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  1. #1

    Default Towed from a Business Parking Lot, No Signs Posted

    April 2013-Traveled from Texas to Ok. for job interview. Pulled into the hotel I was to stay in. Pulled up to the lobby door area, which is covered by an overhead canopy. (Many hotels park their vans in this area-this hotel had no van) I waited for my friend who is local. He was late and I sat in the car on the phone for 30 mins. Finally he called and suggested we eat at the McDonalds next door-maybe 30 yards away. I was parked under the canopy, on the outer part (not up close to the front door) The Canopy area allows for 2 cars to pass underneath-from either direction. I was not blocking the driveway. I re-parked my car about a foot closer to the outer curb of the canopy area to be sure I wasn't blocking. I walked next door to McDonalds, waited 20 mins for my friend. We ate and got caught up on my trip, my interview etc. I was gone a total of 90 minutes. Return-the car is towed. I searched the parking lot-NOT A SINGLE NO PARKING SIGN. No warning signs, no tow away zone, no pickup/ delivery only signs, no painted red curb, nothing. I contacted the tow co. immediately, they won't release my car because I didn't have the TITLE??? (Who leaves the title in their car on out of state business trip)I volunteered to sign an avadavit of ownership-they refused. Fees are now in the hundreds. Can they get away with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,532

    Default Re: Towed from Oklahoma Business-No Signs Posted

    why shouldn't they be able to get away with it?


    You were not even a registered guest of the hotel and you parked your car in their lot, well, not even in their lot but in their driveway, and went somewhere else. What did you expect them to do; wait until the stranger that was so rude as to park their car in their drive while visiting another unknown business decides to grace them with their presence and move the car?

    That was private property. You should understand that when you trespass onto another's property, bad things happen.

    and yes, unless you were a guest there, already checked in, you were a trespasser.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Towed from a Business Parking Lot, No Signs Posted

    Was your vehicle towed by the business without the involvement of legal authorities, or did they go through a police agency?

    I don't see a statutory exception for improperly parked vehicles, and towing cases usually don't result in case law; but it is difficult to believe that the law would leave without remedy a business owner whose driveway was being fully or partially blocked by an unauthorized car. The most obvious work-around would be to go through law enforcement.
    Quote Quoting OCGA 44-1-13. Removal of improperly parked cars or trespassing personal property; concurrent jurisdiction; procedure; automatic surveillance prohibited; penalty
    (a) As used in this Code section, the term:

    (1) "Department" means the Department of Public Safety.

    (2) "Private property" means any parcel or space of private real property.

    (a.1) Any person or his or her authorized agent entitled to the possession of any private property shall have the right to remove or cause to be removed from the property any vehicle or trespassing personal property thereon which is not authorized to be at the place where it is found and to store or cause to be stored such vehicle or trespassing personal property, provided that there shall have been conspicuously posted on the private property notice that any vehicle or trespassing personal property which is not authorized to be at the place where it is found may be removed at the expense of the owner of the vehicle or trespassing personal property. Such notice shall also include information as to the location where the vehicle or personal property can be recovered, the cost of said recovery, and information as to the form of payment; provided, however, that the owner of residential private property containing not more than four residential units shall not be required to comply with the posting requirements of this subsection. Only towing and storage firms issued permits or licenses by the local governing authority of the jurisdiction in which they operate or by the department, and having a secure impoundment facility, shall be permitted to remove trespassing property and trespassing personal property at the request of the owner or authorized agent of the private property.

    (b)

    (1) The department shall have the authorization to regulate and control the towing of trespassing vehicles on private property if such towing is performed without the prior consent or authorization of the owner or operator of the vehicle, including the authority to set just and reasonable rates, fares, and charges for services related to the removal, storage, and required notification to owners of such towed vehicles. No storage fees shall be charged for the first 24 hour period which begins at the time the vehicle is removed from the property, and no such fees shall be allowed for the removal and storage of vehicles removed by towing and storage firms found to be in violation of this Code section. The department is authorized to impose a civil penalty for any violation of this Code section in an amount not to exceed $2,500.00.

    (2) In accordance with subsection (d) of this Code section, the governing authority of a municipality may require towing and storage operators to charge lower maximum rates on traffic moving between points within such municipality than those provided by the department's maximum rate tariff and may require higher public liability insurance limits and cargo insurance limits than those required by the department. The governing authority of a municipality shall not provide for higher maximum costs of removal, relocation, or storage than is provided for by the department.

    (c) In all municipalities, except a consolidated city-county government, having a population of 100,000 or more according to the United States decennial census of 1970 or any future such census a person entitled to the possession of an off-street parking area or vacant lot within an area zoned commercial by the municipality shall have the right to remove any vehicle or trespassing personal property parked thereon after the regular activity on such property is concluded for the day only if access to such property from the public way is blocked by a sturdy chain, cable, or rope stretched at least 18 inches above grade across all driveways or other ways providing access to the off-street parking area or vacant lot and there is conspicuously posted in the area a notice, the location of which must be approved by the municipality's police department, that any vehicle or trespassing personal property parked thereon which is not authorized to be in such area may be removed at the expense of the owner along with information as to where the vehicle or trespassing personal property may be recovered, the cost of said recovery, and information regarding the form of payment.

    (d)

    (1) In addition to the regulatory jurisdiction of the department, the governing authority of each municipality having towing and storage firms operating within its territorial boundaries may require and issue a license or permit to engage in private trespass towing within its corporate municipal limits pursuant to this Code section to any firm meeting the qualifications imposed by said governing authority. The fee for the license or permit shall be set by such governing authority. The maximum reasonable costs of removal, relocation, and storage pursuant to the provisions of this Code section shall be compensatory, as such term is used in the public utility rate-making procedures, and shall be established annually by the governing authority of each municipality having towing and storage firms operating within its territorial boundaries; provided, however, that no storage fees shall be charged for the first 24 hour period which begins at the time the vehicle is removed from the property, and no such fees shall be allowed for the removal and storage of vehicles removed by towing and storage firms found to be in violation of this Code section.

    (2) Towing and storage firms operating within a municipality's corporate limits shall obtain a nonconsensual towing permit from the department and shall file its registered agent's name and address with the department.

    (e) Any person who suffers injury or damages as a result of a violation of this Code section may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for actual damages, which shall be presumed to be not less than $100.00, together with court costs. A court shall award three times actual damages for an intentional violation of this Code section.

    (f) It shall be unlawful and punishable by a fine of $1,000.00 for any towing and storage firm, permitted or unpermitted, licensed or unlicensed, to enter into any agreement with any person in possession of private property to provide automatic or systematic surveillance of such property for purposes of removal and relocation of any such vehicle or trespassing personal property except upon call by such person in possession of such private property to such towing and storage firm for each individual case of trespass; provided, further, that it shall be unlawful and punishable by a fine of $1,000.00 for any towing and storage firm to pay to any private property owner or one in possession of private property any fee or emolument, directly or indirectly, for the right to remove a vehicle or trespassing personal property from said private property.

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