Saturday, August 31, 2013

Harris County Judge Rude & Hostile Toward Tow Victims

Harris County attorneys who paid to join the voluntary Houston Bar Association think County Ct. Judge Roberta Lloyd (whose pictures are at is hostile towards tow victims.

That graduate of Stetson Law School (in Florida) is 1 of 4 such judges in Harris County, but trails the other 3 especially in the percentage of attorneys who are not afraid to risk ranking her performance as "poor". Over half gave her a "poor" rating, despite the risk of a potential lack of anonymity and the contempt proceedings with which she still gets to coerce attorneys into submission. She's considered to be a judge who doesn't follow the law, or behave courteously to attorneys trying to uphold it for Texans' benefit.

If you visit her courtroom, you can see for yourself how hostile she can be to tow victims' rights. Sometimes she is polite in the process but the ultimate results nevertheless seem pre-determined by her desire to fill her campaign donations purse... Laws seem nonbinding in her court unless she wants otherwise. Often laws favoring tow victims serve as mere annoyances to her, as do the folks who advocate obedience to such laws.

These are your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Towing Horror Story in Mesquite, Texas

Below is an email received from a towing scam victim Mesquite Police Department claims is a civil issue and refuse to assist.  But TDLR is eager to put these criminal enterprises out of business.

I have an interesting story concerning towing and I would appreciate any insight or comment that you might have. It involves multiple towing companies and is rather long, so I will try to make it as concise as possible. On Monday the 19th, my Kia Sportage was towed from driveway about noon. A con man had put a mechanics lien on it without my knowledge. The police gave me the name and number of the towing company, so I called and was told that I had to settle  with the con man before I could get my car back. An expensive pair of sun glasses and my son's asthma inhaler were in the vehicle, but the towing company refused to give me access or even tell me where the vehicle was. Once I had paid the lien, the con man called the towing company and told them that they should release the vehicle. The towing employee refused to tell me where the car was, insisting that I meet him in the Soulman's parking lot at 635 and Gross road with $450 dollars in cash or in a cashier's check; no credit cards would be accepted. I drove to the parking lot and waited for ten minutes before he showed up. Two towing employees arrived in a pickup and insisted that I pay them the money before they would take me to the car. I balked, so they finally suggested that my son (who was with me) would ride in their truck to make sure they didn't try to drive off with the money. They refused to give me a receipt, saying that they would "have to charge me storage fees and taxes if they did".

I followed them into a lower middle class neighborhood in Mesquite. We stopped on a street in Mesquite and the employee said that he had left the car at this spot and it was gone now. We spent the next two hours on the phone with the Mesquite Police trying to figure out what had happened to the car. The car had been sitting on the street for three days, never "stored" or "locked up". When it was clear that they had lost my car, I asked for the $450 dollars back, but the towing company refused to return it. The Mesquite Police were very unhelpful and gave me conflicting information concerning the car’s status. Through some research of my own, I located the vehicle at an auction house in Irving. They told me that Lonestar Title Loan had repossessed the car, but I have never gotten a loan from them; I purchased the car for cash three years ago and have the same clean title. The auction house refused to release the car to me even when I provided proof of clean title. After a day of given the run around, I finally got Lonestar to admit that they had illegally repossessed the car and they apologized. About noon on Friday, the Lonestar employee promised that she would have the car returned to whatever location I specified, so we agreed that she would return it to my home (same address as is on the title). She called me about 3pm to tell me that the auctions had prevented the towing company from reaching the car, but that it would still be delivered soon. She gave me her personal cell number in case I had questions later.

 At 9pm, I still hadn’t received the car, so I started calling her. She never answered or returned my calls for the entire weekend. I called the auction house again, and this time they said that they had no record of car entering or leaving the premises. On Monday, I started calling new phone numbers for Lonestar Title and reached an employee who told me that the car had been delivered on Sunday. I assured her that there was no car at my location, and she discovered that the towing company had mistakenly returned my car to the same location in Mesquite where it had been picked up! The car was finally delivered to my home on Monday afternoon, but the loose change and the expensive sunglasses were stolen. The battery was completely dead and the power locks no longer work. The vehicle was unlocked and someone had left a brand new key in the ignition?!

I have tried to list the illegal actions of the parties involved. This is what I have come up with so far:

First Towing Company
Wouldn’t tell me where the car was located
Denied access to the contents of the car
Did not secure the vehicle at an approved storage location
Lost the car
Charged in excess of $250 for towing
Wouldn’t give me a receipt
Avoided State Taxes on the fees
Would not accept credit card for payment
Never contacted me about the whereabouts of the car
Violated a verbal contract to take me to my car once paid.

Second Towing Company
Left my car in Mesquite without my getting my sign off on delivery

Auction House
Would not release my vehicle based on my clean title

Lonestar Title Loan
Illegally ordering my car to be towed
Not attempting to contact me as required

I don’t know who to blame for the stolen sunglasses or the broken power locks.

Any comments? Is there anything that I should be adding to my complaints?

I have two goals:  first, reclaim my money, and second, stop these crooks from hurting anyone else.

On a side note, I was surprised to see that the first towing company is owned by a violent sex offender.

Since the Mesquite Police Department refused to intervene during the commission of a felony, "engaging in organized criminal activity". I suggested this victim contact the Dallas FBI office.


Harris County Courts Say They Don't Have to Follow State Law

Motorists whom are towed within Harris County are having their rights violated by Harris County by requiring them to file a tow hearing or Justice Court suit at one location, 1201 Franklin.  When I contacted Janet Marton, County Attorney reference changes in State Law that became effective this past June, that places the jurisdiction for these types of cases at any JP within the County, she claimed a local rule and other statutes allows them this right.

But local rules don't trump State Law according several Texas Senators who voted for this change, in order to allows vehicle owners or operators to file these cases at the JP closest to where the vehicle was towed.

This issue with Harris County poses a burden on those who must drive upwards with 40 miles to contest illegal towing cases.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Motorists Statewide Targeted in Apartment Complexes for Expired Sticker Scam

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 SOAH 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 in this issue.

It's not to late for anyone towed or charged a drop fee for expired stickers, to file a Justice Court suit against the apartment complex for violating the Texas Towing Law.

Because the apartment complex failed to provide the required notice, the vehicle owner or operator is entitled to $1000 plus the filing fee, three times what you paid at the storage lot and the cost of repairs for damage done to the vehicle during the removal. 

There is no filing deadline to sue an apartment complex for violations of Occupations Code 2308.251.  This type of action is not a Tow Hearing

You do not need an attorney for this type of action, as many others have done it on their own with guidance. Since Dallas State Senator John Carona sponsored legislation that passed, your attorney fees cannot be included in any settlement.  I tell folks, if only paid $300 to get your vehicle back and you spend say $150 for the filing fee and your awarded $2000, surely they can satisfy their counsel expense.

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 an apartment complex 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 many towing companies 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!

Parking Lot Striping - The New Scam to Gouge Motorists

It's not uncommon for towing companies to offer restriping parking lots in addition to towing related services to parking facility owners/managers.  Most apartment managers willfully accept this money saving benefit, not realizing the towing company shrinked the size of the parking space from a regular space to a compact size space less 6".

The only one who benefits from this striping scam is the towing company, as tow truck operators are towing vehicles for taking up more than one space.  It's virtually impossible to park a full size vehicle in a compact space without being over the line.  Yes, the manager likes the looks of the parking lot, but residents are taken advantage of over and over again.

The majority of apartment complexes built after 2000 are required to have a certain number of parking spaces, regular or compact parking spaces, according to their building plans approved by a city entity.

Several towing companies in Austin offer this restriping services that are generating alot of complaints by residents, who are forced to pay $193 to get their vehicles back for just be over the line 3" trying to park their vehicles. Prior to these parking lots being restriped, complaints of this nature where seldom heard.  J&J, Reliant, Park Right just to name a few do this on purpose.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Harris County JP Awards Tow Victim $1800 in Justice Court that Constables Collect With Writ of Execution

A Muslim convenience store owner with his Muslim attorney failed to convince a Harris County Judge, it was within his rights to have vehicles towed from his property without towing signs posted. The Muslim attorney made several motions to dismiss, all over ruled by the Judge, claiming the 14 day deadline for a Tow Hearing.  Problem is, this was a Justice Court hearing to find the store owner guilty for committing several violations of the Texas Occupations Code, specifically 2308.301.

The tow victim was well prepared for his case, following my instructions for what violation to seek damages for, documented with video and photographs.

It paid off, the victim was awarded the $1000 plus three times $184.30, the filing fees for a total just over $1800.00. Seems the Muslim wanted to stall payment of award, so next step, pays the filing fee for a Writ of Execution and let the Constable collect the debt or seize property.

Today, the victim is called by the Constable's Office, they had all his money in a cashiers check totaling $1808.38.

It takes persistence to get your money back from towing companies and parking facility owners when illegally or wrongfully towed without your consent from private property.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Midland Police Department Continues to Allow Criminal Conduct by Towing Companies for Financial Gain

Latest complaint against ARS from victim who had three of his vehicles towed without authorization:

On Friday August 16, 2013 ARS towed three vehicles from the Cypress Pointe apartment complex. It is fact that said vehicles were and are registered, had and continue to have current inspection stickers, and were and are covered with liability insurance to a known resident of the complex. The day the vehicles were towed I was out of town and unable to attend to the matter in person. However, I did call the towing company but the lady who answered said she could only provide me with the address the vehicles were taken to, the cost to retrieve my vehicles and that they were towed for being "unauthorized". I asked repeatedly to elaborate what she meant by "unauthorized" but she refused. Her claim was that she could only provide me with limited information because she works for the VSF. This is in spite of the fact that I called the phone number for the towing company, that she answered the phone as a representative of the towing company, and that the towing company and VSF have the same physical address. The following day Saturday, August 17, 2013 I was forced to pay the false debt as I did not want to incur further charges. Again I asked what the reason for my vehicles being towed was and the workers present responded with the same answer "unauthorized" and threatened that if I returned the vehicles to the property they would be towed again. Being that the apartment offices are closed weekends I went in on Monday, August 19, 2013 to confront the manager with this claim. He stated to me he did NOT call or authorize for the vehicles to be taken. I asked him to call the towing company and find out under what authority and more importantly for what reason the vehicles were towed. They responded to him with the same answer. I have gone to the police but they claim this is a civil matter and they cannot get involved. The officer I spoke with did however call the towing company to try and get answers but he was also met with the same response, the cars were "unauthorized". They did also claim that they had authorization from the apartment complex manager. I have a letter signed by the community director stating otherwise. Doing research I found that towing scams and malpractice by these companies is quite common. I have read the occupations code for towing and booting of unauthorized vehicles and I am 100% confident my vehicles were towed illegally. It has also been made aware to me that this company has broken the law before and has had fines levied against them. It's apparent the owner and employees feel that they are above the law and can at anytime steal vehicles and hold them for ransom.

The victim has since filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations.

Since Midland Police Department refuses to investigate and arrest those engaging in organized criminal activity, I have suggested the victim contact the local FBI office to pursue a Hobbs Act investigation of MPD.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PD Towing of Houston & Windsor Cypress Apartments Terrorize Residents in Ongoing Towing Scam

Residents and their guests are being terrorized by a towing company, that claims on their website they obey the law, when in fact, they are towing vehicles in violation of State Law.

The towing signs posted at Windsor Cypress Apartments do not comply with the Texas Towing Law.  There are two driveways that enter this property from a public roadway, one driveway has no sign posted period and the main entrance driveway lacks any signage posted within 25' of the roadway.

The property manager is authorizing the theft of vehicles, while the towing company lines their pockets with ill gained money. Because the property manager authorized the towing, vehicle owners or operators towed or charged a drop fee are entitled to $1000 plus triple what you paid to retrieve their vehicle payable by Windsor Creek Apartments.

Any towing, except for handicap, blocking dumpsters or parking aisles, would be an illegal tow.

Since this towing company has been towing vehicles for awhile, those vehicle owners or operators should file a Justice Court suit against Windsor Cypress for the violations of the Texas Towing Law that have been and continue to be committed.  This is not a tow hearing!

Everyone towed from this apartment complex is encouraged to file an online complaint against PD Towing of Houston with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation for the towing sign not being legal and the placement of the sign.

An example of how a legal towing sign for an apartment complex should be worded, as the sign above and posted on both sides of the driveway entering from Huffmeister Road no farther than 25' feet facing the driver when entering.

For more information regarding towing more

Kickbacks Continue

The agreement between the towing company and the parking facility can become a lucrative landfall for the towing company. In today's private property towing business environment, the key to success is based on incentives offered.  Not all towing company owners offer incentives such as free legal representation in Court, parking lot striping, free parking permits, letters to give to residents, free towing for office staff, additional signage installed, financial donations to Christmas parties and cash back for each vehicle towed to the parking facility owner/manager/operator

This would not occur if property managers at apartment complexes would just say no to any kickback offered. But that doesn't seem to be happening, as residents and guests are routinely taken advantage of because of questionable tows, while the property manager denies everything or refuses to demand a vehicle towed illegally returned or released for free.

Sec. 2308.402. Towing Company and Booting Company Prohibited from Financial Involvement with Parking Facility Owner.
(a) A towing company or booting company may not directly or indirectly give anything of value to a parking facility owner in connection with:
(1) the removal of a vehicle from a parking facility; or
(2) the booting of a vehicle in a parking facility.
(b) A towing company may not have a direct or indirect monetary interest in a parking facility:
(1) from which the towing company for compensation removes unauthorized vehicles; or
(2) in which the booting company for compensation installs boots on unauthorized vehicles.
(c) This section does not apply to a sign required under Section 2308.301 provided by a towing or booting company to a parking facility owner.

The Texas Attorney General in 2002 issued an opinion reference kickback offered by towing companies to parking facilities.  At the time, the Texas Towing Law was in the Transportation Code and re-codified in the Occupations Code where the same exact law is today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

TDLR Says Bexar Towing Owes $98,090 for Overcharging Scandal

Bexar Towing of San Antonio news story.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, submits this brief as requested by the Court at the close of the hearing in chief and would respectfully show the Court as follows:


l. During the hearing a limited stipulation was offered and accepted by the parties
regarding the overcharge allegations. The parties stipulated that in these 66
specific cases, Respondent performed the private property tow of the alleged
vehicle on the alleged date and charged $250 for the tow of the alleged vehicle.
2. The Department then provided testimony from Investigator Jennifer Harless who
testified that the City of San Antonio has Ordinance No. 96242, which restricts
the charge for nonconsent tows in the City of San Antonio to $85 for standard
passenger vehicles. The relevant portions of the ordinance were admitted into
evidence as State’s Exhibit F.
3. The Department next presented evidence that TEXAS OCCUPATIONS CODE
§2308.2065(a)(2) authorizes the Department to enforce restrictions on nonconsent
tow fees imposed by political subdivisions of the state, including the City of San
Antonio. ~
4. The evidence further proved that an overcharge of tow fees is a Class D violation
according to the Department’s Enforcement Plan. The Enforcement Plan was
admitted as State’s Exhibit E. According to the Department’s Enforcement Plan,
the penalty for a Class D first violation is $1,200 for each violation. With 66
proven overcharge violations at the rate of $1,200 each, the administrative penalty
for these violations is $79,200.
5. The evidence also showed that TEX. OCC. CODE §2308.2065(a)(2) provides for a
refund or reimbursement to the overcharged vehicle owner/operator. The
evidence proved that the overcharge amounted to $165 for each of the 66
overcharge cases. Thus, the total refunds or reimbursements would be $10,890.
The refunds are due to the vehicle owners and operators who were towed and


The Department charged the Respondent with two violations of the Department’s
“drop fee” rules which are set forth in 16 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §86.455.

Respondent was limited in the amount to charge for dropping the vehicle;
however, since the vehicle owner appeared at the scene prior to the completion of
“hooking up the vehicle” , the Respondent was not entitled to charge anything. In
both situations, the Respondent’s drivers completed the towing process and
removed the vehicles from the parking facilities where they were parked without
dropping the vehicles. If the vehicle is not completely ready for transport and
removal at the time the owner of the vehicle appears, the vehicle must be released
at no charge. This did not happen in either case. 

A violation of l6 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §86.455 is a Class F violation according to the Department’s Enforcement Plan. The administrative penalty for a first Class F violation is $2,000. 

In the case set forth in detail in Paragraph No. 53, the tow operator offered to drop
the vehicle for $120 which is also in excess of the City of San Antonio’s
Ordinance on “drop fees” which is contained in Ordinance No. 96242.
Therefore, even if the drop fee could have been lawfully charged, $120 was too
much. The ordinance limited the fee to $85.

The Department also alleged and presented evidence that Respondent towed a
1968 Chevrolet from a parking facility in San Antonio where adequate and proper
signage did not exist at the precise time of the tow on April l5, 2012. This
allegation was referenced in Paragraph No. 13 of the First Amended Notice of
Hearing, the live pleading at the hearing.

Towing without proper signage from a parking facility is a violation of TEX. OCC.
CODE §2308.30l et seq and is a Class F violation according to the Department’s
Enforcement Plan. This Class F violation results in an administrative penalty of
$2,000 for a first violation.

Additionally, the Department alleged that Respondent performed a non-consent
tow of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata from a street in San Antonio, as alleged in
Paragraph No. 35 of the live pleadings. 

Towing from a public street, as defined by the TEXAS TRANSPORTATION CODE
§251.002, is only allowed when it is directed by law enforcement unless a
driveway or an entrance or exit or a fire lane is blocked. The evidence at the
hearing affirmatively showed that there was no authority to tow the vehicle from
in front of the vehicle owner’s residence. The vehicle was legally parked on the
street in front of the owner’s residence.

This unauthorized tow from a public street is a violation of TEX. OCC. CODE
§2308.255 and is a Class F violation according to the Department’s Enforcement
Plan. The administrative penalty for this violation is $2,000 for a first violation.


WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Department requests the ALJ to find
that the Department proved the allegations against the Respondent at the hearing; that the
Respondent overcharged in 66 different instances, resulting in an administrative penalty for those violations of $79,200 and restitution to the vehicle owners in the total amount of $10,890; that there were two other cases where the Respondent failed and refused to comply with the
administrative rules concerning “dropping of vehicles” prior to a comprehensive tow of the
vehicle, incurring administrative penalties of $2,000 each for a total for these violations of
$4,000; that there were two other unauthorized tows from a public street and a parking facility,
resulting in administrative penalties of $4,000

I would say John Deloach could be out of business having to pay $98K.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Atlas Towing Busted by SAPD for Towing Vehicles In Violation of State Law

Three different vehicle owners, all towed by Atlas Towing of San Antonio, from three different parking lots learned they were illegally towed, according to victims after an investigation by the San Antonio Police Department Vehicle Crimes Unit.

The towing signs provided by Atlas Towing to the parking facility is the wrong layout and lacks the phrase, "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed at Owner's or Operator's Expense".  Atlas' owner claims someone else installs his signs, but evidently he nor their drivers seem care if the sign is correct and posted in the correct location.

The San Antonio Police Department Wrecker Detectives are holding towing companies responsible for their criminal activity when complaints are filed with them.  This includes issuing a $500 ticket to the wrecker driver, a large fine to the towing company owner and pursuing criminal charges against property managers/owners who allow towing from their parking facility in violation of the Texas Towing Law and City Ordinance.

Anyone towed or charged a drop fee by Atlas Towing should take a picture of the towing sign, where it is posted and call or email SAPD to file a complaint for an illegal tow.  If you are towed from a parking lot bearing a towing sign as posted above, you should file a Justice Court suit against the parking facility for the $1000 plus triple what you paid, including any damage done to your vehicle during the removal.

It is recommended that all tow hearings and Justice Court civil suits for the violation of Occupation Code 2308.301(b)(5)(B) be filed in Bexar County JP Precinct 3, 8918 Tesoro Drive, Ste 300, San Antonio 78217 (Judge Jeff Wentworth) (for parking lots bearing the above type sign)

In addition, it's important to file an online complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations to report this activity, which with an illegal towing sign, warrants a violation of an unauthorized tow which could get ATLAS fined $5000 for every complaint per vehicle towed.

Atlas doesn't appear to care about obeying the law, as more people are calling to complain and everyone is directed to SAPD to file criminal charges.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

City of San Antonio Post Illegal Towing Signs Twice and They Are Still Wrong

The City of San Antonio has once again created illegal towing signs and posted them at city owned parking lots.  What the purpose is to twice make illegal towing signs at the taxpayer's expense is a question COSA City Manager Sheryl Sculley needs to ask of her staff.

This towing sign for the Texas Lottery Commission is a legal sign that states "all" the required information, specifically, "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed at Owner's or Operator's Expense". which the City of San Antonio's sign fails to state.

Should anybody be towed from a city owned parking lot in San Antonio bearing the sign at the top of the page, you should file for a tow hearing, as there is no way one would lose.

For more information regarding private or public parking towing scams, visit TTC.

Good News from Justice Court for Illegal Tow Victims

Five vehicle owners have scored a big win across the state in Justice Court by going after the parking facility instead of the towing company for violations of the Texas Towing Law.

In Collins County, a local JP ruled in favor for a disabled resident towed for taking of two parking spaces, because the towing sign was attached to the gate that when opened hid the sign behind the fence. Because the towing sign was not permanently mounted, the Judge issued a judgement in the amount of $1617.39 against the property owner and management company. (Occupations Code 2308.301(a)(3))

In Brazoria County, a visiting JP ruled in favor for three vehicle owners towed from the same parking lot for different reasons, because the towing signs failed to bear the phrase: "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed at Owner or Operator Expense".  Each was awarded $1850.00 for this violation committed by the apartment complex management, who testified the towing company provided at no cost, the parking permits and letters to give to residents.

In Galveston County, a vehicle owner was awarded $2000.00 because the parking lot they parked at while in Galveston had signs posted that failed to state who may park and prohibit all others.

These latest cases in Justice Court proves this route is far better than the Tow Hearing to recover damages from illegal towing from private parking lot. It makes absolutely no matter what your vehicle may have been towed for, because if the parking facility is not 100% in compliance with State Law, the parking facility will be held accountable.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tow Victim Awarded $14,500 in Justice Court

A Colorado based trucking company this morning, was awarded $14,345.70 in a Justice Court suit filed against a shopping center owner and it's property management company in Abilene.


Operator of tractor and refrigerated trailer was towed from a shopping center parking lot abutting a hotel parking lot.  There were some signs posted, but none contained all the required information and the driveway entered had no signs posted.

The Judge ruled their claim for violation of Texas Occupation Code 2308.301 against the parking facility to be valid and awarded the tractor trailer owner $14,513.89 in total damages.

Paid to retrieve vehicle:  $1079.70 x 3 = $3238.10, damage to trailer load $10,000.00 plus $1000 plus the filing fee $106.00.

The damage to the trailer load was caused because the fuel tank running the refrigeration unit ran out of fuel before the driver was able to recover the tractor trailer.

Friday, August 2, 2013

TDLR Plays Favorites and Burns Others

It's been awhile since I wrote anything about towing, doesn't mean I have lost that burning desire to understand why TDLR issues fines and reduced fine to some and not all licensees. I didn't attended the October Commissioners Meeting as I was not feeling well that morning, seems my health has dropped off considerably.

Below is an email between a towing victim, Adam Flowers TDLR Attorney and Southwest Auto Tow:

Hide Details

Sue Troutte
Adam Fellows

Message flagged
Friday, October 7, 2011 10:15 AM

Mr. Fellows,

I received by way of document production a letter that you sent to Mr. Mark Hull on September 30, 2011. I have serious problems with your letter and the fact that you have apparently chosen to find a way to dismiss this complaint against Ms. Messina that is unsubstantiated by facts.

First, the letter states that I was to be sent a “cc”, yet more than one week later I have yet to have been provided a copy of this document from you or your office.

Second, the complaint clearly lists both Southwest Auto Tow as well as Southwest Auto Storage as the Respondents. Yet in your last correspondence to me dated August 16, 2011 you stated “ The above referenced case is related to storage issues. Towing companies and Vehicle Storage companies are separately licensed. [sic] Therefore the complaints against them need to be separately investigated and handled.” You have chosen to opt out of your legal responsibility to the citizens of our state and as it appears from your record, is standard operating procedure.

The second notice letter was sent in response to a telephone discussion I had with Patrick at SW Auto, and the timing of the notices was clearly accelerated as he had threatened during that conversation. This does not follow the Code.

Finally, the vehicle was sent to the Dallas County Constable by the Respondents while the illegal tow action was pending even after Patrick advised Judge Payton that “nothing would happen with the vehicle.” Your statement that law enforcement took custody of the vehicle as an excuse for the Respondents is absurd. As a licensed attorney are well aware of the procedure for bailment cases. The constable did not come on to the Respondent’s private property take the vehicle from their possession and sell it. The paperwork which I have been provided by the Respondents show that they ordered the sale.

I am not surprised by your response in light of Ms. Messina’s relationship with your department, but it does not excuse your actions.

Susan Troutte


This incident with Susan Troutte should serve as a reminder to consumers, towing companies, vehicle storage facilities with their employees, that TDLR does not always treat everyone the same when a violation has been committed. I had intended to attend the October meeting at the request of Mark Dennison, Jess Horton's partner with Park Right Solutions to clarify some comments I made at the September meeting reference many vehicles being towed from an Addison Texas shopping center under contract with Eric's Towing, who didn't give them permission to tow anything. The comment I made, somewhere around 35 vehicles were towed, when I should have just said "ALOT" of vehicles towed that came to the attention of Addison Police Department. But regardless, with Joann Messina, an employee of Mark Dennison getting privileged treatment by TDLR prosecutors for her service on an Advisory Board that benefits their company.

As I did say in the September meeting at TDLR, strong consideration by Commissioners should be undertaken in requiring executive director Bill Kuntz to take a polygraph prior to increasing his salary regarding the perjury he committed during a senate committee hearing, that gives TDLR rule-making authority to grant more Occupations Licenses to Registered Sex Offenders and Convicted Felons.

I firmly believe licensees should held responsible to violating the regulations, if VSF employees fails to provide the required information, then he/she was be fined, not the company, because since the inception of tow truck operator and VSF employee licenses, not one has been sanctioned or fined for violating the regulations.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Impound Stashing - Illegal Practice by Predatory Towing Companies

I have been receiving calls reference tow trucks unloading vehicles towed from private parking lots without the consent of the vehicle's owner at parking lots, not considered a licensed vehicle storage facility.  This practice is called "stashing impounds" and is highly illegal.

According to the Texas Towing Law, Occupations Code 2308.205:
(a) A towing company that makes a nonconsent tow shall tow the vehicle to a vehicle storage facility that is operated by a person who holds a license to operate the facility under Chapter 2303, unless the towing company agrees to take the vehicle to a location designated by the vehicle's owner.

Should anyone witness tow trucks unloading vehicles on a private parking lot, then hurrying away to tow more nonconsent towed vehicle, don't hesitate reporting this illegal activity to 911.
Also, if you can, videotape this illegal conduct without being seen and file an online complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation, once the complaint has been filed and you receive a tracking number, email the video or photos to