Predatory, a term being used more often, to describe tow truck drivers and parking facility operators wreak havoc on their communities.
This past weekend, I received four call from individuals concerned they are and were being targeted by predatory towing companies based on their race and nationally. This mindset of many towing company owners TODAY is never to release a vehicle for free once at their storage facility.
Two very specific calls involved towing companies in Austin, both claiming to proudly represent the Austin Apartment Association, handing perks, freebies, vacations, to property managers.
As shown in the above advertisement used by J&J Towing, they not only get away with towing your vehicle illegally, but if the apartment complex loses in Court for a bad tow, J&J Towing owners Frank Sapp and Tina Johnson pay all the legal fees and fines for the property manager.
But since so few motorists are unaware the property manager where they live, received a financial benefit from their towing company.
J&J Towing's latest towing scam, which many towing companies are being fined for, is the expired inspection/registration sticker scam. This takes place as J&J Towing drivers place orange stickers on vehicles belonging to predominately minorities living in low income apartment complexes, wait a couple of days, then during the night, steal vehicles from their parking spaces rightfully parked.
Since so many people are taken advantage daily by tow truck drivers, it's a wonder more are not physically harmed.
A recent email from a concerned motorist who almost saw his vehicle taken during this ongoing towing scam by J&J Towing states:
"Hello, I am a resident of the Towne Oaks II apartments in Austin, Tx.
There has been a recent and very persistent attempt to illegally tow
many vehicles from the lot, including my own. I have spoken with the
management and they say that the towing was not instigated by
themselves, but by J&J towing. Many of the residents have seen
J&J park out on the street and wander the parking lot at night with
flashlights looking for expired inspection and registration stickers.
If the management is aware and not calling these vehicles in, then there
is a serious case of predatory towing going on here. They sticker the
windows, but official notice in the mail is never sent. We need to act
on this quickly as it seems they are specifically targeting low income
areas, and many of the residents are not aware of the law"
It's important to note that J&J Towing is a member of the Austin Towing Association, who many of it's member companies all agree some their competitors like J&J Towing, Reliant, Prontos, Alberts Towing and A&A Wrecker give their industry a bad reputation and their chances of gaining a rate increase in Austin is fading by the day.
So, it's important remember, your vehicle cannot be towed from an apartment complex for an expired inspection/registration unless the registered owner receives a certified letter from the apartment complex, informing them to update their stickers or be towed after the 10th day of the postmark.
If this happened to you within the last two years, please file a complaint with the Austin Police Department, so that wrecker drivers, property managers and towing company owners can be held responsible before a Judge.
Pat Johnson, founder
Texas Towing Compliance