Not A Good Feeling

Getting your vehicle towed away leaves you with that sinking feeling in your stomach you never want to experience again.

Getting your vehicle towed away leaves you with that sinking feeling in your stomach you never want to experience again.

I was reminded of that as I read a story about how the NC Senate passed new rules giving consumers more rights when it comes to their vehicles being towed away.

It happened to me once while I was working at a radio station in downtown Pittsburgh years ago. 

When I worked the early shift (getting in around 3:00 a.m.) I would park on the street outside of our office building.  I would then have to go move my vehicle to a parking lot about a mile away by 6:30 a.m. or so in the morning when the streets needed to be cleared for rush hour traffic.  I didn't want to make that walk in the middle of the night, so I waited until daylight.  One day I got really busy and forgot.  When I left work for the day my car was gone.

Having my vehicle towed was of course my fault.  I left it where it shouldn't have been. But here's the problem I then encountered.  I had no idea where it was.  I didn't know if it had been stolen or what happened.  Co-workers suggested I call the tow pound to see if it was there.  Sure enough it was.  Next problem, paying the more than hundred dollars in cash or credit card to get it out.  The longer you go without meeting those demands, the more you have to pay.

The reforms NC is considering now would have certainly helped in my situation.  The changes would require parking lots that tow away unauthorized vehicles to post a 2-by-2 foot sign with the name and phone number of its towing company.  Vehicles couldn't be towed more than 25 miles away and car owners could pay to get their car without giving up the right to contest the charges later. Towing companies couldn't force car owners to sign away their right to go to court to get their vehicle.

Aside from any changes lawmakers might make and what that may mean for consumers and for tow truck operators, the best advice of course is to make sure you don't get towed in the first place.  But it does happen to many people for many reasons.  I can happily say it has never happened to me again.  But you never know!

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