Local towing policy is a racket

My son did a favor for a friend [recently] by offering a ride from an apartment complex in north Asheville called the Grove. When leaving, he discovered his car had been towed by All-Safe Towing from the half-empty parking lot to the tune of $150, which had to be paid in cash only. This is a substantial fee for anyone, but especially for a student who works to support himself.

While making a complaint to the manager of the Grove the day after towing, I discovered that the Grove receives a kickback from All-Safe Towing for each vehicle towed off their property. What an incentive to have a ridiculous towing policy! This apartment complex serves off-campus students who do not yet realize the extent to which they are being taken advantage by this towing racket. I want to spread the word to them and other parents.

— Leslie Dickerson


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12 thoughts on “Local towing policy is a racket

  1. chops

    I don’t mean to be cynical, but if your son is old enough to drive, then he should already be aware that you can’t just park your car anywhere.

    Also, this friend could have warned about the lot rules.

    And finally, I wonder why your son was not the one who complained to the manager. Maybe *you* are more bothered by this? In which case, there is a pattern of disregard on his part.

  2. LOKEL

    Whether the lot was “half empty” or not makes no difference if your college student son was parked where he shouldn’t have been … I assume he can read?

  3. Dionysis

    “My son did a favor for a friend [recently] by offering a ride from an apartment complex in north Asheville called the Grove. When leaving, he discovered his car had been towed…”

    It would seem, then, that the letter-writer’s son did more than just give a ride to the apartment; he evidently spent some time socializing while parked in a resident parking space. The Grove representative writing in this same issue stated that there are clearly marked signs that cars parked in resident spots would be towed, and also that there are clearly marked visitor parking spots.

    No one likes to get their vehicle towed, but this seems a case of the writer’s son simply ignoring the rules and then having his mom take issue with it.

    Was the towing fine returned to the writer as stated in the rebuttal piece? If so, your son and you should consider yourself lucky. The School of Hard Knocks usually does not issue refunds.

  4. WitchDoctor

    I don’t know how long the son in this letter has been in town or where he lived before, but it sounds like he learned the hard way what everyone in Asheville, visitor and resident alike, should be aware of. If there are signs that say that you will be towed, then, if you park there, you will be towed. These towing companies mean business!

    I know there are some places where signs like that can be more or less ignored. My mom lives in a town like that. Someone would actually have to be annoyed enough by your parking to call the towing company. So, if you use reasonable judgement, you can probably get away with it. The you “will be towed” signs actually mean, “we have the right to have you towed if you do something really stupid like take the last resident spot in a crowded lot, and that resident happens to come home in a bad mood”.

    Asheville is not that kind of place. If the sign says, you “will be towed”, then it is safe to assume that YOU WILL BE TOWED. Everyone should let people know. Friends and family that are visiting and newcomers might not be aware (especially folks from smaller towns). The Red Truck is NOT your friend!

  5. John

    This is all well and good but private towing is straight up unconstitutional. The seizing of one’s property with no recourse other than to pay your fine to private company smacks in the face of due process. No one should be deprived of their property with some sort of government process involved.

    A citation for illegal parking by a law enforcement officer would be an example of due process. This way one could fight the towing in court. There are more than few folks in Asheville who claim their cars have been towed illegally and have no recourse what-so-ever in the matter.

    Of course, the supreme court would have to rule on state towing laws and I’m sure they have better things to do.

  6. cwaster

    From another post: “If the Grove gets a cut of towing fees, then it is obviously in their best interest financially to have everyone towed that they legally can. ”

    This issue needs to be looked into by lawmakers- this is wrong. i think it’s called a “kickback” in common terms.

  7. Jacq

    Would due process hold up if you are illegally parked on private property? If you park in my driveway can I not have your car towed without due process?

  8. Cheshire

    I think the only issue I have with this is that the fee was payable in cash only. How many people carry $150 on them these days? I thought they were supposed to take credit cards?

    Beyond that, if it’s conspicuously marked as a tow zone and you ignore the signs and park there, don’t expect your vehicle to be there when you get back. “It was only for a minute” doesn’t fly. You’re either illegally parked or your not. Suck it up.

  9. Kriss

    Cheshire wrote, “I think the only issue I have with this is that the fee was payable in cash only…I thought they were supposed to take credit cards?”

    Indeed, they are supposed to take credit cards. That was part of the predatory towing ordinance enacted by the City of Asheville in 2009.

    The Asheville Code of Ordinances, Part II, Chapter 11, Article I, Sec. 11-18, Sub-sec. C1, Paragraph 5 states:

    Any tow service that engages in a trespass tow shall accept at least two nationally recognized credit or debit cards (such as MasterCard or Visa) in payment for any fee established in this ordinance.

    So the towing company was in violation of the law if they demanded cash only.

  10. CW

    The ordinance applies only to the Central Business District and the Historical Baltimore District. Property owners, tow truck operators and middle men are free to extort money from anyone they catch in their empty lots outside of those areas. My car was taken from the “business” lot across from the Dripolator. There were inconspicuously posted signs. I had to pay $230 in cash to get my car.

  11. CrowTRobot

    Blah Blah Blah lets blame the victim for parking there Blah Blah Blah he should of known Blah Blah. All noise from people suffering from fundamental attribution error and defending should-be criminal racketeers. Anyone who defends these towing companies ought to be ashamed of themselves, and I hope to see your car stolen from you and held for ransom by some dirtbag who can’t get a real job other than coning other people. While some people do park illegally and know it, many do fall victim to these con men who rip people off by loitering in areas with poorly posted signs then snatching peoples cars in a matter of minutes.

    This country is so corrupt to the point that we throw people in jail for possessing small amounts of a plant but we allow scum to steal peoples cars for petty parking violations, then hold tens of thousands of dollars worth of property ransom to make them pay a ridiculous fee to drag their car off to a gravel lot. Any time someone has a monetary incentive for others to break “rules”, you get corruption. The system for this is very broken, and unconstitutional, and needs to be changed.

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