My question involves towing laws for the State of: Virginia (Alexandria, VA to be specific as they have municipal code on the subject matter).
I'll just give the facts. I've looked over the code for Alexandria, VA that deals with towing (Section 9-13) and it seems there are some... violations regarding the towing of my girlfriend's car from the apartment building I live at.
- The car was towed at 10:22pm on 1/14
- The car was picked up from the towing company at 12:30pm on 1/15 (less than 24 hours)
- The towing company charged a fee of $125 and failed to provide any detailed summary of the bill
- The towing company is located just outside of Alexandria in Fairfax County.
- An iPod was stolen from her car between 8pm on 1/14 and when the car was picked up.
The car was paid for and honestly I didn't look into it until the iPod had gone missing and wondered about a few things. I'm wondering here what the legal options are for her regarding the stolen iPod and the, as far as I understand, illegal towing. She's already started to file charges with the police over the iPod.
Here's some points of the code and my issue...
There is a single entrance to the parking garage and while there is a sign it is only 12inches by 18inches, or 1.5 square feet, which isn't even half the required size. This strikes me as the biggest issue as the way I'm reading it, this means it was illegal to tow her car.Sec. 9-13-10 Warning signs.
It shall be unlawful for any tow truck service or operator to tow a motor vehicle unless the area in which the vehicle is parked has posted, at each entrance, a legible sign of a minimum area of four square feet that contains the following...
I'm wondering if this then qualifies as grand theft and if so what then that makes their charging her ransom for the car essentially, being under the notion that what they did was legal.
She checked with the police and the towing company never filed any notice with the police department.Sec. 9-13-4 Notice of tow.
Prior to towing any motor vehicle, the tow truck service or operator shall contact the city's police department and provide the following information...
The car was picked up in less than 24 hours and was not picked up between the hours or days listed for a retrieval fee so it seems the max they could charge her is $75, yet they charged her $125.Sec. 9-13-3 Towing and storage fees and regulations.
(a) The maximum fees that may be charged for the towing of motor vehicles and for the storage and, when specifically authorized by this section, the retrieval of such towed vehicles are as follows:
(1) for the towing of a motor vehicle, the maximum fee shall be $75;
(2) for the storage of a towed motor vehicle, the maximum fee for each 24-hour period of storage, or portion thereof, shall be $20; provided, that no storage fee may be charged for the first 24 hours of storage, or any portion thereof, following the arrival of a towed vehicle at a storage facility unless the vehicle is not retrieved within that initial 24-hour period, in which case a storage fee for the initial 24 hours of storage may be charged; and
(3) for the retrieval of a towed motor vehicle from a storage facility (i) between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on any day, or (ii) at any time on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the maximum fee shall be $10.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to charge a towing fee, storage fee or retrieval fee that exceeds the fees established by subsection (a).
There were no fees posted anywhere, I went back to double check even.Sec. 9-13-8 Posting of fees.
At every place of business where towing fees or storage fees, or both, are collected, there shall be prominently displayed a sign containing a list of the fees imposed for towing and storage services, which sign shall state that the listed fees do not exceed the maximum fees allowed by law and shall refer to section 9-13-3 of this code. Any fee or charge in excess of those posted is prohibited. (Ord. No. 3641, 6/12/93, Sec. 1)
And again there's the iPod. Any help would be appreciated. The towing company has had more than a few lawsuits filed against them that I'm aware of and has a generally poor reputation so it's very likely this could wind up needing to go to court so I'm trying to do the best I can to research the matter.
Thank you in advance for your time.