Motorists in Texas Targeted by Criminals in Tow Trucks

Motorists are advised if you must call any motor club or tow company for roadside services or towing, demand they do not send a service person or wrecker driver who is a convicted felon or registered sex offender, as many wrecker drivers are felons, not all of them, but an alarming number of them are.

In my opinion, motorists can expect to be scammed by towing companies, their drivers, booting companies and parking facilities in the following areas due to outdated tow signs:

Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Denton, Arlington

Galveston Island, Crystal Beach, Surfside – There are no legal tow signs posted anywhere on the Island and any towing without the vehicle owner or operator consent is not authorized by State Law.  Refuse to pay any drop fee to a wrecker driver, get inside your vehicle, lock the doors and wait for a police officer or deputy to arrive. But be forewarned, the Galveston Police Department based on their prior history of private property towing incidents will do nothing for you, even being a criminal offense has occurred. Be absolutely sure you record with your cellphone of the tow signs posted, thee location of the tow sign, all interactions between a tow company, the storage facility and police should they be called, if involves a private property towing issue.

Corpus Christi – There are no legal tow signs posted anywhere and any towing without the vehicle owner or operator consent is not authorized by State Law.  Refuse to pay any drop fee to a wrecker driver, get inside your vehicle, lock the doors and wait for a police officer or deputy to arrive.  Be absolutely sure you record with your cellphone the tow signs posted, the location of the tow sign, all interactions between a tow company, the storage facility and police should they be called, if involves a private property towing issue.

San Antonio – Less than one percent of the tow signs posted anywhere in Bexar County are legal and any towing without the vehicle owner or operator consent is not authorized by State Law.  In San Antonio, do not pay the wrecker driver or booting person anything until a police officer arrives, always call 911 as a alarming number of convicted felons are wrecker drivers have a history of bullying drivers into pay their extortion fee. If towed in San Antonio, please call 210-207-2348 or email/text  to file criminal charges. Be absolutely sure you record with your cellphone the tow signs posted, the location of the tow signs, all interactions between a tow company, the storage facility and police should they be called, if involves a private property towing issue.

Austin/Round Rock/Cedar Park – 95% of the parking lots in these cities that vehicle are towed from regularly do not have legal tow signs posted.  In San Marcos, only one tow company provide a legal tow sign as the others claim they are not going to obey the law. Never pay a drop fee or allow a wrecker driver to take your vehicle if you catch them on the parking lot. State Law allows a vehicle to use reasonable force to protect their vehicle from theft. Always call 911.  Be absolutely sure you record with your cellphone the tow signs posted, the location of the tow sign, all interactions between a tow company, the storage facility and police should they be called, if involves a private property towing issue.

The majority of parking facilities, anywhere where parking is allowed, except for residences in neighborhoods, have outdated tow signs posted, which is still in place to scam motorists.

If the tow sign posted does not look exactly like one below, the only difference would be the phone number to locate the vehicle, or specifically who may park and prohibit all other, you become a crime victim of illegal towing and are due $1000 plus triple damages.

Legal Tow Sign

The only legal tow sign, after September 1, 2013, can only look and state certain information, such as, in the red background below the tow symbol, can only state one of three phrases: (1) Towing Enforced, (2) Booting Enforced, (3) Towing and Booting Enforced.  No other words can be added to these phrases or placed anywhere else on the sign, period! The hours and days that towing is enforced at the parking facility must also be on the sign.  This lettering must be red on white background at least 1″ in height, as shown on the sign above.  There are no other variations allowed for the “hours” and “days”, such as All Times and Days..Judges in Bexar, Brazos, Dallas, Travis, Jefferson, Montgomery, Denton and Nueces Counties ruled it must state exactly as written in the law.

capitoltowillegalsignDSCF3103IMG_1138dallasillegaltowsignDSCF1999

Sign became illegal on 9-1-13

The above Capital Towing sign has been illegal since 9-1-13 because they added illegal text to a phrase in quotes.

PRS_Illegal_Sign_8.2011

TDLR Towing, Booting & Storage Advisory Board Chair’s Towing Sign for their company, PRS

If towed from a parking lot bearing this sign, call 817-704.3984 for $1000 plus triple damages

If towed from a parking lot bearing this sign, call 817-704.3984 for $1000 plus triple damages

Signs shown above became illegal on 9-1-13

Checkout the Illegal Tow Sign database to see if your vehicle was towed illegally.

The Texas Towing Law was written in the summer of 1991 and the purpose of the law is to have standard for towing vehicles without the owner or operator consent from private or public parking facilities.  The Law was written placing the responsibility on the parking facility, with regards to notification aka signage and other parking facility restrictions.  The Towing Industry also has to obey the same LAW, but cannot have a monetary interest in the parking facility.

There has always been a criminal penalty for violating the Tow Law, but many police departments viewed the Law as a civil issue, when reality it was criminal offense.

If you are towed without your consent, or bullied into paying a drop fee, always demand a receipt so you can file an online complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations.

Motorists are advised if you must call any motor club or tow company for roadside services or towing, you demand they do not send a service person or wrecker driver who is a convicted felon or registered sex offender, as many wrecker drivers are felons, not all of them, but an alarming number of them are.

If you have questions or hesitate on paying a drop fee, immediately call or text the tow hotline at 512-680-3190..

When you see these red and white tow signs when driving around, snap a picture of the sign and email it to pat@texastowingcompliance.com.

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