Monday, February 15, 2010

'Predatory towing' on East Boulevard?

City Council Andy Dulin said even he was a victim, highlighting a recent discussion about how to handle aggressive tow truck drivers.

Dulin's anecdote:

He said he was on his way to work one day when he saw a wreck at Kenilworth and East Boulevard. He pulled into Starbucks to make sure everyone was okay. When he determined everyone was fine, he said he walked back to his car "and it was already hooked up and in the air."

Dulin acknowledges he parked in a spot that was not for the coffee shop and it had a sign. (Click here to read his account of two towing incidents.)

But members of the city's community safety committee are studying complaints about tow truck drivers swooping in within 30 seconds of a violation and citizens being charged more than the $120 cap.

One tractor trailer driver complained his rig was booted and hewas charged $1,800 to get it back.

A representative of a tow truck company told the committee they don't condone "stalking properties," but businesses shouldn't be punished for doing their job well.

"We may circle around, but that's part of our job," said Tim Harden of United Towing.

The committee asked for more information and will continue studying the matter.

- Doug Miller

121 comments:

Andy said...

So he saw the sign and parked there anyway?

I on both sides of the fence here. Some tow companies are very shady and have lucrative deals with property owners. But rarely are the signs not visible. Especially behind the Starbucks on East - thats their fault for opening a crappy coffee shop with no parking in car-crazy Charlotte.

Andy said...

*Should read "I sit on both sides..."

Andy said...

*Should read "I sit on both sides..."

on his forehead

Anonymous said...

Look. These tow truck owners are CRIMINALS !!! Its not just east its north east south and west and in the middle.

RIP OFF CROOKS everyone of them !!!

These bandits mostly deal in cash and have hidden lots to steal your vehicle away and extort cash 24/7/365.

Its not just in this city but in all cities and its criminal a mafioso racket making millions annually with no taxes.

The bad thing is cities allow this to occur and get nothing in return.

Under no circumstances should any tow truck STEAL a vehicle and extort money to get it back charging as much as 50 bucks a day storage.

THEFT !!! EXTORTION !!!

Almost as bad as the tax office.

Anonymous said...

I had my car towed at that Starbucks after 30 seconds in a spot that was marked for Starbucks customers. The guy refused to let me pay on the spot to get the car off the boot. What is a person supposed to do? Starbucks doesn't care and you can't call 911. Then I had to get a ride to the tow company and bring $120 cash. They issue a handwritten receipt and were not professional. They know how to get you.

Anonymous said...

Part of the real problem next to Starbucks on East Blvd are the NAZI front desk clerks from the KeyMan Building that watch their lot like vultures. The Tow Truck Company wouldn't be there if they hadn't called them in.

I was delivering items to a tenant in THEIR building and nearly got towed 6 months ago. I have lived in and around this area for over 10 years, visit the Starbucks regularly, and have NEVER seen every KeyMan controlled parking space occupied. This is a case of busy-body administrative staff with nothing better to do asserting misguided authority on the public. Sure...they have a right to protect their property from abuse, but they do NOT have a right to abuse their own authority to the extent of towing someone visiting their OWN building.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what the solution is, but the way these towing companies "steal" your car is BS.

Katie said...

They do stalk, at least at that site. I have watched it happen multiple times. They drive around and around waiting form someone. And they won't remove the boots until you pay them; even if they are still sitting there when you come out. I dropped off some supplies one day to the Starbucks there; was inside all of 3 mins and came out to find my car booted and the driver still there. They are rude and they DO STALK!!! Some one needs to reel them in.

Larry said...

See the cast of characters and note how they can change depending on your story line.

If you own the lot, you are trying to keep spots open for YOUR customers.

If you are the tow truck owner you are both savior and thug depending on your ethics and hopefully some well written laws.

If you are the owner of a car they tow, you are the angry payer of the fee.

If you are an Elected Official who ostensibly stops at wrecks, which happen to be near your favorite coffee, then you a victim of a predator.

See how the Observer can transform the characters to fit and assure future access to the elected officials.

Anonymous said...

something needs to be done/ with all the crazy people in Charlotte they lucky someone hasn't provoked violence upon the tow truck companies. I suggest quit doing business with star bucks and the other people who watch the lots/ that will make it stop for good.

Anteekmann95 said...

In Rowan County a young man Shot the driver with a shot gun because he thuoght his car was being stolen. Got away with it too.

Anonymous said...

Andy, you should take a look at that Key Man Building, many many code/housing violations.

Anonymous said...

yep...wasn't a story until someone "important" got caught in the game.

Anonymous said...

Since I got towed form the Starbucks lot on East Blvd I have NEVER bought their coffee again. I stay away from East Blvd TOTALLY due to that occurence. IF I had the same mentality as the tow drivers I would stalk THEIR vehicles and pull ALL the valve stems from their tires when they stop. There SHOULD be an open season to shoot stealth tow drivers. How would keyman respond to a few toilets full of quick set cement?

Anonymous said...

They only get away with it because we let them by electing wimpy officials. They should not be allowed in the downtown area unless called by the police dept. Why don't we bulldoze some of the shabby buildings in the city and create some parking. and all of you should quit drinking coffee its worst then smoking.
Starbucks how 1990 can you get if they dont have parking do give them your business, they will get the message and move to a better location

Anonymous said...

I don't even bother with the parking lots anymore. I always park on a side street and if I have to walk a couple blocks, then so be it. Certainly easier than dealing with the parking nazis.

I've never seen an stretch of businesses so particular about their parking than this strip of East. Be it the Starbucks or the Latta Building. Heaven help you if you park in the Latta lot and then go to Picasso's.

Anonymous said...

Yes -- someone needs to have the building inspector for code enforcement visit the Key Man. I'm also not sure about their compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Someone needs to make life as difficult for them as they make it for others.

Anonymous said...

I have witnessed these overly exhuberant towers who patrol..per business request...and move quickly. I watched them tow a new Cadillac Escalade, and they had to use forceful measures on the car to get it towed. Found out later the car had a sticker in its front window that meant this person was the owner of one of the condos and was supposed to be parked where she was.

Other side is people had been using the condo parking lot and its swimming pool and were not owners. Tough decision to make.

Anonymous said...

I went for an anniversary to Sullivan's at South Blvd. and East.
There was an empty lot across the street. Later I learned that there were no parking signs at about the height of my shins. It was dark, and I honestly did not see them. My vehicle was towed. I also found out that the Sullivan's valets had called it in. As a previous poster stated. I will NEVER spend another dime in this business area , even if it is at my own expense!

Anonymous said...

everyone on here that comments basically admits to parking where they shouldn't - and they wonder why they get booted/towed. get your heads out of your rear ends, people. if you're doing something you're not supposed to do, then you deserve to reap the consequences.

Anonymous said...

I'm very familiar with the parking situation behind Starbucks. I for one have not been hooked for parking in the wrong space. However, I've watched the tow trucks swoop through the lot with such frequency that "Predatory Towing" would properly describe their practice. Further, although signs are prominent, a couple of smaller signs with make shift arrows describing what's what creates confusion. Even I, knowing the current situation, have parked in the wrong space but caught the mistake before being towed.

Starbucks does care when it's their customer that has a vehicle towed. I've witnessed the manager asking customers where they have parked and warned them about being towed.

So, who profits from the current situation?

Let's look at the property owner next door. They are willing to rent additional parking spaces to Starbucks at an extortive rate and now shares in the revenue generated by the Towing Company contracted with.

Is this legal "Grand Larceny"? Or, perhaps it's a good way to drive a business out If one had designs on the Starbucks property for another use. Hummmm

Anonymous said...

It happened to me at my first day at school when I parked in an area that has no sign plus the tow truck person said good morning to me, he should at least ask me if I know it's non parking area, he was preying for people like me.It supposed to be a parking ticket,this towing business should be banned.A student paying $120 for a tow What happened to our country?

Anonymous said...

I know several people who have had their cars towed from this starbucks on East Blvd. My wife use to work at the salon right next door and she said they would see the towtruck driver park in the back of the parking lot and wait for people to park and walk into starbucks.

Yea people shouldnt be parking there but the towtruck drivers shouldnt be sitting there waiting either.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Dilworth for years and frequent our Starbucks often.

Most of the Starbucks signed spots are filled by people that buy one drink and spend ALL DAY sitting with their laptop taking up space. Never been towed because it's not worth the risk. People should know by now. It's not Starbucks fault. They don't own the lot. They have signs up warning their customers. Can't tell you how many times I have witnessed some prick run screaming inside at the baristas about their BMW being towed. Starbucks employees HAVE NO CONTROL OVER IT. LEAVE THEM ALONE

I just park along Scott. There are always spaces opening up.
Just watch not to park in 131 Main's valet zone. But that's only a few hours in the pm.

Anonymous said...

No matter what you think about the towing, use some common sense. If there are no parking signs, don't park there. Be glad you are not in a really busy city with less parking- some cities charge >$300 for a tow/boot, and that's the CITY. Also NC law allows a property owner to charge a fee of up to 50% of the vehicle's VALUE if you illegaly park on someone's property. ( this is an old law that is rarely enforced or upheld )

Anonymous said...

no, the lot is very poorly marked; very disjointed in how the parking spaces are set up.

Keyman is laughing. The abuse of the lot is overblown. Why not put a mini parking deck there or someone put a pay-lot across the street in that space thats growing weeds.

I will never go to that Starbuck's again. Last time, I told everyone who pulled into the lot to park somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
everyone on here that comments basically admits to parking where they shouldn't - and they wonder why they get booted/towed. get your heads out of your rear ends, people. if you're doing something you're not supposed to do, then you deserve to reap the consequences

WRONG !!!
IDIOT LIAR !!
GET LOST !!
Hope you get towed but you sound like a tow driver criminal.

WE ARE TALKING EXTORTION THEFT CROOKS and its happens 1000 times a day just in Char.!!!

Even if they are wrong you have to pay.

The only solution is to report these tow thieves to the cops although that will prob be a joke to them.

Someone mentioned a tow thief slimewad scum driver got shot?

HURRAY !!!

Anonymous said...

This is real easy: if you park in the lot of a business and then go somewhere else, you are trespassing and you deserve to have your car towed. What if someone parked in your driveway and blocked you in? Only park in the lots of the businesses you patronize or go park on a side street! I cannot believe how many people think it is okay to park anywhere they want and then blame the towing companies for doing their jobs!

Andy Dulin did not necessarily deserve to get his car towed because he stopped to help with an accident, but at the same time, he parked in the Starbucks lot and then did not go into the starbucks.

And this is now a big deal because it happened to an elected offical.

Anonymous said...

I am on both sides also.. So how long should the tow companies wait before towing someone who is Illegally parked.

Anonymous said...

the lot is very confusing to 1st time parkers.

Keyman should completely re-do the parking lot so it is very clear.

The issue isn't blatanly parking where one isn't supposed to; its that the spaces are not CLEARLY defined everywhere.
Some are, some aren't. Many don't even have a sign near them and you have to rely on arrows.

Keyman doesn't care. Boycot the lot.

Anonymous said...

These screwballs defending these tow crooks need to be shot too.

Do they circle? Are you kidding?

Tow trucks are vultures hooking up anything and everything even if they dont find their prey.

Again, they are all the the same trashy crooks.

They will tow you by mistake and you still must pay the cash to get your vehicles usually no less than 200 bucks.

This is all over the city or county.

They care less if they made a mistake.

What is needed is more tow thieves with bullet holes in them.

Car jackers cant hold a candle to tow thieve crooks.

BANG !!! BANG !!!! hahahaha take that you piece of trash ...

Anonymous said...

Of course Key Man doesn't care...they don't want you parking there if you don't belong there.

Boycott the lot? Give me a break. You shouldn't be parking there in the first place

Anonymous said...

11:39,

Do you work for Keyman?

They haven't marked the lot clearly.
This isn't like parking in a handicapped space illegally.

Boycot the lot and put the pressure on Keyman. They own it and are having fun with this. If the lot was properly done, Starbucks would get their customers and Keyman wouldn't have people parking in the wrong space.

Keyman, wake up and stop ripping people off with that towing company. You know they cruise the lot waiting for victims.

Anonymous said...

There are people on this board who are defending the tow companys. Thats okay. I get it. If you are parking in a space clearly marked saying for customers only, or handicapped parking, or private property, then yes, you are taking a chance. But factually, there are incidents where citizen's cars are towed when they shouldn't be and once they have posession of your vehicle, be it hooked to a tow truck or booted, you are at their mercy. And they can charge you whatever they want. And that's not fair. I know because it happened to me. And I got no reason to blame others for my own mistake if it is my mistake. I was preyed upon. Now I never ever park uptown. If I have to go, I park and take the lynx line only!

Anonymous said...

I too have been towed from this lot. It was dark and I missed the small sign that was posted. My car wasn't parked for longer than 10 minutes..

I've never been towed from any other place. This lot is stalked by the tow truck drivers who laugh in your face as they collect your money.

Anonymous said...

Quote - Dulin acknowledges he PARKED in a spot that was NOT for the coffee shop and it HAD a sign! He did it anyway which is blatant disregard for private property. Dont blame the service meant for this obtrusive behavior. You dont want to come home and find someone in your driveway do you? Go ahead and say it - Hell no. Nothing here is different. And by saying they are stalking? So what. Thats their job. So basically your trying to get away with something. Are you trying to park there, do what you need to do and leave. So that business who needs that parking space for THEIR customers needs to circumvent around you? How pompous of you.

Anonymous said...

Here's a solution..Boycott Starbucks until this is resolved. When SB loses business, I'm sure they will work to get the situation resolved or move to a spot that has better parking.

Anonymous said...

I was towed from the Starbucks lot last year when I actually went into the starbucks for coffee. When I came out, I had a starbucks cup in my hand and the driver saw it, but refused to put my car down.

I went into starbucks and confronted the manager about it, but he said there was nothing he could do, which really pissed me off. I informed him that I would be holding starbucks responsible for not only the towing fee but my time as well. I had to pay $120 to get my car back (in cash, of course).

I sent a letter to starbucks corporate as well as the towing company informing them of their mistake and demanding reimbursement for the fee as well as the time I had to spend dealing with all of the BS. Got a call from sbucks telling me that they have no control over towing company. The towing company never responded.

After another demand letter, I filed a small claims suit against the towing company and sbucks...that got their attention. The best part was when the idiot from the towing company called me and I told him that after I got the judgement against them, if they didn't pay the sheriff would come over start taking stuff (including trucks).

Moral of the story is that if they tow you by mistake (i.e. you are parking where you are supposed to) you can get satisfaction with a little effort.

FC said...

Caribou is just down the street, plenty of parking and the coffee is better.

Anonymous said...

Hooray 12:25!

The one and only time I have been to Starbucks on East was for a meeting. As another poster noted, the spaces are not clearly marked and the arrows are confusing. I thought I was in the right place. I was going back to the car and they were lining up to slap the tow on it. I told the tow guy I would move my car over a space, but no dice. Why should they lose $120?

From now on, my business goes to Caribou right down the street. More parking, better place.

Anonymous said...

unbelievable how these tow workers barely wait until you are out of sight. Many people have parked without realizing the confusing signs. It is highway robbery. nobody wants to be treated like this. No excuses.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I work too hard for someone to 'extort' money from me. That's why I'm married. I'll just avoid the whole area all-together.

Another POV said...

If I were another towing company, I would tow my competition's tow truck. Ridiculous? Maybe, but if a delivery vehicle can't park to conduct business with the establishment, then why can a tow truck?

Anonymous said...

If you don't like us towing you, then stay at home a drink your latay!!! We are there to do a job and we won't be afraid to tow any of you snobs. As for the threats, the owner of the lot and our supervisor has told us not to be afraid to use deadly force if someone gets out of control when we try to tow. If you don't like it, then stay at home. If you try to start some trouble, we will finish it right there.........and still keep your car until you pay.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, they literally believe they are abve the law! Deadly force? Where are all the republican city council members now? I thought this was their damned neighborhood! We need help against this! Where are the tv news crews???

Anonymous said...

How hard is it? Andy Dulin seems to have a problem knowing where or how to properly park. His car was booted several years ago while he attended a CMPD function. Does this guy know how to read signs?

Anonymous said...

We will tow your city councilmen and your tv news vans. If they are on our employer's property, then we will hook them up and take them downtown! Don't forget it.

Anonymous said...

Andy Dulin is a tool. All of you that have experienced his ineffective cowardly leadership please keep watch for some exciting news on how to raplace good ole' Andy.

He is the typical example of the kid that was picked last in kickball.

Anonymous said...

1:19 Poster. You better be real fast and have more than 18 rounds. Otherwise, I will drop you like a frozen dishrag. Do you feel lucky, Punk?

Anonymous said...

Keyman and A United Towing.

No one should be threatening violence on either side.

I'm sure A United Towing has a job to do that they were hired to do.
They are overzealous and do cruise the lot to find anyone they can make money on...legit or not.

Keyman has purposely made the lot confusing.

How many other businesses use that lot?

Captain Hook said...

1:11: Great idea! I'm sending some of my boys down later to round up these yahoos. Give 'em a little dose of their own medicine. FYI, we're all equipped with pre-Brady bill Glocks.

Anonymous said...

I mean look at the kind of people who work for towing companies and that explains a lot. You basically have a bunch of high school drop-outs and felons who can't get any other job. They are so anti-social, the only job they are suited for is one where you are required to be combative with people and not use your brain. Clearly, they think they hold some sort of position in power. You are authorized to use deadly force? Yeah, I'm sure. Hey, at least you have a job, although I'm sure it's one of the conditions you have to meet in order to stay out of prison.

Anonymous said...

I have never had my car towed except ONCE from the Starbucks lot. The signs are confusing. I know about 10 other people that have been towed from there. Who wants to bet that Key Man gets a cut from the towing company??

Anonymous said...

I was LEGALLY parked and my car was towed. At that point it is your word against the tow company, and you know these crooks are going to LIE their a$$ off! They need to be investigated for FRAUD!

Anonymous said...

According to Mecklenburg real estate docs, it appears that Robert H. Morrison owns the Key Man property and then also purchased a lot on Scott Ave behind the Starbucks on which he built the parking lot. I suppose he can make money by leasing it, taking tow profit percentages, or both. Not nice, but lawful?

Anonymous said...

I will say this. If a someone, tries to take my vehicle, other than law enforcement, they will soon be staring at the business end of the Kimber model 1911.

Anonymous said...

WBTV News ran a story regarding a woman who had her car towed WITH THE DOG IN THE BACKSEAT from the Key Man lot. There is a definitely a revenue stream being created for the Key Man owners at the expense of the unsuspecting.

J said...

"Dulin acknowledges he PARKED in a spot that was NOT for the coffee shop and it HAD a sign! He did it anyway which is blatant disregard for private property. Dont blame the service meant for this obtrusive behavior."

You're kidding, right? You really think what Dulin did is the same as some cat who pulls into a lot, sees a restriction of a parking space, decides the rules don't apply to him/her and parks anyway?

The point of the blog post is that a citizen saw an accident, pulled into the first parking space he could find, and was immediately towed. Yes, the letter of the law states that he was in violation. But the spirit of the law - that this business wants to prevent people from using its space if they are not customers of that business - was not violated. He just stopped to make sure everyone in the wreck was OK. Doesn't make a bit of difference if he's an elected official or not. This WAS predatory towing.

Would it hurt the tow truck drivers to use a stopwatch? Someone illegally parks, they have 2 minutes to correct the error. After 2 minutes, the illegally parked car is fair game.

And like others have said, going to Caribou. Better coffee, less hassle.

Anonymous said...

1:58,

you know that is not a justified use of deadly force.

I share your frustration with the towing co. but you are way off base on this.

You better have a CCW, a very good lawyer, plenty of money to pay for your trial and kiss that Kimber goodbye.
Is it the Ultralight?

Anonymous said...

1:19, I seriously doubt that your supervisor or the owner of the lot, or the Starbucks manager...or whomever else you listen to...has the authority to authorize you to use deadly force. The only time you can use deadly force in NC is if you REASONABLY believe that someone is about to use deadly force against you. Again, I seriously doubt that even your pecan-sized brain REASONABLY believes a soccer mom or a banker with a muffin and a latte (its spelled "latte," not "latay") is threatening you with deadly force. So when you kill one of those people who made the error of parking in the wrong spot, be prepared for one of the many fine police officers who patrol East Blvd. to hook you up for murder on the spot. You,my friend, are one step above a garbage collector. Don't get too big for your grease-stained britches Bubbba.

Anonymous said...

They are probably a step below garbage collector. At least garbage collector's don't charge you arbitrary sums of money to take away certain things. I bet the Observer could do a study and see what the going rate is from Charlotte's lower caliber prostitutes and how that coincides to what the tower's are charging.

Anonymous said...

please someone just bulldoze the Key Man building. That would solve many problems and NO ONE would miss it.

Anonymous said...

I was recently uptown by the convention center and watched a tow truck hook up to one car and move it so they could tow another that was illegally (didn't pay) parked. What gives them the right to move a car that is legitimately there? Had I come out, a paid parking customer, to these clowns hooking up to my vehicle, someone would have been getting jerked out of the tow truck and beat down!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the earlier poster. Andy Dulin is a complete idiot. Unless he was there to render medical aid he was more of a problem than solution.

Anonymous said...

Interesting twist....I understand someone in the local legal field has taken interest in this blog.

Seems that the poster claiming to work for the towing company and claims of instructions to use legal force has been enough for a judge to consider banning ANY towing from this site for the next 30 days.

Supposedly being heard at this time.

Anonymous said...

2:38,

That seems to be too fast a response from a judge...for this?

I don't think so...

Anonymous said...

2:38...Although we might wish it so, that seems unlikely.

PJ said...

Starbucks or somebody needs to post BIG colorful signs on Starbucks's property that says "WARNING - Predator tow truck drivers are watching and waiting to tow your car. The signs need to be plastered around. If the company does not get tows, then they lose money and at the rate they seem to be making the money, they'll find some other area to prowl.

Anonymous said...

Let's jusy say the judge that is hearing this issue (I am told would amount to a restraing order type paper)has a vested interest.

Anonymous said...

Keep talking the junk all you want to, but just come back over to the lot and see what happens. The owner of the lot said he doesn't have to tell anyone who he is, just that he doesn't want anyone parking on his property illegally. We don't need authority to use deadly force if we feel like our lives are in danger. I personally have had to grab the arms of one of these soccer moms because she did not obey the signs, then did not obey us. When she got physical, we got physical. We are authorized to tow at the owner's expense and if the owner interferes then we have to take it to the next level. As for the dogs, if we feel threatened and your dog won't shut up the damned barking, then we can physically remove it, or call animal control to shock the dog and remove it. The bottom line is you people are so snobby you think you can control us, but you can't. Don't park on our employer's lots and definitely don't try and get trashy with us. We have a job to do and you are nothing more than a violation.

Anonymous said...

People with a small penis like to beat up soccer moms.

Anonymous said...

3:19....
Wow. You put lights on top of someone's vehicle and suddenly they are Roscoe P. Coltrane. Kind of like putting sprinkles on top of a turd and calling it a cupcake. You are a tow truck operator, not a cop. You're right, people shouldn't park in prohibited spaces. But nobody HAS to obey you. Furthermore, maybe you should check yourself and make sure you are not the one causing things to escalate. Once more, you CANNOT use DEADLY force just because you feel threatened. You can only use proportional force. Stop being an ass.

Anonymous said...

Looking for a Handicapped space in Cotswold the other week, a mall that has cut their Handicapped spaced in half, I saw a tow truck driver riding through the lot looking for violators. I parked in a 1/2 space where there were some lines, got out of my car and just stood looking at him. I don't know if the owners of Cotswold hired him or not but I dared him to come over to me to try and boot or tow my car. My wife was in the store and there were no parking spaces nearby and I cannot walk without help. Will not shop Harris Teeter at Cotswold anymore as there are not enough spaces on certain days for normal shoppers and not enough, by law, of handicapped except some a great distance away from the stores.

Anonymous said...

You can twist our words all you want. We were only told to use deadly force if we feel like we are going to be attacked or our lives may be in danger at some point, which happens all the time. This is true with anybody. We won't have people getting trashy or physical and not do something about it. Do not interfere with towing services. We are picking up more lots in this area soon. The owners are furious with all this Starbucks, Outback, and mexican restaurant illegal parking.

Anonymous said...

Just park in the condo garage across Kenilworth and walk over.

Anonymous said...

"Do not interfere with towing services."

OK. Do not threaten people. Follow your own advice and don't be trashy. Sooner or later you'll mess with the wrong "snob" and regret your false sense of entitlement. Just because someone goes to Starbucks doesn't mean they can't handle themselves.

Anonymous said...

Robbed said...To all of those who say there are plenty of signs: The signs may seem clear and visible if the lot were empty. They are not so visible when the spaces are filled. We were towed on a Friday evening after normal business hours for Key Man. United Towing was still stalking. Key Man says they don't benefit financially from this...Give me a break! Why would they endure all of this bad publicity brought upon themselves unless they are in on the cut? Why would they allow someone to make tremendous amounts of money from their lot? Remember, the towing company is paid in cash, $120 per car all day long, every day. You need to witness this in person to believe what people are saying...20 seconds and your car is gone, faster than an ordinary professional car thief could steal it. The saddest part is no one cares.

Anonymous said...

These people are going to get worse if we keep going with this. They already have cost me a fortune. I witnessed one of the tow drivers yell at a mother when she said something to him. Her car was up on the hook and he put his finger in her face and told her to shut her _______ing mouth - right in front of children! He looked as if he wanted to strangle her.

Anonymous said...

You can't expect somebody with an ninth-grade education to understand logic. I'm sure they equate being yelled at to having their life threatened. That also goes with having a dog, that is in a car being towed, shocked because it won't stop barking. As somebody else mentioned, just because you have authority to tow a car does not mean you have authority over any person. Total Napoleon Complex instead of the complex being a result of a small stature, this is a result of a small brain.

Anonymous said...

As a visitor to Charlotte who was towed at Starbucks, I can say that once you have been to the United Towing location to get your car back, you will never think of Charlotte the same way again. Forget the beautiful tree-lined streets, great shopping, events, whatever positive associations you have of this city. Whoever coined the term "World Class City" would take it all back if they knew what was going on on East Blvd.

Tow This Bitch! said...

On the "their word against yours" front, just take a couple of photos of your location when you park (yeah, it's silly) to prove you're legal (may want to take a few of the surrounding signs as well). Be sure to keep your receipts, etc. to prove that you legally conducted business with the establishment.

Anonymous said...

What does the "key man" business do anyway?

Anonymous said...

Starbucks east blvd. Needs to relocate to a place like Dilworth Gardens center where parking is a plenty. The tow people need to wait 10 minutes before going at it.

Anonymous said...

Last week United towed 4 cars in the time it took us to order coffee with no line. Just think how many cars x $120 have been towed just while we have been commenting on this. Expose these people! Who owns United? Who owns Key Man? How long has this been going on? Why can't we do something? This is wrong on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Cite this section of the Charlotte City Code to the knuckle-dragging mouthbreather who's hooking up to your car. So-called "drop fees" are not authorized in Charlotte.

Charlotte City Code Sec. 6-565. - Return of class A vehicle to owner prior to a trespass tow.
(a) No towing service operating within the city shall tow a vehicle or charge for its services where the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle arrives at the scene prior to towing, unless the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle refuses to remove the vehicle, or unless the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle refuses to provide to the lot owner or its agent the information required by subsection (b).
(b) Prior to leaving the lot, the owner or driver of the vehicle shall provide the lot owner or its agent with his name, address and vehicle information including make, model, tag number, vehicle identification number, and tag number.

Mad towed guy said...

Thanks for the info about the city laws on this. I sure wish I had known that when I offered to move my car and they towed it anyway. I'd like my $120 back, with interest.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing you can do. We are within our rights to tow. Do not give us problems and there won't be....trouble. Stay home with your oversized SUVs and your bratty children. They don't need a damn coffee anymore than you do.

Anonymous said...

I observed a lady in a Yukon speaking on her cell phone in the car. United put a boot on the auto
while she was in the car. She called the CMPD. The two officers spoke with both parties for 30 minutes. United still refused to remove the boot even with witnesses that verified this had happened.

Anonymous said...

Glad I don't live in Charlotte!

Anonymous said...

To the idiot who wrote 'There is nothing you can do. We are within our rights to tow. Do not give us problems and there won't be....trouble.' PROVES it IS a CRIMINAL racket! What does ....TROUBLE mean? Are you threatening us??? We know where your tow lot is....We also know who owns the Key Man Building lot and where the Key Man building is. Who would like to join me every Saturday morning to protest with picket signs at the infamous East Blvd. Starbucks (or should I say TOWBUCKS)/Key Man Building sites, and give this CRIMINAL extortion scheme even MORE attention??? Free country...we can protest...and there won't be.... trouble - Anonymous

Anonymous said...

They have a moron sitting in a black Ford Ranger smoking cigarettes scouting for anyone they can hook up to. I hear he receives $20 for each vehicle he calls in, the tow company gets $50 and Morrison gets $50. It is definately a racket. I do business in the area and have never seen the lot more than half full. The city should enact a new ordinance that requires any open lot have a clear sign at each space. Also, you people who have been towed might want to look at the Polaris property map. There is a right of way through this lot that the owner does not have control over. If you were towed from that right of way, I'm willing to bet you were towed illegally.

Anonymous said...

You parked wrong for a 12.00 cup of coffe and you want to kill over an impound vehicle. Next article on charlotte observer, ANGRY COFFEE DRINKER SENTENCED TO LIFE B/C OF IMPOUNDMENT....idiots. Are we adults or children with anger management issues? If a City Councilman parked wrong and acknowledged what he did...what makes either of these simple minded, gun toting, fools think they are above him. Recognize your at fault and move on with life! I'm pretty sure lawyers and officials are on standby if anything of violent nature happens at either lots due to the reckless threats on this site and will throw your dumb behinds in jail..over a cup of coffe.

Anonymous said...

That is correct. Do not interfere with towing services. We have rights and you are in violation. The lots are posted. Period.

This sense of being above everyone is going to cost people a lot of money. The soccer moms who tried to be combative found that out. Do not park your cars in posted lots or you will pay. This is very simple, you people from Dilworth, Ballantyne, or what the hellever. How rich do you feel when a damn cup of coffee costs you $150!!!? Stop moaning and get back to the country club.

.

Anonymous said...

TO CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, HOW CAN YOU CONDONE VIOLENCE AND THREATS ON YOUR WEBSITE! IF ADULTS CAN NOT DISCUSS POLITICS AND OPINIONS WITHOUT RESULTING TO THEIR GUNS THEN THEY SHOULD GO ELSEWHERE! I HAVE CHILDREN THAT GOES TO YOUR WEBSITE FOR THEIR CURRENT EVENTS AND ARE EXPOSED TO THIS TRASH!! IM OUTRAGED!!! FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNDERCOVER AND ARGUING OVER YOU LACK COMMON SENSE. DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU ARE ARGUING WITH A TOW TRUCK DRIVER OR SOMEONE THAT IS PUSHING YOUR BUTTONS FOR THE HECK OF IT!!!!SOME OF THESE IDIOTS THINK THEY ARE ACTUALLY ARGUING WITH A TOW TRUCK DRIVER WITH THE E BLVD PROPERTY!! PLEASE USE YOUR COMMON SENSE AND THINK!!

Anonymous said...

Predatory? Here's the bottom line, if you parked wrong then you have to pay the fee. I have been at that starbucks and I make sure I park in front of the starbucks customer only signs. If you're there 30 sec. or 5 min. you take the risk and most people see the sign and think they can run in and be back before the tow trucks comes.

Anonymous said...

Some of you guys have no life. Im pretty sure the tow trucks doesn't sit there and watch people. I know If I see a tow truck siting there, Im not getting out of my car.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 5:28pm...
"knuckle dragging"<----hmm are you referring to them as Monkeys????? Please by clear before I tear you a new one!!!

Anonymous said...

To the fool that is ramming a bunch of garbage down your throats with his capital letters and complaining about violence........READ YOUR OWN PEOPLES QUOTES IN HERE YOU FOOL. We as a business are going to monitor anything that is said about us. We have a right to set the record straight. No buttons are being pushed except the right ones. Once people realize that we have a job to do, then hopefully they will comply and there will be no problems. Now go and keep your damn kids off this site if they don't want to know the truth. Who cares if you are outraged?!! We will tow you if you park illegally just the same as the next person!

Anonymous said...

I'M PRETTY SURE YOU DONT EVEN WORK FOR A TOWING COMPANY!! YOU ARE AN IDIOT WHO IS ON THE BOARD JUST TO GET A RISE OUT OF SOMEONE. ANYONE WITH A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS BACKGROUND WOULD KNOW HOW TO RESPOND WITHOUT RESORTING TO VIOLENCE. YOU DONT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TELL ME WHERE TO PUT MY DAMN KIDS, NOR THE RIGHT TO EXPOSE THE PUBLIC TO YOUR IGNORANCE!OFESSIONAL MATTER!

Anonymous said...

What a sad little bitch. Morons like you are the ones cheating others out of the truth. We do not resort to violence unless we are forced to. It's people like you that end up bodyslammed because you run your damn mouth about things you have no idea about. Proabably just a little freak that everybody picked on in school. Well, I'd like to run into you sometime and we'll see who's pretending! Feel sorry for your kids. Stay under your freakrock and keep away from tow trucks! That's free advice, you little bastard.

Anonymous said...

Who is this sick man trying to get a rise out of these criminal towing companies! Geez, now it's gonna be open season on all of us. We need to escalate this to city government and get it banished instead of getting these people all worked up and even more overzealous!

Anonymous said...

I'm a white woman and I have seen first hand what these towing people are doing at Starbucks. It makes me sick, but even more upset with the CITY! I call on the mayor to help rid us of this mess. In the meantime, would you all stop making the lot owner even madder!

Anonymous said...

Please stick to the issue--predatory towing, "predatory" being the issue. These people have found a way to be within a hair of the law and still be very wrong. There is damage being done by this whether it is your own pocketbook or the image of the Dilworth area

Anonymous said...

Once a few brave souls actually use their rusty firearms and take a little target pratice taking out some of these tow crooks who extort tens of millions annually in cash only paying no taxes on it being useless to society as a whole maybe the great equalizer will take effect.
Nobody would cry about a few dead tow drivers/owners and facts are victims outnumber these criminal racketeering scumbags 1000-1 or more. Car jackers cant touch these thieves.

Do the right thing...

Anonymous said...

I sent the 'Predatory towing' link with allll of the posts to Action 9 and to Dateline, and I included the word Starbucks to grab their attention. I briefly told them what is going on here in Charlotte at that lot and by the offending companies (whose names are very visible in so many of the comments) I am going to send this link to as many national news programs and sites as I can find, and I'm going to make this a daily project in my spare time. It's time to stand up for justice people!

Anonymous said...

Any reports from that lot last night?

With all the blogging yesterday, I'm sure there is no shortage of stories...

Anonymous said...

Screw Starbucks. Starbucks is peanuts compared to the major racket everywhere going on and the theft of probably a minimum of 1000vehicles every day conservatively on a 24/7/365 basis since these criminals NEVER sleep even on holidays.
Lets dont count the millions of vehicles nationwide because it truly is a nationwide epidemic.

Again it dosent matter if they make mistakes (intentionally) because you will still pay since like the media if there is no news they will create news. It dosent matter. Like taking candy from a baby and people will pay regardless just to get their car back.

Anonymous said...

If you want to help get this racket stopped at the East Boulevard lot or nationwide here's some help; send in your stories people!

Subject: Story Ideas-ABCNews

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New York, NY 10023

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If you are submitting a Local news story:

Go to ABC.com
Go to the bottom of the page and click on "FAQ"
Click on Question #2
Click on "nationwide affiliate map"
Follow the instructions to get the website, address and phone number for
your local ABC station.


Note: The Company's long-established policy does not allow us to accept
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Anonymous said...

Since all the 'predatory' towing transactions by the companies involved are cash only I think it is time to forward this Paper Trail/Post Link to both the Federal IRS office and the State of NC Tax officials. I am doing so and hope others will too.
Here is the contact information:

NC Dept-Revenue Field Audit
5111 Nations Crossing Rd # 8, Charlotte, NC 28217 (704) 519-3000

Federal IRS office in Charlotte:
US Internal Revenue Service
10715 David Taylor Dr # 300, Charlotte, NC 28262 (704) 548-4100

Anonymous said...

Here are the websites for NC Dept. of Revenue: http://www.dornc.com/, and for Federal IRS Fraud reporting:
http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=121259,00.html

The direct number to report NC state tax fraud is 704-519-3301.

Anonymous said...

You are wasting your time. We are covered under the law. Period. The owner of the lot has hired us to do a job and we will. Since you people started this mess, some people have tried to go against us and start trouble on the lots. Remember that trying to take your vehicle or physically stop us warrants us to take it to the next level. Your vehicle has been legally seized and if you try to take it back we will consider that an act of violence and grand larceny. The vehicle is under our jurisdiction after we have it on the rig, so we will not let you have it. If you decide to push the issue and get physical, then we will be forced to take action to defend ourselves and the seized property. One more time, the lot owners have asked us to put everyone on notice that if you park illegally, do not interfere with the towing service. You can meet us downtown to get your car if you pay the fee. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

We shall see, won't we?

Anonymous said...

Youbetcha.....dont'chaknow!!!!! We love our white, mad, rich republicans! Ewwwww, the horror of what can happen!!!!!!!! DAMN!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that it's not just white, rich, Republicans that have been victims of the predatory towing at that Starbucks lot and that are darn (notice I don't have to reduce to cuss words) mad. In fact I don't fit in any of those categories, so again, I repeat, I will make putting an end to this, legally, a daily effort in my spare time - because it's the right thing to do. Just like the sit ins and the Civil Rights movement were. Wimp!!!

Anonymous said...

You are wasting your damn time - again. We are covered under the law. If you decide to push the issue, then we will have to take it to the next level. One more time, do not interfere with the towing service. Come down and park in a posted spot and I'll show you what kind of a wimp I am. For what its worth, it is PRIVATE PROPERTY! You and your 'threats' aren't worth a damn.

Anonymous said...

Just enlisted two more 'victims' of your extortion efforts. We don't plan to resort to any violence but you seem to keep posting threats of violence. Are you getting a bit worried that your cashflow may come to an abrupt end? Never underestimate the power of the people. We all have contacts you know; and some are more creditable than others. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

And by the way, what does taking it 'to the next level' mean? Are you threatening us AGAIN? Is that your highest level of intelligence? You need to realize that many, many people are now reading this post site and you are the ones threatening violence, so if anything violent happens in that lot the first people they will target their investigation on is you and yours. So if I were you I would stop with the 'taking it to the next level talk.' WIMP!! As I said I will continue this daily effort to discontinue the predatory towing in my spare time.

Anonymous said...

question: Has any of you ever gotten their money back? IF so what did you do? Did you go to court, argue with them?

Anonymous said...

I swear I will send at last on of thes scums to jail.

Anonymous said...

Towing companies make their own rules and force good citizens to obey. We can also make our rules and force Towing companies to obey.

My car currently has a "Touching Fee". Anyone I don't like who touch my car will be subjected to a fine of $500 per touch. There is a sign post on my car.

Unlike Towing companies gangsters, I will report this "Touching Fee" to IRS.

Anonymous said...

Hey towtard tough guy-if you even looked like you were going to pull a weapon on me I can guarantee that in short order the barrel would be shoved up your keister. * years with special forces and two tours in Nam. Care to try me?? Faggot!