Monday, July 29, 2013

City of Austin Moves to Stop Illegal ROW Towing near Convention Center by Predatory Reliant Towing

The City of Austin has become involved to stop the predatory towing by Reliant Towing from the public right of way in the 700 block of East 3rd Street, by reinstalling new no parking signs.

Hopefully, those vulture-like tow truck operators with Reliant Towing will think twice before towing from this area and any other public right of way.

Anyone towed from 702 East 3rd Street in Austin, Texas is encouraged to file a police report for a wrecker ordinance violation, so that criminal charges can be filed on the tow truck operator for stealing their vehicle and being forced to pay an extortion fee to retrieve them.

Also, everyone towed by Reliant from this area are encouraged to contact our tow victim's attorney Ryan Dunn to sue Reliant Towing in Justice Court for the civil penalty for towing without authorization violation that entitles a vehicle owner or operator to $1000 plus triple whatever you paid to retrieve your vehicle, plus the filing fee.

Reliant Towing of Austin Found Guilty of Illegal Towing

Reliant Towing of Austin, Texas was found guilty recently for illegally towing vehicles from City of Austin right of way, claiming vehicles were blocking the gate, when their own photos said differently. 

Anyone towed by Reliant Towing should take them to Court, as this company's owner used to work for Assured Towing of Austin, another shady towing company with a bad track record with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations and the Austin Police Department.

I suspect Reliant was the ones who removed these no parking signs installed by the City of Austin to scam motorists.  Since this incident and winning his tow hearing, I have convinced him to file criminal charges against the tow truck operator who towed his vehicle with authorization and to file a civil suit against Reliant Towing in Justice Court for the $1000 plus triple damages for committing a violation of the Texas Towing Law.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Park Right Solutions / Southwest Tow Operators Founder/Owner Admits to Bribing Law Enforcement & Property Managers for Towing Contracts

Call it outright fraud, corruption and unethical, but parking facility owners around the state of Texas should think twice before signing a contract with Park Right Solutions, Assured Towing or a member company of Southwest Tow Operators.

It's owner, Dan Messina in this video can be heard admit to bribing law enforcement, commit workers compensation fraud and cheating wage and hour employees.

As many legit towing company owners obey the law, Messina's seminar video garnered many negative comments from those who attended his seminar

" For a multi-billion dollar industry we have very few training sources. Dan Messina has made a name for himself by doing PPI towing. I am embarrassed that this person represents our industries best hope for professional training. In this one seminar I was stunned by the poor advice, illegal advice and especially how to commit workman's compensation fraud. This is the best we have to offer in training towers how to behave and operate"

"I could not even finish this video. This guy has taught this class how to break about every rule that We Check Inc. holds dear. Fairness in the market, A level playing field. Everyone having a chance in the market to be successful. Bribery is the key to running a thriving concern. Please take your crap and get out of our industry. Police departments all over the country should be embarrassed and the towing industry should be the same. What is being taught here is how to con your way to success. I do not believe that is what the people in this industry are looking to do. Rather they are looking for a future for their families that can continue for generations. If this is a leader in our industry, we as an industry must make some changes and those changes must come soon. I love the towing business but if this is what it has come to I for one am willing to fight to change our direction. Pitiful!"
Michael M. Stine  President We Check, Inc.

"This man just admitted to bribing police officers, scamming workers comp, cheating wage an hour, running contract employees. What an embarrassment to the industry as a whole. Eventually he will get caught."

"Wow, I wonder if the seminar itself would be considered illegal-for providing others with a means to brake the law? Or are they gonna have to catch him actually performing these acts?"

The Texas Workers Compensation Commission was all to delighted to learn of this video and intends to launch an investigation as is several other agencies, both state and federal.

This should send a message to parking facilities to verify with the Texas Department of Insurance, the employees of the towing company that are entering your property are covered with a valid Texas Workers Compensation policy and criminal history background checks on all tow truck operators that tow from your property.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Towing Scam near Austin Convention Center Leaves Motorists Fuming

In Austin, Texas on East 3rd Street directly in front of Crossfit Central are parking areas for the public to pay the City of Austin Parking Pay Station and park. Some unlucky drivers returned from the Austin Convention Center or a night out on the town to discover their vehicles had been towed.  Some I have spoken to were outright mad and they had every reason to be, considering the area they were towed from is public right of away owned by City of Austin, with COA signage in place directing them to park where they were towed.

A female employee with Crossfit Central told a City of Austin Transportation Department employee after inquiring about the towing issue at hand, that tow trucks come by at will and tow with nobody there authorizing the tows. So this leads to only one conclusion, vehicles are being towed without authorization. (stolen)

The towing company, Reliant Towing, claims they are towing vehicles from blocking the gate, but signage posted by the City of Austin says the entire area is for paid parking.  This past Saturday night, a black Dodge truck was towed from directly in front of the towing sign nowhere near blocking the gate.

Everybody towed from this area is urged to call 512-974-5000 to file an offense report for a wrecker ordinance violation to pursue criminal charges against the tow truck operator.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fake Fire Lane markings Scam by Towing Companies in Texas

Every day, someone is towed with the reason being, "you were parked in the Fire Lane" and we have photograph to prove it". 


But there is a problem, the required text is missing as required by State Law which states: all curbs of fire lanes must be painted red and be conspicuously and legibly marked with the warning "FIRE LANE--TOW AWAY ZONE" in white letters at least three inches tall, at intervals not exceeding 50 feet. (shown below)

The majority of curbs in parking facilities are 4" in height and the Fire Lane text can be no smaller than 3", anything less is an illegal fire lane.  

If your towed for a Fire Lane violation from any private or public parking facility, check the wording of the Fire Lane, if it does not say "FIRE LANE TOW AWAY ZONE", you should file a civil suit in Justice Court, instead of a tow hearing in JP court.  It is important that people check their local regulations with regards to proper fire lane markings before beginning a legal case that can end up costing much more if the marking were appropriate by county or city statutes.

The purpose of a civil suit against the "parking facility"  in Justice Court, is to collect $1000 plus triple what you paid to retrieve your vehicle, for the violation of Occupations Code Sec 2308.404.

There is no deadline to file for the statutory violation civil suit, as with the Tow Hearing.

The vehicle owner or operator victim to this scam should file criminal charges against the tow truck operator, because they are required to attend Continuing Education classes on this very issue to retain their state-issued tow truck operator's license.

Unlicensed Bandit Tow Trucks - Report Them to 911

The public is urged to report unlicensed tow trucks that cause undue financial harm, by charging outrageous fees and stealing credit card numbers during the payment process.

All tow trucks will have a license plate that says "Tow Truck", something this bandit tow truck fails to display.

Should you observe a truck with this type of towing device (wheel-lift) operating on the roadway attached to a vehicle, call 911 to report an unlicensed tow truck. Get as much information of the truck, including make, color and the license plate number.

You are also urged to email any photos or video to

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Latest Changes to Tow Hearings Beneficial to Illegal Tow Victims

Instead of having the tow hearing at Justice of Peace with a history of issuing favorable judgement for towing companies, the Texas Legislature changed the law.

Effective immediately, vehicle owners and operators can now file the request for the tow hearing at any Justice of Peace "within" the County the vehicle was towed.

A list of every Justice of the Peace by County can be found here.

Being prepared for a tow hearing makes a major difference in the outcome before the Judge, you can read more about what types of photos to present in court by reading this information or watch this video.

If the towing company or vehicle storage facility that received the payment fails to furnish to the owner or operator of the vehicle the name, address, and telephone number of the parking facility owner or law enforcement agency that authorized the removal of the vehicle, the towing company or vehicle storage facility that received the payment is liable if the court, after a hearing, does not find probable cause for the removal and storage of the vehicle.  

It's important to remember, you have 14 days, excluding Saturday, Sunday and national holidays to submit your request for the tow hearing.  If the vehicle storage facility fails to provide the full printed name of the person, not a business name, of the person, their address, who authorized the towing and/or a complete list of all the Justice of the Peace courts was towed, the 14 day deadline to submit the request is not an issue.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Notice to Law Enforcement - Criminal Predatory Towing Alert

Texas area law enforcement agencies need to increase enforcement of State towing laws to protect your communities from predatory towing companies operating in your jurisdictions now.  Cities Chiefs are encouraged to push for passage of their own towing regulations or use one identical to San Antonio.

To allow tow truck operators, many of which are convicted felons, to roam parking lots in the early morning hours towing vehicles for expired inspection or registration stickers without the required 10 day Certified Letter being sent is a crime, dollar value of vehicle for felony theft charge.

No contract or agreement that authorizes the removal of a vehicle from private property can bypass State Law which is an arrestable offense.

Officers while on patrol would be wise to question tow trucks towing vehicles with orange stickers bearing expired stickers, to determine if probable cause existed to remove the vehicle they are towing or stealing.  According to one police department in South Texas, strict enforcement of existing laws allowed the recovery of more than 300 stolen vehicles from seven different towing companies, all of which are still licensed by TDLR to operate.

Tow operators are not authorized to make entry into a motor vehicle for purposes of towing the vehicle under the non-consent tow provisions of Occupations Code 2308

Use of a “slim jim" or other device is not authorized under the towing statute or rules.  

After review of Occupations Code 2308, specifically section 2308.255, a tow operator is only authorized to "remove and store" unauthorized vehicles.  

Nothing in Occupations Code 2308.255 or the balance of that chapter explicitly or implicitly authorizes a tow operator to break into or otherwise enter a locked vehicle with a and limited purpose of removal and storage of the vehicle.   

The public is advised If they observe a tow operator trying to unlock a vehicle door without the owner with a “slim jim” or other device without the consent of the owner or operator, call 911 to report a burglary of a vehicle in progress.

If any law enforcement agency needs assistance in investigation techniques and prosecution of illegal towing offenses, please contact either Austin Police Detective Loosier at 512-974-8122 or San Antonio Police Detective Glen Michalek at 210-207-2348.

Simply ignoring the law encourages criminal activity to continue in your community.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Park Right Solutions Busted by TDLR - Fined $1000

Park Right Solutions Investigation

Honest mistake, I doubt it considering Jess Horton's past involvement in shady business practices. Based on the investigative reports and emails from the victim, this company continued to tow vehicles without a valid contract to tow and deserve a higher fine.

Form your own opinion after reading the report.

This company's owner's wife serves on the advisory board that recommends to the TDLR how to regulate them, do read the comments about these folks' history!

From the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations Agreed Orders Database:

County: TRAVIS
Zip Code: 78744

License #: 6444043C

Complaint # TOW20110015825
Date: 1/15/2013

Respondent is assessed an administrative penalty in the amount of $1,000.
Respondent towed a vehicle from a parking facility without authority.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Galveston Towing Scams Burn Motorists Daily While Galveston Police Do Nothing!!

Galveston Island is awash in towing scams that will make some visitors think twice before returning since 95% of the private parking lots lack the required red and white towing signage with "all" the required information.  This company's tow truck was observed cruising the Kroger's parking lot, which has their illegal towing signs posted as shown below.

Being this parking facility belongs to an opened grocery store with sign posted that states "No Parking" is a sure scam as motorists have no clue who is allowed to park and prohibit all others. Before leaving Kroger after paying for some groceries, I asked the store manager why legal towing signs are not posted, since the ones posted fail to comply with State Law. The response given, "our customers have complained about the lack of parking". Well if proper notice was provided, their parking problems may cease to exist.

Another towing scam artist, AAAA Galveston Wrecker Service has their illegal towing signs posted at the car wash at 25th and Broadway, which is also an opened business.

The parking areas located off Seawall Blvd encourages parking as trash bins were placed in parking rows where vehicles are parked, some drivers returned finding their vehicle towed.

Another towing scam artist  A&A Wrecker has their illegal towing signs posted throughout Galveston that fail to state exactly who may park and prohibit all others, as this sign posted on Stewart Road and the store at 28th and Seawall Blvd as shown on this video.

This illegal towing sign posted at the Joe's Crab Shack and Brick House is a 12 x 18" sign, but State Law requires towing signs to be 18 x 24" in size, another attempt to scam motorists.

It's amazes me how a towing company and tow truck operators are overtaken by greed instead of integrity, knowing what they were doing is illegal". 

Based on my observation, there are only "two" towing companies using "legal" towing signs in Galveston, the two pictured above has all the required information, therefore warning motorists of who may park and prohibit all others.

Why the other towing companies refuse to post "legal" towing signs can only lead one to believe they think they are above the law.

Anyone towed while in Galveston from a parking lot bearing any of the illegal towing signs are encouraged to file an online complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing &; Regulation, because your vehicle was illegally towed.

Why the Galveston Police Department allows this criminal conduct by their local towing companies to continue is beyond belief, as other law enforcement agencies arrest wrecker drivers and parking facility owners for the same exact conduct. 

The Galveston Police Department would be wise to ask the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations to educate themselves on what is a legal towing sign and where they must be posted. 

For additional illegal towing information, visit Texas Towing Compliance.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unacceptable Vehicle Storage Facilities Conduct

When a consumer arrives at a vehicle storage facility to retrieve their vehicle, for the most part, this experience can be very unpleasant. Everyone who calls my hotline seeking help, gets the same information; demand the person about to accept your money, show you their TDLR Vehicle Storage Facility employee card, close enough, you can read their name and TDLR number. Why some employees of storage lots become hostile when asked for this license by a consumer meets no merit.

Another document that should be requested, is the non-consent tow fee schedule for towing company whom towed your vehicle to the storage facility. Again, some employees become outright nasty.

Next request, which they must provide, or face arrest, is provide the full printed name of the person whom authorized the towing of your vehicle, including their address, city, state, zip and phone number. Some companies will tell consumers they need a court order for that information as a scare tactic to avoid providing the required information.

All of these issues, occur in lots of vehicle storage facilities across Texas.

Should you encounter a rude, distasteful, or vulgar vehicle storage facility employee, you should file a complaint against them.

It's my hope that consumers contact me prior to going to the vehicle storage facility, so I may prepare them for what could occur.

The following audio wave is of a recent consumer visit to Bob's Towing in Denton, who obviously is in bed with the Judge, that continues tow vehicles in violation of State Law.

It's best to remember when going to a vehicle storage facility, to record if possible everything that is said between you and employees of the storage facility, for future causes of action.

For information regarding your rights, visit TTC.