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:
http://texasparkingfacilityfraud.blogspot.com/2012/04/alberts-steel-towing-scam-hundreds-in.html (this was less than 1 month ago!)
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.
Will MerchadIn 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.