My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California
On December 1, 2009, my vehicle was improperly and possibly unlawfully towed by a local tow company. I arrived at my sister’s home as a guest and parked in front of her garage with the purpose of picking up some items through the garage door. The area was not indicated as a fire lane. I was parked only momentarily and left my vehicle unattended to ring the doorbell. Upon opening the garage door a few minutes later, a tow truck and man from a parking enforcement company were preparing to tow my vehicle. At this time, the vehicle was not attached to the tow.
Both parties would not allow me to move my truck as they blocked my vehicle in. They refused to move and said they would accept a ‘drop fee’ of $60 only if the registered owner of the vehicle, my father, arrived prior to completion of securing my vehicle to the dolly. The gentleman with the parking enforcement company then stated that the vehicle was going to be towed regardless and that it would have to be picked up from the tow yard and pay $180 to have the vehicle released.
In addition, the tow truck did not properly secure my vehicle to the dolly, and as the driver attempted to leave, my vehicle was dragged approximately 50 feet from where my vehicle was parked.
Upon arriving at towing site to claim my vehicle at approximately 9:30pm, the man in the office stated he could not release my vehicle to my father because the paperwork was not completed and the tow truck driver involved had left the premises to assist in another tow. We were told the wait would be ten minutes, however the driver did not arrive for another 30 minutes. The driver arrives and we are told the charge would be $220- $185 for the tow and $35 for a ‘citation’- (Do they have the authority to charge a fee for a citation?). This was $40 more than what we were told at the time the towing took place.
I asked for an explanation of fees and a breakdown of services and the man in the office directed me to a price list displayed on the office wall. He stated that if we did not want to pay $220, we could pay $300+ for the private tow, dolly use, mileage, and vehicle storage.
The local news has investigated this company. The BBB has multiple complaints filed against them and they have a 'F' rating. I have already stumbled across many websites in which consumers have given this company very bad reviews. I do not want to fall victim to this tow company. Any help/advice would be much appreciated.