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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2

    Question Predatory Towing

    Does anyone know anything about towing laws in the state of Maryland?

    My car was illegally towed from my townhouse division because the tow truck company said that the tags on my vehicle were expired. The plates on the vehicle were expired but I had renewed them online and had not received the decals to place on the acutual license plates. I went to the the tow truck company office to show them the official receipt showing that the tags had been renewed before the car was towed, they told me that at the bottom of the reciept it says that I have to post it in the window. I looked on the receipt and on the DMV and MVA website and it says nothing of the sort. It only says to carry the receipt along with the expired registration card and the registration will be valid for an additonal 15 days, it says nothing about having to post it in the window. He told me that my management company has a bylaw that says that all vehicles must display current registration or they are subject to towing because its private property.

    I went home to try to do some research online regarding online registration renewals because I figured since you are able to renew online, I can't be the only person that this has happened to. While researching I found the part of the Maryland state code which states that a vehicle cannot be towed from private property without the consent of the owner of the property. Remembering what the guy at the office said about it being private property, I decided to see just who's private property it is, because I am certain that when I bought this house the real estate agent said it came with two rear parking spaces. I found the land survey from the purchase of my home and it clearly show that the two parking spaces behind the townhouse are part of my property not the property of the HOA so they have no legal right to authorize towing from those spaces right?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Predatory Towing

    I would suggest you start out by addressing the issue with someone in the HOA. Some of those organizations have become extraordinarily militant and can often do surprisingly mean things to members....sometimes legally and sometimes not. They may have a clause referencing what you were told; if so, you need to find out if it is legal. Just because it's there, doesn't make it necessarily legal.

    If you find it's not legally enforceable, you may be able to settle it without going to small claims court; if not, that may be your only alternative. Let us know what you find out! Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,059

    Default Re: Predatory Towing

    Maryland law provides,
    Quote Quoting Maryland Statutes Sec. 13-412. Expiration of registration.
    (a) General rule - Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, unless current validation tabs have been issued by the Administration and are displayed on the plates as provided in this subtitle, the registration and the registration plates issued under this title for them expire at midnight on the dates indicated on the registration card issued by the Administration.

    (b) Temporary authorization certificate -
    (1) The Administration may issue a temporary authorization certificate permitting a vehicle to be driven pending the issuance of current validation tabs.

    (2) A temporary authorization certificate:
    (i) Shall be issued for a period determined by the Administration not to exceed 15 days; and

    (ii) Is not transferable and may not be used on another vehicle other than the one to which it was issued.
    * * *
    The towing statutes at 21 Maryland Statutes § 21-10A apply in Baltimore City or Baltimore County; beyond that, check your local ordinances.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2

    Question Re: Predatory Towing

    I live in Charles County and I checked the local regulations and they have no legislation regarding private tow companies only goverment/police directed towing. Does that mean that the private tow companies are allowed to do whatever they want in this county?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Predatory Towing

    I was put on the hook while just picking up my mail across the street for no more than five minutes this week. I know this because when I came out my car was up and the driver had made out the ticket. He said I could get it off the hook for $145 now or pay some $240 or more at their impound lot. Then tonite I saw an article online at "fraudguides.com" re: "bandit tow truck scams" where tow trucks ambush drivers and watch them leave their cars and move in. This website says, among other things, that under most state laws, property owners have the right to remove cars from their private parking lots after the car has been parked there for more than one hour. I was in the post office for about four minutes, and the lot, where I have parked for years, is owned by a condominium. My question is: is this the law here in Baltimore city?If so, I intend to pursue the issue, as I am on a fixed income.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Predatory Towing

    Other suggestions (some already stated in previous posts):

    1. Report them to the better business bureau
    2. Report them to the Attorney General: http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/complaint.htm
    3. File a small claims law suit to recover you money:
    http://www.courtreference.com/Courts...php?court=7442
    http://www.courts.state.md.us/distri...dccv001br.html

    • Civil Department: 410-887-2621
    • Civil Assignment:410-887-2660

    Other considerations:

    1. Check to see if permits are required to park on that lot.

    2. There should be a sign regarding towing visible on the lot. Be sure to write down the exact wording of the sign and try to determine how your car was illegally parked. Was it blocking any other vehicles? Is the curb painted red or yellow where your car was parked?

    3. Check the rental office for the following (keep these records):

    (See if there is a way to correspond via email to these people as well)

    a. Who was working the rental office during the time the vehicle was towed. Get their names, the business address, and the business phone number, email addr.

    b. Who owns the rental property (names, bus addr, phone #, email addr)

    c. Who manages the property and who was the manager a the time of the tow (names, bus addr, phone #, email addr)

    d. Once you have the above information try to find out if someone complained about your vehicle.

    e. Find out if there is a parking policy at the complex and if there is one obtain a written copy of that policy.

    and finally:

    f. Find out which employee of the rental property authorized or requested that the vehicle be towed. If no such specific permission was granted, check to see if there is a written standing order, request, or authorization by the rental property to tow any and all vehicles in violation of the parking policies of the rental complex or parking laws.


    The tow company may be in violation of TA 21-10A-04 (3)

    Keep in mind that TA 21-10A-06. "Violation of subtitle" states that the towing company shall be liable to the vehicle owner for triple the amount paid by the owner or the owner's agent to retake possession of the vehicle.

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