Thursday, October 10, 2013

Towing News: Soliciting Bribes, Unlicensed VSF Employees

Towing companies who are members of Southwest Tow Operators continue to believe their "service agreement" with the parking facility exempts them from obeying the towing statute and TDLR regulations.  Charles Johnson, general counsel in charge of the towing program for TDLR has told every towing company, they can only provide the sign and do the towing, that's it.

As an example of criminal behavior, Capitol Tow in Dallas on their website states:  "our services can range from posting legal towing signs accompanied with property patrolling to instituting a parking system that allocates parking permits and parking spaces to residents, visitors, and staff".

Another direct violation of the towing statute, is Capitol Tow's C.A.R.S. program: "It’s all about gaining an edge within a very competitive market. C.A.R.S is just the vehicle, wink-wink, to obtain that advantage. C.A.R.S. is available to Communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is offered at NO COST to the Community.

State Law strictly prohibits a towing company from providing free of charge to the owner of a
parking facility services such as roadside assistance or lot maintenance, including parking space striping and fire lane markings, sending certified letters for expired stickers in connection with the removal of vehicles from a parking facility.

State Law prohibits a towing company from directly or indirectly giving “anything of value” to a parking facility owner “in connection with the removal of a vehicle from a parking facility.” By the same token, State Law bars a parking facility owner from directly or indirectly accepting “anything of value” from a towing company “in connection with the removal of a vehicle from a parking facility.” Thus, State Law criminalizes both aspects of such a transaction. It is equally
applicable to the donor, as exemplified.

Therefore these service agreements between towing companies and parking facilities that include anything other than providing the towing sign and do the towing are absolute violations of State Law, a criminal and arrestable offense.

On another note, Tribble & Sons Wrecker Service of College Station thought they were tough guys, but TDLR sent them a $15,750 fine for operating their company without a valid license and without honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.  Tribble will soon make the national wire with a news story by KBTX about them targeting football fans' vehicles while attending games, college students and their parents from parking lots with illegal towing signs they posted for free, not to mention the growing number of complaints still being filed against them with TDLR.

In Austin news, Reliant Towing garnered five calls for help yesterday from residents at an apartment complex near Far West and Mopac regarding their vehicles being towed for expired inspection stickers, none received the required certified letter allowing 10 days to update or be towed.  All were referred to our attorney to collect the $1000 plus triple the tow bill from the apartment complex management for committing the notification violation, in addition to filing complaints with TDLR against Reliant Towing.  (Reliant is also a member of Southwest Tow Operators)

Over at J&J Towing's storage lot yesterday afternoon, a vehicle owner called the Police because the storage facility employee refused to display his TDLR VSF Employee license, when the Police arrived, it was discovered this employee had an expired license. The police officer told this unlicensed employee a licensed employee is required to release the vehicle, which he did after payment was made. An offense report number regarding this unlicensed activity was generated, so when the vehicle owner files the TDLR complaint against J&J Towing, the TDLR investigator can validate the violation based on the police report.

Unscrupulous towing companies everyday knowingly violate State Law because of the advice and direction given them by Southwest Tow Operators.

Next week, I will be traveling to Dallas, San Antonio and College Station to testify as an Expert Witness for several illegal towing victims against parking facility management companies.  Many have asked why not go after the towing company for damages? The reason being is that the parking facility authorized the removal and decided to accept the bribe (something of value) from the towing company, therefore they must pay for their reckless behavior, $1000 plus triple damages.

Expired Inspection - Registration Sticker Scam by towing companies the apartment complex will lose in Court if the towing company sends the certified letter or places an orange sticker on the vehicle.

So you will better understand why towing companies think they can become millionaires at the expense of the motoring public, watch this video of the founder of Southwest Tow Operators teach others how bribery is key to a thriving business.

It's important to know your rights while at the vehicle storage facility retrieving your vehicle.