Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Texas Parking Protections Escape Further Harm by Predatory Towing Lobby in 83rd Texas Legislature

The motoring public has escaped the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature with many parking protections and law enforcement tools left intact.  The win side of issues, depending who you ask, was the tow hearing jurisdiction which is awaiting the Gov's signature. 

At least, the many victims of predatory practices by local towing companies, can choose another JP Court within the County the vehicle was towed, instead of a money making machine court for the towing company's law firm.

Why I was against this legislation:  For one, it ruled out any recourse for motorist to contest the drop fee which could range from a $125 for a passenger vehicle to $1000 for a tractor trailer. 

Another issue the towing industry sought to change was the expired inspection/registration sticker notification process, but that bill died in committee.

Therefore, law enforcement will be required to take a greater role in holding "both" the property manager and the tow truck operator responsible for violating the law, since it carries a criminal penalty.  This continued nonsense of law enforcement not holding property managers (parking facility owner) liable for committing criminal acts behind towing must be stopped!

Motorists who find themselves a victim at the hands of a wrecker driver are urged to file a complaint with TDLR and your local law enforcement agency, since any violation of the towing law carries a criminal penalty.  Do not allow a police officer or deputy sheriff tell you it's a civil issue when Texas State Law says it's criminal and been that way since 2004.

More and more law Texas law enforcement agencies are witnessing before their eyes as predatory towing companies opening up in their communities wrecking havoc. Many law enforcement agencies in Texas lack the training nor have knowledge of the law.

I would like to thank all of those who contacted your state representative to block several towing related bills from moving forward, it paid off.   

Don't forget to checkout Texas Towing Compliance for resource information.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A&A Wrecker & Recovery of Austin Fined $2000 for SXSW 2012 Towing Scam

Just moments ago, the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations Commissioners voted to fine A&A Wrecker & Recovery of Austin, Texas $2000.00 for illegal towing during the SXSW 2012 Music Festival in 1200 Block of East 5th Street.

Makes one wonder why any parking facility owner, such as the Benton Family that owns 20 Austin-area McDonald's locations would use a dishonest towing service that has been fined thousands of dollars in fines for illegal towing practices.  Some of their drivers are outright thieves, fired by other local towing companies.

watch the TDLR Commission meeting:

This company makes the growing list of Southwest Tow Operators member companies who refuse to obey the Texas Towing Law and the 4th time fined by TDLR.

This is why it's of vital importance to pursue criminal charges with the police agency the parking facility is located and TDLR to hold them responsible for their misdeeds.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Use Caution When Paying a Wrecker Driver with a Credit Card

When I first heard about this, I was like "wow". 

But it is true, what I have been saying for more than 10 years, that some wrecker drivers, dispatchers and vehicle storage facility employees are stealing credit card numbers from motorist that need their vehicle towed or to pay the charges owed if placed into storage.

Last month on the 30th at approximately 3:30am in the morning, Jose C was driving
northbound through Austin and ran out of propane. Jose made it to a gas station and
Austin Express Towing to tow him to the Uhaul place of business in order for him to
fill his truck full of propane so he could be on his way home to Hubbard, Texas.

An Austin Express tow truck arrived and towed Jose C,' truck to the Uhaul business on
Ben White to get propane for $90.00. Jose C paid the tow truck driver with a credit card,
after the payment was approved, the tow truck driver gave Jose C an Austin Express
Towing invoice #20416, the tow truck driver's name is Benjamin R, Guerrero.

On September 4, 2008, Jose C' credit card  fraud protection department called telling the
Jose' wife of some irregular charges on their account and they cancelled the card number
on September 4th.

The first charge was on August 31, 2008 at 6:47pm from 5510 IH35 S Austin, which is the
Pizza Hut, The amount was $36.65 for a delivery at 4141 S Congress Avenue.

The second charge was on August 31, 2008 from 111 West William Cannon which is known
as the China Emperor for $54.20  to be delivered to 4141 S Congress Avenue.

The third charge was on September 1, 2008 at 11:30am from 719 West William Cannon Dr
which is Domino's Pizza for amount of $67.58 for delivery.

The investigation by the APD Wrecker Enforcement Detectives revealed an additional 5
charges totally $429.16.

What this incident tells us, is that some in the towing and vehicle storage facility industry
even being licensed by the Texas Department of License and Regulation are outright
criminal who could at anytime commit a criminal act without the average person even
knowing they were scammed.

Motorists are urge to check your credit card statement if your paying a towing company or vehicle storage facility.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Illegal Towing Victims Win With Passage of HB338

The Texas Senate passed HB338 earlier which is headed to Gov Perry to be signed into law. 
This bill allows motorists to have their tow hearing in any justice court within the County the vehicle was towed from. Instead of returning to a money making justice court machine with a record of favorable rulings on behalf of towing companies and their attorneys.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good News from Midland, Texas Towing Scam

The Las Colinas property manager thought they was above the law by allowing an Odessa based towing company to tow resident's vehicles in the early morning hours for expired inspection/registration stickers without providing the required 10 day notice. 

The Midland Police Department, after doing some research determined the property manager not once, but many times violated State Law, each being a separate criminal offense.

Three vehicle owners are deadset on filing criminal charges against the tow truck operator for stealing their vehicles without probable cause. Five motorists so far have picked up their vehicles at no charge, while two others paid $300.00 to get their vehicles.

All seven vehicle owners have filed their complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations against the towing company.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Motorist Threatened With Arrest for filing police report for illegal tow

A distraught motorist in Grapevine, Texas was threatened with arrest for filing a false police report when no towing signs were present at the time of removal.  Even the arriving officer noted the only signs posted where road construction signs, but insisted there was nothing he could do, being on private property. The motorist requested a supervisor to arrive to discuss  further,  the issue was ready to transport drop fees. The Grapevine PD Sgt scolded the motorists stating the police cannot get involved in towing disputes on private property.

To add salt to the wound, this SGT authorized the tow truck operator to charge an illegal waiting time fee in addition the state law maximum fee.  I told the motorist not to give up, as the Grapevine Police Department has a moral obligation to uphold the law.

In Midland, Texas, home to a Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations Commissioner, the Midland Police Department has been allowing predatory towing companies based in Odessa to steal vehicles from apartment complexes in violation of State Law, that carries a criminal penalty, specifically Occupations Code 2308.405, for many years.

The issue in Midland is the towing of vehicles from apartment complexes for expired inspection or registration stickers without the required notice, to a vehicle storage facility 30 miles away in Odessa.

The Midland and Grapevine Police Departments need additional training so their officers will recognize criminal illegal towing and practices, instead of taking the do nothing approach, so organized crime can line their pockets of ill gotten money of it's citizens.

Every victim of these illegal practices that contacted me, was encouraged to file a complaint against the towing company with TDLR.