With Mardi Gras over the next two weeks, Isle tow companies and their predator-mindset drivers, without a doubt will charge unauthorized drop fees, tow vehicles without probable cause (illegal tow sign, sign not facing the driver or placed at incorrect locations) will be stealing vehicles and robbing vehicle owners and operators, then commit fraud at their vehicle storage facilities.
Earlier, I spoke with Interim Galveston City Attorney Don Glywasky about the predatory towing taking place on Island. I told him Galveston needs to update their wrecker ordinance to set a lower fee of $150 instead of the state cap at $257, as after storage fees are included, John Q Motorist must pay $297.30 the first day or $370.65 on the 2nd day. I also told Don, the updated wrecker ordinance should prohibit vehicles towed with the owner or operator consent from being towed out of Galveston. He is interested in addressing the issue.
Galveston city officials should be ashamed of themselves for not updating their wrecker ordinance to set a lower tow fee and not allow vehicles towed without owner or operator consent to be towed to Houston or out of the Galveston city limits.
Predatory Katy, Texas-based H Town Towing, owner Don Perry enjoys towing vehicles belonging to UTMB students, nurses, family members attending doctor appointments and residents with their guest, vehicles from apartment complexes. Perry just drools at the thought of the money he make and continues to make at the taxpaying citizens misery.
It’s total BS Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough and the entire City Council. looks the other way as the residents of Galveston are faced with driving to Houston to retrieve their vehicles from their apartment complex hones in Galveston.
Just to give the public some idea, how elected officials don’t represent citizens possessing a TX drivers license with Galveston address or protect visitors to the Island from this fraud is the Tow/storage 293.30, cab ride to Houston area storage large facility $250, lose job for not showing up, spend 5+hours in traffic round trip. Out of town visitors with families are screwed even worse and create a huge financial and logistics nightmare.
Under no circumstances, should you ever allow a tow truck driver to take you to an ATM for cash to release your vehicle, as they can only charge a drop fee, when the vehicle is fully ready to transport, and if being fully ready for transport, they are required to accept cash and all major credit cards in addition to providing you a receipt, something you DO NOT sign regardless what the tow truck driver or vehicle storage facility tells you.
The majority of the tow signs (red and white) fail to comply with State Law, they may look legal, but they aren’t legal, nor posted in the correct locations or heights.
Always demand the tow truck operator and vehicle storage facility employee show you their TDLR license, as shown below. They cannot refuse this request, as some of these people do not hold a valid license. Make sure the receipts are legible, as you could be entitled to $1000 plus three times what you paid.
Should your vehicle be towed, prepare yourself for humiliation at the storage facility, as some of the storage lot employees can be outright demeaning, but following the “storage facility procedures” will guarantee your rights will not be violated.
After discovering your vehicle has been towed, use you smartphone to take a photo of the red and white tow sign, stand back from the driveways from street and take that photo as illustrated below. These photos will be required should you file for the Tow Hearing, at Galveston County JP McCumber’s Court to get your money back.
Understanding your rights can determine your Mardi Gras 2016 experience, as if your towed, that trip to Galveston could turnout to be a big payday, as if you pay $300, Judge McCumber could award you $2000, when filing the Small Claims Lawsuit for Statutory Violations.
If you just file for a Tow Hearing, you could only be awarded what you paid plus the filing fees.
As with previous Mardi Gras celebrations, don’t expect any relief with calling the Galveston Police Department, as they lack training on enforcing the Texas Towing, Storage & Booting Act.
Happy Mardi Gras!!!