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.