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  1. #1

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    heres a link to the 4 images... just replace the spaces before the "co"
    with a "."
    ibb co/album/nMk7pF

    My car was towed from a gated community that i live in. My roommate's truck takes up the entire carport so i have to drive around looking for guest parking. Back on the 8th of october most all of the guest parking was taken so i had to park by the front entrance to the community. The road that leads in to the place once you pass the gated entry, has about 6 homes on the left and on the right there is open curb side parking. The road then takes a 90 degree turn left and carries on into the rest of the community. Toward the end of the curve is a Fire Lane No Parking sign, and AFTER the curve completes, the curb is painted red. The curb is painted throughout the rest of the community and no parking signs every hundred feet or so. But the FIRST red curb once you enter the place is after that curve. When the park is full and i cant find anywhere to park i have found luck parking right at the beginning of that curve. its about 2 car lengths before the Fire Lane No Parking sign, and at least 5 car lengths before the red curb starts. Well i parked right at the beginning of that curve like i have dozens of times before.

    The following Thursday ( yeah i dont go out much) i went to run an errand and my car was gone. I called the office to see if they knew anything about it and was told they had no record of anyone being towed.... i told them where i was parked and their reply was, "we told them not to tow cars from there." She gives me the number for the towing company they have a contract with to tow illegally parked cars and suggests calling them. I call them and learn the car was in fact towed 3 days earlier on Monday. He tells me it was parked in a fire zone, i tried defending myself and got nowhere. I called the building back up and asked her to call them and get my car released. She said there was nothing she could do but she would try. Hours pass i call her again, now she tells me yes i was illegally parked and her hands are tied. She then scorns me for waiting so long to resolve this and suggests had i called on Monday when it happened she might have been able to help me. I had no idea my car was missing until i went to use it on that thursday. In any event she wouldnt budge and the towing company wouldnt budge and i wound up having to pay $405 to get my car back.

    When i picked up my car i asked for pictures because they are suppose to supply them per 22658(i)(2) vc but was told someone would have to call me back about that. No one did.... and i've made 2 more calls to them and been unsuccessful reaching the person who suppose to give them to me. To my understanding they were to be supplied with my invoice and in fact that same section states this:

    (5) A person who violates this subdivision is civilly liable to the owner of the vehicle or his or her agent for four times the amount of the towing and storage charges.

    In any event I was clearly not illegally parked in a fire lane as the marking requirements for a fire lane per 22500.1 vc is as follows:

    The designation shall be indicated (1) by a sign posted immediately adjacent to, and visible from, the designated place clearly stating in letters not less than one inch in height that the place is a fire lane, (2) by outlining or painting the place in red and, in contrasting color, marking the place with the words “FIRE LANE”, which are clearly visible from a vehicle, or (3) by a red curb or red paint on the edge of the roadway upon which is clearly marked the words “FIRE LANE”.

    Now there is a white line at the beginning of the curve which i always assumed was from when there were parking space markers but they've done construction on that road in so much they have not repainted them back in.

    The last thing id like to add, is no one notified me my car was towed. The managers have my license plate information and the tow truck driver i believe is suppose to notify me or the manager by getting my name and address from the DMV. Furthermore after 72 hours they are allowed to charge you a Lien Sale Processing Fee, which they did yet i still never got any notification they planned on selling my car.

    So...because it was on private property i cant request a review from the police dept and instead have to go to small claims court. My question is who am i suing the towing company or the property owners? The tow truck driver made the decision to tow it on a blanket order on the other hand the managers now say that it is a tow away zone.

    By the way, $405 was a lot of money for me right now and ironically part of my rent i was saving up for next month. My roommate wants me to just eat and shut up because she doesnt want to risk getting kicked out... but i really could use that money back plus its the principle of the matter.

    thanks in advance for any suggestions

    p.s. I tried posting pics but for some reason the system wouldnt let me include images or even links to the images in my post. Kinda sucks because seeing where i parked is the point of this whole post. lol.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2,730

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    What state?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    Judging by the VC quoted I'm going to assume you are in California.

    Your only real option is to sue the towing company in small claims.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    Judging by the VC quoted I'm going to assume you are in California.

    Your only real option is to sue the towing company in small claims.
    Suing is NEVER the only real option.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    Your only real option is to sue the towing company in small claims.
    I'm not sure that I agree. This was on private property and the tow company was acting at the behest of the management company (based on their contract). I believe that the management company can also be held liable if the tow was improper. I'm not sure that the tow was improper because I haven't read the various rules in the community (nor do I plan to).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    Hey thanks for the quick replies. Hopefully you were able to view the photo album link i somehow managed to put at the top of my posting... it was a fluke and didnt want to try editing its position as it took me 3 days to post this as it was...lol

    SO yes this was los angeles california. I have spent literally a week researching this trying to come up with my best angle. Honestly, i wouldnt be pursuing this had both the tow-truck company and the managers not been so matter of fact about this and neither agreeing to even reduce this in half.

    my question would be, do i file against both of them in one suit or do i sue them separately? And if i prove they broke several laws, does that mean i can collect more than the 4 times the towing fees? As in, say they are found guilty of an illegal tow which i can collect 4x the tow and storage but they also are found guilty of failure to give me photos of the illegal tow which has a penalty also of 4x the tow and storage ...if they are found guilty on both counts can i get 8x the towing and storage? But then also the managers are found guilty for not notifying me there is a 2x penalty, could i collect on that too if they are found guilty? i know its small claims and i believe i cant have a lawyer present but is getting a paralegal or something to help me fill out the paperwork correctly an option?

    they also towed my car further than the 10 miles they are allowed to by law. The towing company that towed my car has a location 8 miles away and one 13 miles away... they towed it to the 13 mile away one and the code says they are liable for 2 times the towing and storage if they violate that.

    they also did not notify the police they had my car until 90 minutes after they picked it up, its suppose to be done within 15 of arriving at the garage or within an hour of picking up the vehicle, which ever is shortest. There's a 3times penalty on that.

    im not the "dick" type honestly... but if youre gonna screw me like they did, i want to push back so they dont do this to somoene else... course i worry about them seeing my car again here and scratching the hell out of it ifi follow through with that...then again im sure there is a penal code for that too...

    thanks again for your insight and knowledge....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    Quote Quoting Zigner
    View Post
    I'm not sure that I agree. This was on private property and the tow company was acting at the behest of the management company (based on their contract). I believe that the management company can also be held liable if the tow was improper. I'm not sure that the tow was improper because I haven't read the various rules in the community (nor do I plan to).
    From the OP's description of events, he wasn't parked in a tow zone and the tow company towed it anyway. That seems like a tow company error to me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    From the OP's description of events, he wasn't parked in a tow zone and the tow company towed it anyway. That seems like a tow company error to me.
    Yes, I can see that. Now, the question remains...is the OP actually allowed to park their per the rules?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Car Was Impounded for Parking in an Unmarked Fire Lane in My Gated Community

    hopefully you can look at the pictures i uploaded at this link (just replace the space before the "co" with a "."

    ibb co/album/nMk7pF

    There is no one in their right mind that would know where the curb side parking ended and the fire lane began other than right where the "no parking" sign was posted (at least 2 car lengths in front of me) or where the curb was painted red (about 5 car lengths in front of me). In hindsight i guess i could see them saying the fire trucks may have a problem making that 90 degree turn and cars cant park anywhere along that curve. But its not marked as no parking or a fire lane so i cant see how they can legally immediately tow my car as if i was parked in a red curbed fire lane.

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