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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Arlington, VA Aproves Towing Fee Hike

From the washingtonexaminer.com:

Drivers who park illegally on private property in Arlington could soon see a steeper fine, as the Arlington County board on Saturday approved a 15 percent increase in its trespass towing fee.

The storage fee of $50 a day after the first 24 hours and the drop fee of $25 will not change, said Nancy Iacomini, Chairman of the Arlington County Towing Advisory Board.

The increase keeps Arlington's trespass towing rate within range of surrounding jurisdictions, whose rates vary from a low of $80 in Alexandria to a high of $165 in Fairfax City.

John O'Neill, a member of the Towing advisory board, said that over the past decade, increased costs in the towing company have put pressure on his company, Advanced Towing, and made them think about leaving Arlington. He said the cost of storage yards and 24-hour staff required for non-consensual tows run over $20,000 per month.

Board member Walter Tejada, though, pointed out that for people in low-income areas where they're making minimum wage, a $100 towing fee is “a hard hit to take.”

Chris Zimmerman was the only member to vote against the hike, voicing concern about the sometimes arbitrary nature of “predatory towing,” and saying the board had not defined it clearly enough.

“I don't have any magical answers — we have to continue to evaluate” the issues, said Board Chairman Barbara Favola.

“The good news is that the towing ordinance is working,” she said. “Since the Board first enacted the ordinance in [July] 2006, we have seen a steady decrease in the number of complaints filed by consumers about abusive towing practices.”

The county received 28 complaints or inquiries about trespass towing between September 2007 and August 2008, a reduction of 40 percent over the same time period from the previous year. Favola noted that before the ordinance was enacted, the county continually received complaints about predatory towing and overcharging.

6 comments:

larry said...

dfg

larry said...

Arlington County officials or their "planted" citizen advisory appointees are grossly distorting facts. The reduction in the high number of towing complaints referred to in the above article was due to the dissolution of a single towing company in January of 2006. The company, Frank's Towing, generated the vast majority of registered complaints. The reduction in towing complaints after Arlington County imposed a new ordinance in July 2006 had little or nothing to do with a reduction of towing complaints. Towing complaint data maintained by Arlington County since 2004 indicates that most towing towing companies, except one (Frank's Towing), perform responsibly.

-Peter Blind said...

Advanced Towing company LLC also quoted in the article practices predatory towing. There trucks idle in parking lots to snag victims. And what are you going to do, complain, to who? I live in Fairfax County, Arlington County Police won't take my call unless I come with in county limits. Advanced towing won't provide me the "photo graphic proof" nor identify the complainant... because I WAS NOT illegally parked and there was no complainant. But they got their $115.

They know its not worth my time to fight it.

So result, I won't go to Arlington to do business or shop anymore.

Anonymous said...

Interesting conflict of interest here.
The owner of Advanced Towing is none other than John O'neill, member of the Arlington Towing advisory board.
I intend to tell whomever will listen about the egregious predatory practices of this company.

Anonymous said...

On www.bbb.org (the Better Business Bureau), Advanced Towing is also known as "Frank's." I'm guessing there isn't any difference in the business practice, just the name. Scum.

Anonymous said...

I am an above-the-knee amputee. I was arriving to park at Gold’s Gym parking lot around 6:00pm on 1/3/2011. Being permanantly disabled, I often park in disabled spaces. There is a set of 4 disabled parking spaces in the “middle” of the parking lot in-between Gold’s and Conte’s (as seen in the aerial photo below where the two white, diagonal lined boxes face one-another in the two rows of cars lined up along the middle of the parking lot).

With exception of the disabled spaces, all of the spaces that are designated for Conte’s clients appear to be well-marked. The disabled spaces, however, are not within this parking lot. I have admittedly parked in these spaces before, having no idea they were especially reserved for anyone but disabled patrons of either establishment. Aside from the universally accepted disabled wheelchair symbol, I did not see any painted signs (like the very obvious paint on the regular parking spots) that would have eluded to threat of being towed away.

One last thing. I plan on seeing that the DOJ is made aware of their little ADA-noncompliance. I would like for them to determine just how “compliant” they are in accessibility for the disabled drivers whose vehicles they are so quick to tow. When I got there, I had to make my way up a rickety staircase with no landing or accessible way to enter the front door.

It’s just this amputee’s opinion, but I’d be shocked if Advantage Towing did not have the means to build something better with ramps and automated doors- no matter how much they cry about $20K/month. I’m just lucky I’m only missing one leg and not a double-amputee or wheelchair-bound. I feel for the next person this happens to in my condition or worse who has to deal with their infrastructure. These guys are heartless. I'd be deadbeat and flipping burgers before taking on this kind of business.