tourists of the Alamo City, because of a money induced vote.

Well, it's finally coming to a heed, as now SAPD is citing the vehicle storage facility employee every time they charge in excess of the regulated fee of $85.00.  But, it's the tow truck operator who submits paperwork at the storage facility with the unauthorized charge, so why isn't the tow truck operator being held responsible?

Earlier, I was talking with a person of interest within the law enforcement community, that told me, "all these problems our city has experienced with towing companies are because of John Deloach aka Bexar Towing".

Well, it's come to an end, as the new owners of Assured Towing, Park Right Solutions are probably rethinking their business plan since they can charge no more than $85.00.  I'm sure the thought of charging someone close to $300 for towing/storage would make most dishonest towing company owners eager to move to San Antonio.

So, just remember, if a vehicle storage facility attempts to charge you a $250 tow fee for a private property impound towed from within the San Antonio city limits, call 911 and ask an officer to respond to the storage facility due to fact of overcharging.

Reference video: Tow Fee Scam San Antonio

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TDLR Should License All Tow Company Employees

Since the Legislature gave the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations (TDLR) rule making authority, it would be wise to require all employees of towing company be licensed.

This new requirement is already in effect for vehicle storage facilities and auto recyclers, it's time employees of towing companies be licensed, to deter theft and dishonesty.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kickback to Property Managers Increasing

Parking facility operators, rather they be an apartment manager, parking lot manager or a paid parking facilitator, all are visited daily by sales staff of a local towing company, seeking their business.

It's not uncommon for a towing company owner to make the decision he/she is going to give a property manager something in return to use their services, even knowing it's illegal.

I have seen several towing companies offer to re-stripe an entire parking lot, paint all the fire red curbs with stenciling for pennies on the dollar, or a greatly reduced cost, that nobody else could receive for the same size parking facility of 500 parking spaces.

Some property manager take into consideration their property owners won't provide the funding for parking lot maintenance when making that decision to sign a contract with a towing company that will re-stripe my entire parking facility, provide all the parking permits for free, even provide towing for residents at a reduced fee.

Of course, all of these freebies are against the law.

In the last session of the Texas Legislature, the law was changed to reflect that a towing company may provide the red and white towing sign to the parking facility at no charge. But, this is just the sign that is posted when entering the parking facility, not the post or labor to install the sign.  With so few law enforcement agencies totally unaware that a towing company and parking facility owner can be charged with a criminal offense, should the towing company install the sign with a post and doesn't charge the parking facility.




Monday, April 30, 2012

City of San Marcos to Revise Towing Ordinance to Eliminate Illegal Showup Fee

Good news to pocketbooks of motorists whom park within private parking lots anywhere in San Marcos.

This morning, I was told by Chief Howard Williams, the San Marcos Police Department's current wrecker ordinance allows a wrecker driver to charge a $40 show up fee, even when the vehicle is not fully prepared to transport.

This has practice has been stopped effective today, after several conversations I had with SMPD that this type of charge is not allowed by State Law. Furthermore, any wrecker driver who thinks they can violate State Law knowing darn well this type of show-up fee is not allowed.

Chief Williams told me earlier, his department is sending a letter to all of the towing companies  who tow private property impounds in San Marcos, this charge is no longer authorized.

Any motorist who has been charged a $40 show-up fee by a tow truck driver without towing your vehicle or being fully prepared to transport down the roadway, (watch video to better understand) YOU are urged to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations, against the towing company and tow truck operator.

This Austin drop fee scam video is the model used statewide to determine when motorists have been charged an unauthorized fee, when questioned by investigators.

Kudos to San Marcos PD for bringing this illegal practice to a halt!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FedEx Kinko's and Albert's Towing Unscrupulous Business Practices Targets Consumers in Austin, Texas

This past Monday, I received a request from another drop fee scam victim, this time, FedEx Kinko's management engaged in criminal conduct along with Thomas Mora, the owner of several local towing companies, many times over. The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations is failing Texas motorists and our economy, by allowing individuals like Mora to remain in business..

The following is the latest correspondence with the victim I was copied, after the initial call to my illegal towing hotline number 512-680-3190:

My name is William Merchad and I am currently a second-year Masters in Business (MBA) student at the University of Texas here in Austin. I found your name and email address online at the website: Texas Towing Compliance.com

I would like to report that I was the victim of an illegal towing by Thomas Mora, the owner of Albert's Towing & Recovery, this past Friday night, April 20, 2012. Mr. Mora was still loading my car at the Kinko's Parking lot on Guadalupe Street. I ran up to him and told him that I was moving the car, and NOT to tow it...he was still securing the vehicle an did NOT yet have the red tow lights on the top of my car. He quickly placed them on top (again, this was AFTER I was already talking to him and told him to stop). He told me it was "too late."

After many more minutes of pleading he insisted on towing car barely out of the parking lot (as I literally ran after him on Guadalupe Street to make sure he would not take off with my car!). He pulled over next to Torchy's Tacos on Guadalupe and demanded I pay him $150. I was stunned. He told me I needed to go get the money or pay via credit card. He kept saying angrily, "I have to go...I am leaving...I am losing money (No doubt, I was preventing him from towing other vehicles!) Reluctantly, and not knowing any better, I eventually gave him a debit card and he charged me $150 before releasing my car. I was afraid that if he towed my car to his facility he might charge me even more money....not to mention the hassle of having to get a ride/taxi to go retrieve my car.

I would also like to point out that my fellow classmate and MBA student, Stefan Marinov (copied on this email), witnessed this entire episode and can confirm all of my comments. He too was pleading with Mr. Mora to release the car both before and after he towed it to Torchy's Tacos.

I felt that Mr. Thomas Mora's actions "smelled fishy" to me (why did he insist on moving my car only a few hundred feet only to THEN demand I pay him $150?) He was very insistent and rushed in wanting to move my car out of the Kinko's Parking lot. But, now I see why: after doing an internet search this evening, I found the website: Texas Towing Compliance.com and discovered that Albert's Towing had, indeed, towed me illegally. Furthermore, it appears that Albert's Towing has had a long history of towing people illegally:



I do realize that Kinko's parking lot is a private parking lot and I made a mistake parking there. I accept responsibility for my actions. However, the MOST I should be responsible for paying is $50, according to Texas Towing Complaince.com. More important than the money: I feel Mr. Mora is a thief and he extortionist. I told him that he, "had no mercy and that God would punish him...life would take care of him..." to which he responded that it has: he is a "millionaire." Unfortunately, I did not know any better until after I read the website. I should have sat in the car and called the police.

Attached to this email are two documents: 1) is a scanned copy of the online complaint form I just filed at: license.state.tx.us\complaints (Tracking #0037683) and 2) a scanned copy of the receipt from Albert's Towing. I called Austin 311 (512-974-5000), but there was a very long wait and the connection was bad. I hope this email will suffice.

Feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss this matter further and see what, if anything, I can do about it now. Both my classmate, Stefan, and I are willing to file a police report if this will help you bring Mr. Mora to justice. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Will Merchad

************
In alot of cities across Texas. motorists are burned daily by dishonest towing companies, while law enforcement in these areas take a backseat claiming it's civil matter. Austin like some cities have city ordinance to protect motorists from scams exactly as occurred at FedEx Kinko's in Austin near the University of Texas campus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TDLR Allows penalized companies to operate without paying fine

Sadly, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Lt Governor David Dewhurst are to blame for widespread criminal activity motorists/businesses experience daily at the hands of their appointees at TDLR.

If TDLR commissioners won't revoke licenses of companies that won't pay their fines (which I presume applies to Merlin Transport / Excalibur Towing because there's no evidence online or elsewhere that they're paying after the $21,700 default judgment was issued against them) should taxpayers have to keep subsidizing TDLR to make up for the revenue difference to the state?

If TDLR fines are mere "suggestions" then where's the actual "service" for Texans who subsidize TDLR?

I suspect TDLR General Counsel will beg the Attorney General's Office to help them crack down on these renegade companies, and meanwhile TDLR will also strengthen its ability to delicense companies. Otherwise, payments will decline considerably...as will respect for TDLR.

How does that help anyone, but those drawing a salary at TDLR?

Legitimate towing company owners and drivers should be concerned because your Advisory Board does not represent your interests on the state level, when fines mean nothing to predatory companies who wreak havoc on the lives in the communities they operate in.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Several Austin area towing companies scam hundreds of motorists


Several Austin based towing company owners and their drivers intentionally scammed hundreds of motorists over the years, especially on weekend nights who parked on East 5th Street, east of Interstate 35. Nobody in their right mind would think their vehicle would be towed for parking on the side of a street street, but as history shows, most upset motorists don't know the laws the towing companies have to follow. Even a test question ask if the towing from a public right of way is legal.

According to Lee Austin, with the City of Austin Transportation Department; this section of East 5th Street vehicles are being towed is city right of way reserved for the Satillo Station Plaza master plan. According to Lee Austin, the city wants drivers to park in these areas, not be towed.

During SXSW, a black tow truck bearing the name Steel Towing (since changed company ownership) was observed towing vehicles parked in the street on East 5th behind barricades, near Waller Street. An unidentified APD officer manned the barricade and stopped traffic so the Steel driver could tow the vehicle away, unaware the vehicle is being towed without authorization (stolen).


During the Texas Relays weekend, Albert's towed every vehicle parked in the 1300 block of East 5th street adjacent to TOPS, a used office furniture supplier, every vehicle towed was stolen, as the City of Austin, per Lee Austin never gave anybody other than APD the right to have vehicles towed from the right of way. APD says they didn't tow any vehicles in this area.

APD has the list of vehicles towed from the East 5th Street area, but due to budget constraints, will not pursue an investigation, which includes notifying the vehicle owners to interview them about rather they gave the towing company permission to tow their vehicle, then file the criminal charge, as in the case involving Central Towing owner Donald Creamer. This type of investigation would require several hundred hours of research, it can be accomplished, but someone within city government is being pressured to leave it alone.

In my opinion, there is major difference between the SXSW 2009 Towing Scam versus the East 5th Towing Scam, the shear number of victims who have no idea they were taken advantage of.

Only until consumers take advantage of their rights afforded them when scammed by a towing company, will wrecker drivers think twice about stealing your vehicle for financial gain.




For the record, the intent of this article is to bring attention to criminal illegal towing in Austin, Texas.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Towing Industry Needs Fuel Surcharge

With diesel fuel over $4 a gallon, the cost to operate a legitimate towing company is becoming difficult. Most motorist haven't an idea the cost of owning a tow truck, much less an adult daycare for convicted felons. Companies being lured under deceptive circumstances, all cost of owning a towing company.

Granted, tow trucks last many years, some within the towing industry think the consumers should have to pay more for luxury items, this screw the public mentality is growing.

I believe TDLR should establish for "fuel surcharge" of a % of the tow charge, transport from one location to another location.

Towing companies today are faced with finding honest drivers and high operating costs, not to mention compete in an industry that financial kickbacks is commonplace.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Corruption within TDLR, Feds Ask to Investigate

Governor Perry should take a serious look at replacing Frank Denton, chairman of the Department of Licensing & Regulations. Perry must think he can continue have zero respect to citizens while in office. Just wait until the day arrives that will change his life forever like former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich experienced.

Perry really needs to replace everyone of the TDLR Commissioners as several of his appointees have been corrupted by the evil forces of organized crime.

It's insulting a state regulatory executive director allowed himself to be influenced, all while our citizens are robbed of their hard earned rent money by a licensed convicted felon. It's even more nuttier, thinking back how all this evolved.

I have full faith in the federal justice system.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

TTC Founder Calls for Ouster of TDLR Chairman & Exe Director



Pat Johnson, Founder, Texas Towing Compliance chastised Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation Commissioners at the monthly meeting earlier this week, calling for heads roll with resignation of Fred Moses, Frank Denton, Lilian Norman-Keeney and Executive Director, gross misconduct.

I intend to make the Towing advisory board meeting on March 20th, the first one I ever attended, it will be interesting, I'm sure..

The public should file complaints online against any personal or business related grievances against any of their regulated trades.

TDLR has yet to reveal their investigation of several field investigators solicited bribes from licensees in the San Antonio area, this is another reason Kuntz should retire. Kuntz can be credited for allowing nepotism to exist over generations, reaching record numbers of health insurance claims.

I plan on addressing that advisory board for the first time on March 20th. This will be interesting event to attend, hope to have my local news media cover the public comment part..

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Towing Victim Wins Case Against El Paso based Extreme Towing

Learned that member of military, won tow hearing for illegal towing and damages.

Why Frank Denton and Moses want to cater to the towing industry with reduced fines for ripping motorists off.

I commend TDLR staff for their hard work, but to be embarrassed at the monthly meeting with compromising with licensees, instead of staff's recommendation.

Rick Perry needs to issue an executive order to TDLR to stop issuing Occupation Licenses to Registered Sex Offenders and convicted felons on parole.

The nonsense of doing nothing places the public risk, armed robberies are on the increase, in the Austin area alone.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Plano based Signature Towing, Inc Fined Over Expired Sticker Scam - Hundreds Due Damages



Why towing company owners think they can burn vehicle owners over the expired inspection or registration sticker, is a sign of their desperation. The state law hasn't changed since it's creation that regulates this issue. ( Occupations Code 2308.253 (d)(1)(2) ).

I am pleased the Administrative Judges whom hear cases brought by TDLR against towing companies, tow truck operators, are sticking to law and regulations as written, instead of being swayed by attorneys representing them.

The latest company to be caught, Signature Towing, Inc of Plano, instead of obeying law, a criminal offense, they chose to pay legal representation and fines, of which $1850.00 was paid today, just before 2pm.

Sadly the hundreds of Signature's victims whom paid for the release of their vehicle don't know the tow was illegal. I wonder if Signature is going mail a refund check for every vehicle they towed for an expired inspection or registration sticker since 2004. If Signature was truly a legit company, they wouldn't have 2nd guess violating the Law, but they did, and got caught.

But, it's not to late for victims of the "sticker scam" to have their case appealed, there is no appeal bond, just a filing fee and a bulldog lawyer, such as Mr. Warren Norred, of Arlington. Since Signature Towing, Inc was found guilty by TDLR for violating the law numerous times, victims could be entitled to $1000 plus triple their vehicle storage facility and/or towing receipt.

It's not to late for anyone towed by or a drop fee to Signature Towing Inc for expired stickers, to file criminal charges against them and have your fees returned ordered by a criminal court judge during sentencing.

This sticker scam is occurring daily across the state, as dishonest towing companies know 99% of vehicle owners or operators do not know the state law all towing companies and parking facilities MUST follow to have vehicles towed.

The only way a vehicle maybe towed for an expired inspection or registration sticker, from a parking facility is: a certified letter giving 10 days notice, or hand delivered with a witness present, a written warning, from the parking facility, NOT the towing company. The manpower to walk, sticker, write down all the vehicle information takes time, but Signature like many others offer this to property managers everyday, knowing darn well it's against the Law.

Dishonest towing companies send their employees, many convicted felons and registered sex offenders, walking parking lots during the day and night placing orange stickers on vehicle windows threatening the removal of vehicle. ALWAYS question who placed the sticker on the vehicle. These orange stickers cost money and the parking facility is prohibited from accepting anything of value from the towing company in exchange for towing vehicles.

Visit Texas Towing Compliance regularly, as this site provides valuable information.

It's important to remember, unless you file a complaint with TDLR regarding a towing company, tow truck driver, vehicle storage facility or employee of their conduct, they grin on the way to the bank, knowing they just got another sucker!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

El Paso Consumers Get Burned by Unlicensed VSF Employees

From a recent towing victim email;



Dear Pat,

It was a pleasure speaking to you this past Saturday. Thank you for taking my call.

As I mentioned, I paid at a parking lot, but I was towed anyway. It was late at night.

The company is Extreme Towing. They charged me $145.00 to get my vehicle back. The date was 1/28/12 at 1:45 am. The invoice says that their carrier certificate is 0645221VSF and 0577283VSF. The towing license it states is 005452138C.

I have attached the audio file. It starts off poor but improves. Around minute 10:00 he states that he does not have the employee license card. He wrote down a number and claims to be someone named Omar but he is later called Jason by another employee (the one that threatened me when I called the police). Minute 11:00 another tow victim explains that he had damage done to his bumper. At around 13:30, the person called Jason who doesn't have his license tells me that his supervisor told him that I either get my cash back and leave without my truck or that I must take my truck immediately. At 17:30, when I call the police, the officer on the other line tells me that if I'm dealing with Extreme Towing that it is not unlikely that I would be having problems.

I am also attaching a picture of their sign. They do not answer their phone 24 hrs. They have two different signs with two different numbers. A security company answers the number on the big sign. Extreme answers the number on their sign. The top of the sign reaches about 4'10". The bottom of the sign is at about 4 feet.

I filed an incident report with the police and I have two witnesses that the tow company employee was getting aggressive.

I have a question. Do I go to the JP in the jurisdiction where I was towed for a hearing?

Thank you for your help so far. I appreciate any further information you may provide.

Respectfully,

Rene Nevarez

1730 Bassett Ste F
El Paso, TX 79901


Consumers are URGED to record all audio and video between yourself, the vehicle storage facility employee and the tow truck operator, so TDLR will not take the word of their licensees, who tend not to tell the truth.

Listen to recorded conversation between victim and employee at Extreme Towing.

It's extremely important to file complaints (enforcement@license.state.tx.us) with TDLR if you feel you were taken advantage of by anyone in the towing and vehicle storage facility industry!