Classic Towing, located in Sugarland, Texas has created a financial nightmare for apartment complexes whom signed a tow contract to enforce parking permits. Matter of fact, 48 complaints have been filed TDLR with more to come for Mr. Bryan Miller’s criminal conduct (2308.405).
This is a major “no no” for a tow company licensee, to provide parking permits with their “company name” it to an apartment complex property management company, to enforce permit parking.
This is really an easy Small Claims Court lawsuit for statutory violations against a property management company, property owner or even property manager, to win. We know all of the tactics tow company owners, their managers and sales staff use to get a signature on a limited or patrol tow contract. It’s used to be back in 90’s, a property manager would send a tow company representative out the door if they bad mouth their current company that is working just fine and offering a perk to change companies.
As an example, Mr. Miller and the rest of the unscrupulous tow company owners should take notice to, is the TDLR case against Longhorn Wrecker, that has been dragged out to long through the courts, now that preemption no longer exist. Numerous property managers admitted to TDLR investigators Longhorn provided then parking permits bearing the name of Longhorn Wrecker with their phone number for free or claim they were part of the agreement to tow vehicles. This is no laughing matter folks, as you will collect, especially after conducting a reverse call sting with the person who authorized the towing of vehicle. Some property managers may be reluctant to discuss their tow contract, but once you have them on the witness stand before a Judge, the truth will come out or they will face a perjury charge for lying as directed by their tow company.
Even finding a bright orange warning sticker on vehicle in any type of parking facility with the tow company’s name on it spells trouble for the property managers and business owners, as in a letter written by TDLR General Counsel Charles Johnson, a tow company cannot give a parking facility anything, this includes ballpoint pens, calendars, mouse pads, coffee cups, notepads, golf carts, a variety of signage needs, other than the required “only” tow signs, underneath carports signs, parking permits of any kind, warning stickers, postage for notification letters for expired inspection/registration stickers, parking lot striping at substantially lower cost, cash per vehicle as referral fee or gift cards.
There is even two Texas Attorney General Opinions reference these “illegal kickbacks,” DM330 and JC0554, but because Jess Horton, President of the Southwest Tow Operators was not prosecuted for Wire Fraud after faxing everyone with a fax number on the Austin Apartment Association membership list the classic bribe solicitation below, predatory tow company are willing to take that chance of not getting caught or arrested by law enforcement in their area. Incidentally, the FBI is taking a hard-nose look to address this type of wire fraud, as basically nobody can bribe a federal judge, not that we know of.
Now tow companies can’t use that excuse “we are preempted by federal law”, as they have exposed themselves and their accounts to huge lawsuits, criminal prosecution, IRS audits for 941 taxes and costly litigation cost due to their attorneys fighting a court challenge they can’t succeed in when before a Jury instead of Judge rendering a decision. It’s important to note, the statute of limitation to file a lawsuit reference this issue, rather towed, booted or charged a drop fee, is two years from date of the incident(s).
It’s a fact the majority of vehicle owners and operators have no clue how to file a Small Claims Lawsuit in Justice Courts, and because they don’t know, their rights are routinely violated with some losing their vehicles, then their jobs or unable to make doctors appointment. Since many have known for years, a person is being denied their rights, now there is a “step by step guide on how to file” these cases via a computer with an internet connection, after you register at this website.
Then the issue comes how you prove a property manager, knowingly, recklessly or intentionally violated the law. Not difficult as the majority of apartment complex management companies and owners are members of the Texas Apartment Association (TAA) through their local chapters. TAA provides what’s call the TAA REDBOOK, which is detailed information reference parking and towing issues, which also addresses the prohibition of accepting anything of value from a tow company. Many of these unscrupulous tow companies contribute heavily to their apartment association chapter by sponsoring events to basically bribes property managers at events such a trade shows and Casino Nights.
Important factors to remember, never talk to your property manager or the authorizing person or the vehicle storage facility employee after your vehicle is towed, UNLESS you record that conversation.
Return to the address your vehicle is towed from during the day to take very specific photos of all the driveways entering as shown below.
Don’t forget to complete the Tow Victim Incident Report so we can forward it to TDLR Enforcement to be entered for investigation and keep all of the paperwork provided at the vehicle storage facility or given to you by a tow truck or booting operator as it needs to be included in the Incident Report.
Under no circumstance do you ever sign any business paperwork, unless notarized, either at the storage facility, or from the tow truck or booting operator due to illegal disclaimers, as they cannot refuse to release your vehicle after payment has been submitted. If they attempt to force you to sign, call the Police or risk being a victim of identity theft and unauthorized credit card charges.
Don’t get burned during a drop fee scam, which happens more often due to a vehicle owner or operator being threatened with the towing of their vehicle, also call the Police and use you cellphone to video when catch the tow truck operator filming your vehicle.
ALWAYS ask the storage facility to show you proof the Certified Letter as required to tow vehicles for expired inspection/registration stickers has actually been mailed, by the property manager, not the tow company, as because if the tow company mails this letter, they have provided something of value to the parking facility which is a violation of Occupations Code 2308.402.
All of the information within this website translates in the language you understand and you can use that language when filing the incident report.
For these reasons mentioned in this article, it’s important to Join or Subscribe by email to Texas Towing Compliance so you always understand your rights…
Tow company owners should rethink your membership in any towing organization if they charge you a yearly membership fee, as you can rest assured, you will be given the correct information and access to all of the free information reference changes in the rules and regulations, when they change.
At a Tow Hearing, a vehicle owner or operator risk leaving Court with a judgement against them for attorney fees for the tow company, but in a Small Claims Lawsuit under Occupations Code 2308.404, attorney fees cannot be awarded and the odds are better at winning as you don’t have to prove negligence on behalf of the parking facility or tow company to collect.
“It’s just like being pregnant, there is no such thing as a little pregnant”, either you are or you’re not and same goes for following the Texas Towing, Storage and Booting Law as written.
It’s real simple, if the required number of tow signs are NOT posted within 25′ of the street nor facing you when entering get ready to collect….