Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WA Tow Biz Doesn't Play Fair, Ex Employee Claims

Here's the KOMOnews.com story:

LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- A former employee of Shannon Towing, Inc. is blowing the whistle on the company, claiming the business doesn't play fair.

Shannon Towing is accused of offering gift cards to business owners in exchange for impound calls. The Washington State Patrol is now investigating the allegations.

The former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was so repulsed by the company's kickback program, among other things, that she eventually ended up leaving her job.

"I think the best word I can come up with is 'sleazy and unethical (sic),"' she said.

She told me when she worked at Shannon, the flyer advertising the alleged kickback program was a standard sales tool.

But the company claims to have no knowledge of the deal or the flyer.

"I've never seen this," said manager Brandt Phelps of the ad, which features Shannon Towing's logo.

When asked why, then, apartment managers claim Shannon drivers approached them with the offer, Phelps said, "I don't think it's against the law. I just haven't seen it since I've been here."

Not so, according to the former employee.

"It was something that was created in the company, and it was something that was the brainchild of Brandt," the whistleblower said.

The woman even provided KOMO News with what she claims is the original flyer.

Asked to comment on the alleged original flyer, Phelps at Shannon Towing claimed to be too busy, then said he didn't have further comment.

Tina Beck, owner of Mary's Towing in Everett, contacted KOMO News when she started losing clients to Shannon Towing. Beck said she found out about Shannon Towing's deal when two of her clients wrote her, skeptical of the offer.

"I felt that was very unethical," she said.

Jennifer Barton, manager of Greenview Apartments in Mountlake Terrace, said a Shannon driver gave her a flyer. She said she was tempted, but thought of her tenants.

"That makes people want to tow more cars so they can get more of a kickback," she said.

"To pull stuff like this, it's just wrong," said the whistleblower.

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