Going toe to tow

My wife and I and our 6-month-old baby were recent visitors to your fair city, to see my wife’s parents. We have been to Asheville before and know parking during daylight hours can be difficult, at best.

On a Friday evening, I parked my car next to Zambra’s restaurant to go in and pick up my in-laws after dinner, and ended up having coffee with them while they finished their dessert. I wasn’t [gone] more than 15 minutes, and when we went to leave, I couldn’t find my car. It had been towed. … At first, I panicked, as I didn’t see any signs until I looked up at the wall. I had not spotted the No Parking sign, nor was there any warning on my way out of the parking lot.

I called the number etched in small letters and was told my car was available for pick up for $150 cash, even though the fee was $125 for towing and $25 a “day.” They’d had my car less than an hour. I called my wife to tell her what had happened, and put her parents in a cab to go home to North Asheville while I called another cab and went to retrieve my car—which was in a deserted … part of town. … I saw [three] other car owners paying $150 in cash while I waited. [The attendent] pulled in $450 cash in less than half an hour. I imagine his take for the night is tax-free thousands of dollars. [This] speaks poorly of your city and the people who run it or allow [such companies] to operate with impunity.

I offered a credit card or check, and was told they took neither. All reputable businesses take these, and I felt my car was being held ransom for cash, like I was in a foreign country. I had borrowed some cash from my father-in-law, and with my taxi fare, that cup of coffee in your fair city cost me over $160. [This] ruins the friendly welcome your city portrays so well. Something should be done about it.

— Robert Mesner


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9 thoughts on “Going toe to tow

  1. Dave

    So, you parked your car in front of a business, on a steep hill, on a one way street, where no other cars are parked for “just a minute” (but then lingered over coffee)? and you feel like you have been slighted in some way?

    I dont see how anyone could mistake that spot for a goo parking area.

    Please, we need less people in our “Fair City” who act like you do. Not more.

  2. Carrie

    I’m not sure why you are complaining. There is a parking lot DIRECTLY across the street where you can park free (less than 1 hour or 1$ on weekends) Of course it sucks when your car gets towed but it was clearly your fault. Sorry.

  3. bobaloo

    parking during daylight hours can be difficult
    No, it’s not. You just have to pay for it.

  4. Phillip Gibson

    I agree with bobaloo, Carrie, & Dave. There is plenty of parking in Asheville – especially at night. It is sentiments like this that result in unneeded expenditures such as another parking deck.

  5. cwaster

    Gotta agree, look at the signs.

    However- the fees seem to be a bit high.

    Back in ’03, I parked in the lot next to Downtown book and news. I went over to downtown book and news to shop. I then went across the street and got a cup of coffee and a sandwich. Guess what? The crazy old lady at DTBN had me towed. According to her, she had no idea it was a customer’s car- and didn’t ask. It cost me 150 bucks, and I ate oodles of noodles that month.

    Although parking in a restricted area is bad, it does seem like the fees are too high and the system is a bit predatory in my opinion.

  6. September Girl

    I use the parking lots religiously downtown. They are quite convenient when they are not full. But, seriously, $150 cash! That’s a racket if I ever saw one. I’m gettin’ me a tow truck.

  7. Appaholic

    It is the person’s fault…..and $150 in cash is very excessive….quite honestly, this racket will result in violence one day…..the drivers are unforgiving, wanting $150 if you get to your car before they hook it up, but they block you from leaving…..all the more reason to carry a lead pipe or taser in your car…

  8. lance

    “At first, I panicked, as I didn’t see any signs until I looked up at the wall. I had not spotted the No Parking sign, nor was there any warning on my way out of the parking lot.”

    There are signs at every entrance, there are signs on the DOOR of Zambra’s that state “don’t park in the lot next to Zambra’s”

    I don’t like being towed either, but this fellow is not being honest to Xpress or himself. He thought he could get away with it, and now he wants sympathy. Folks like this should stay home.

    Shame on you Xpress for allowing outright lies to be printed.

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