i live in the very small town of little river, california pop. 412.
i'll try to make this as brief as possible. my friend's car broke down the day before yesterday in the parking lot of the little river market/post office/seafood restaurant. my dad was unable to jumpstart her car. she spoke with employees and the LR store owner and let them know the situation and that she was working on finding a way to get her car out of there. after trying to get help from a few people and keeping the store in the loop about her progress, she asked if i could use my AAA to have her car towed to our house. she called the store to let them know that we were about to call AAA to have the car towed. the store asked her to call the property manager to let them know. the property manager's husband was very condescending and they briefly had words over the phone(nothing extreme i.e. cussing). i then called AAA for her and drove her down to the lot her car had broken down in. the property manager called a different towing company at the same time and urgently requested that they tow her car immediately..
10 or so minutes after we arrived on scene, a tow truck arrived..we thanked him for showing up so fast, cindy identified herself as the car owner and told him we'd like to be towed to our house about a mile away. he hitched up her car and had a couple of whispered conversations with the property manager who had showed up while he was hitching the car. it wasn't until after he had hitched her car that he let us know with a smirk and a chuckle that he was not the AAA driver, but had been called by the property manager. My friend instructed him to unhitch her car immediately and he refused to do so. AAA showed up while she was trying to get the other tow driver to unhook her car, and AAA just had to leave saying there was nothing they could do. The other tow co. took her car to impound and charged her 710 dollars today to retrieve it. i have a few legal questions after doing some research. i would appreciate any and all input. thank you!
-the lot has two entrances. i read in the CVC listings that no parking signs must be posted at all entrances. there was no sign posted at the entrance where her car was parked which is on the other side of some gas pumps from the other entrance where the sign was posted. also, in the ca laws, it states that the no parking sign must have phone numbers for the PD and the tow company. the sign had neither and was about 40-50 feet at least from where she was parked. how much of a difference does it make if the lot's signage was not up to code?
- i also read that, by law, the tow driver must "immediately and unconditionally" release the driver's car even after he has hitched it, so long as he has not left the property/is not in transit. did the tow driver definitely break the law by not releasing her car when she instructed him to do so? (CVC 22658)
-the law states that the tow co. impound must be within 10 miles of the location it was towed from..this tow company is 13 miles from the lot..how much does this matter?
-i had her request a copy of the authorization to tow form when she picked up her car from impound, and it only had about half the information required by law on it. is this an avenue she can pursue?
-i read that when you pick up your car from the tow lot, they must, by law, give you the information needed for you to press charges against them and or pursue civil action against them if you believe they have illegally towed your car. According to California Vehicle Code 22658. Is this information something you have to ask for, or are they required to give it to you without asking? also i understood the law to say that the tow driver must take a photo of the violation. is that correct?
-on the receipt the tow co. gave my friend, he wrote that the reason for the tow was that her car was blocking a driveway, which it was not. is that legal?
- i understand that there is a legal maximum the tow company can charge her. where can i find out what that maximum is in mendocino county, california?
I'm new to this board so i apologize if this is long winded. i'm just appalled that the tow company/property manager would behave in such a sneaky/vindictive way in such a small community, and i'd like to know if my friend has any legal recourse against the towing company and/or the property manager of the lot she was towed from. thanks in advance!