Back up on my “Predatroy Towing” soapbox for a bit . . .

This blog about predatory towing has come to my attention, and according to this blogger, Oregon is a predatory towing theme park!  I am usually very proud to be an Oregonain.  Right now, not so much!

Anyhooooo . . . this guy seems to have much more time to dedicate to the issue, and access to much more information about where and how it’s happening all over the country.  If you or anyone you know has been a victim of this CRIME, please leave a comment in his blog, or here in mine.

http://www.towingutopia.blogspot.com/

WE NEED TO BRING IT TO THE ATTENTION OF OUR LOCAL LAWMAKERS THAT THIS IS A CRIME WE WANT ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY! 

The federal government has ‘paved the way’ to make it possible for local governments to pass laws governing predatory towing practices, so what’s the hang up?!?!  If enough people contact their local officials, SOMEONE is going to listen and run with the ball.  It IS an election year after-all.  What better way to win the people over than to do something that helps them in their everyday life.

BUT, they need to know how RAMPANT the practice or predatory towing is.  Please look up the website for your state lawmakers and send them an email!

Stepping off my soapbox now and getting back to the ‘important business’ of turning trash into treasure!

It’s called “PREDATORY TOWING” and it’s against FEDERAL LAW . . . But WHO enforces that law?!?!?!

MERCY!  What a day!  I’m exhausted from making so many phone calls and running around in circles!

First I called back Mark Bennett in the Code Services office of the Mayor to let him know that through my research I had learned that there were federal laws against what Beaverton Towing was doing.  And to find out if, with that new information I should file a report with Beaverton Police.  While Beaverton Towing does have a Beaverton address, it’s actually located in Aloha, which is an unincorporated area of Washington County.  BUT, some parts of Aloha ARE under the jurisdiction of Beaverton Police! 

I KNEW that from having lived in the Beaverton/Aloha area for 30 some years.  Mark looked up the exact cut off spot on the map and told me it was out of their jurisdiction, and that I’d need to call Washington County. 

Corbin, the tow truck driver had given me his personal cell phone number, so I called and left him a message letting him know that what his boss was having him do was against Federal law.

Called the non-emergency number for Washington County from home to find out about reporting criminal activity.  When I said I wanted to report someone for breaking “Federal predatory towing laws”, they thought I was crazy.  Almost as if they thought I was making it up!  I figured they didn’t want to drive clear out to Gaston to take my statement, so I said I’d be in Hillsboro in about an hour.  They gave me a report number and told me to call back when I was ready. 

I went to the store (which was closed today) and called them back and gave them the number, and WHO do they put me through to?!?!?  Beaverton Police!  sigh.  The nice officer listened to my story but said unfortunately they cannot enforce federal laws.  Okaaaaaaaay, tell me WHO does! 

He suggested I call the Oregon Department of Justice.

Oregon DOJ told me to call the justice court.

The justice court had me call somewhere else (that I forgot to write down)

That took me to the US Attorney Generals Office.

US Attorney Generals office told me to call the civil desk.

Somewhere in here I spoke to someone at the civil desk who referred me to the Oregon State bar.

I sat on hold with them for about ten minutes and they just gave me the name of a private civil attorney.  I can’t afford an attorney, nor do I really WANT one!  I want the BIG ISSUE to be addressed and for these scammers to be stopped from ripping people off and breaking the law!!

Somewhere in there someone had mentioned that I may just have to call the FBI, and gave me their number.  As a last resort, I called the FBI, who gave me the number of the Portland FBI field office.

Now JUST GUESS who the lady at the FBI referred me to?!?!?!

YEP!  the local Beaverton law enforcement!!!!

Are you kidding me?!?!?  What is the point of having laws that the average citizen can’t find anyone to enforce?  I called Mark Bennett back and updated him and asked if I could just get an appointment with the Mayor.  He gave me the Mayor’s assistant’s number and I called and got voicemail (it was lunchtime)  Left a brief message of the list of people I had talked to referring me back to local law enforcement, left my number and said I was actually just going to head into Beaverton.

Since the towing place was ‘on the way’ I decided to give them one last chance to ‘do right by me’ and stopped and again asked for my money back.  She said no again.  I said, “Well, just so you know, you are breaking Federal predatory towing laws.”  As I turned to leave, the supervisor very loudly said, “YEA SWEET!”  and laughed.  Well see how long he’s able to laugh about this!  I am NOT giving up!

I arrive in Beaverton and go the the Mayors office.  Janice Deardorff has 15 minutes to see me.  Which I was grateful for since I just dropped in at the last minute right before a holiday weekend.  Met with Janice and actually felt like I was getting on the right track.  She didn’t have any immediate answers for me, but I do think she will find them.

She had read the blog, which saved me from having to retell the whole thing AGAIN, and asked me some questions and took down some additional information.  I gave her the name of the BMW owner and the tow truck driver.  And as we were talking about WHO enforces federal law at the local level (because I had been told it was neither the Feds NOR local law enforcement) she said she knew that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Laws were federal, but enforced at the local level.  So maybe the predatory towing laws are just so new that no one has actually dealt with them yet.

So, I’ll see what I hear from her next week!  After I left city hall I drove past the ‘parking lot of doom’ just to see if there was a tow truck there, since it was on my way.  Saw a city of Beaverton truck driving through the lot taking pictures.  No tow truck though.  Maybe they will lay off for a while until legal recourse can be figured out. 

I NEED A NAP!!!

 

TOWING LAWS INFORMATION

FEDERAL:

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/05/565.asp

STATE OF OREGON:

http://www.doj.state.or.us/releases/2007/rel062507.shtml

Beaverton Towing scam part II

Didn’t hear anything back from the TV news investigators.  Guess I’ll have to email the other stations in town.  Didn’t hear back from code enforcement in the mayors office either.  I called back and got voice mail and left a message, then headed out with my camera.  Took pictures of all the signage and lot and buildings and where my car had been parked.  Well SURPRISE!!!  A sign had been moved to face right where I had been parked!  ummmm hummmm….. Someone is trying to cover their ass bases!

I had parked my car (on the STREET!) and sat to wait and see what transpired.  My intention was to catch anyone who unwittingly parked there and warn them of their impending doom.  A couple of cars were already in the ‘hot zone’, but nothing I could do about that. 

A little after 11am along comes the tow truck driver.  He waves and smiles when he sees me.  I wave back.  He circles the lot.  Gets out and walks to one of the stores, then comes back to hook up and tow a BMW convertible.  I go over to say hi.  Recommend he SERIOUSLY look for another job because he seems like a really nice kid and he should not be working for CROOKS like this.  He IS trying to get another job, needs to write a resume and doesn’t know how.  I tell him to search on the internet and give him a pep talk about interviews and tell him that SINCERITY and HONESTY and the willingness to work hard are more important to a prospective employer than an impressive resume.  People can ‘fake’ a good resume.  You can’t fake good character.

I head back to my car, get my camera and take a few pictures and then notice that an older SUV has pulled up to the tow truck and two irate men are waving their arms and yelling at the young tow truck driver.  “There’s my sign!!!”  I walk over and ask the men if they were aware that this lot was for the restaurant only.  TODAY the kid (tow truck driver) is sayng that it is ALL the businesses ‘over there’ that contract for them to tow.  I tell the two men that my car got towed yesterday and encourage them to complain to the Better Business Bureau and City Hall.  The owner of the car assured me that he would.

They were being pretty tough on the kid and asked him to call his supervisor.  I whispered that the supervisor was a real jerk and the kid was much nicer to deal with.  The kid was on a walkie talke and cell phone.  The car owner was on his phone.  The car owners friend was asking me to explain to him that he can’t tow their car and I explain I am just here for moral support,  but had I been here when they parked, I’d have warned them.

The BMW owner says he owns several 7-11 stores in Portland and he KNOWS towing laws and sign codes and their signs are NOT to code and he cannot be towed.  The kid says my supervisor says I have to tow you if you won’t pay the $100.00 drop fee.  The car owner does not know what to do.  I suggested he call the Police and report he was having an altercation with a tow truck driver.  He does call and gets put on hold.  The car owners friend (in the SUV) has left (don’t know where to) and the BMW owner is still on hold. 

Teh BMW owner is ranting about how they (tow truck driver) are getting rich by towing innocent people.  The tow truck driver shrugs and shakes his head, and I REALLY don’t think HE is getting the money, but the owner of the towing company sure is getting rich.  The driver probably only makes an hourly wage. 

For some reason in all of that, and something that I missed, the tow truck driver says he has been told he can release the car, no fee.  The BMW owner is still pretty mad.  I remind him it cost me a hunderd dollars yesterday!  I ask him for his business card and give him mine and again encourage him to report this SCAM to City Hall and the BBB and anyone else he can think of and to let me know if he thinks of anyone esle I can complain to.  The tow truck driver leaves without addressing the other car that was parked in the ‘hot zone’.   BMW guy  takes some pictures with his cell phone; I shake his had, wish him luck and leave.   

SO, what the BMW driver was saying is that according to the towing company he contracts with for his stores is that the towing signage has to be at eye level, between 4-6′ up from the ground.  And most of these signs are on low stakes in the ground.  I had guessed that he may have had a legitimate gripe since they let him off without paying the drop fee I was charged.  Either way, I figure I can argue they let THAT guy off and I SAW it happen and ask for my money back!

I stop at City Hall first.  The guy I had talked to yesterday was not there.  I ask that they let him know I stopped in again.  And ask if maybe I should talk to the Police department.  The young lady tells me there is nothing the police can do about signs on private peoperty.  But I’m thinking there are all kinds of SIGNAGE RULES for businesses in the city and I was just looking at a phamplet about it while I was waiting to talk to her.  I really should have just asked to speak directly to the mayor!  But I thought that I’d be able to get my money back when I stopped at the towing company office.

So I go to the towing office, the driver is there and I say hi to him by name and I can see him thinking “OH $h!+!!!”  (I guess he gave up on that lot for the time being!)  I show the lady behind the counter my receipt from yesterday and say I just saw him let this guy (showing his business card) go without paying the drop fee and I want my money back.  The lady says that’s because that man was in the restaurant.  I said the restaurant was not open yet and I want my money back.  She refuses.  I leave pretty steamed.

Get home to a message from the guy in the mayors office, he says he does not know of anything they can do.  I guess my next step is to file a complaint with the BBB and call the BMW driver and ask if he was in the restaurant.  I’m hoping he will help me out with the truth, since I was there to TRY and help him today.

The thing is, Beaverton Towing is ACTING AS IF they are protecting those businesses from people who should not park there.  I sincerely wonder if those businesses know how UNSAVORY this practice is?!?!?  Because IF they REALLY wanted to keep people from parking there, they would have more explicit signage saying “For patrons of XXX only”.  As it is the signage is nebulous, and those who park there are not intentionally parking where they should not, we simply do not KNOW!!!  Which makes it easy for Beaverton Towing to keep their little (BIG!) money making scam going!

Stay tuned for pictures!  We’ll see what happens next!

And the winner of the BIGGEST SCAM OPERATION and most unscrupulous business in Beaverton, Oregon is BEAVERTON TOWING!!!

If you live, work or do business in Beaverton, Oregon; or know anyone who does, PLEASE pass this information along to them.  I don’t want to see any other people taken advantage of in this SCAM!!!

I had an appointment at a big new office building in Beaverton yesterday. Knew about where it was, although I had never been there before. Right before the building is a BIG ole parking lot, sign at the entrance stating no parking in reserved ‘permit’ spots. Okay, I drive all the way PAST the reserved spots and park in an UNMARKED spot.

I come out an hour later and see my car being TOWED!! Okay, with my bad back I cannot run, so I am YELLING as loudly as I can for the tow truck to stop. He hears me and stops. I ask why the heck he is towing me as I was parked in an unmarked spot?!?!?He says this is a private lot! I ask where it says that. He points to a sign at the OTHER end of the lot facing away from the lot that there is NO WAY I could have seen from where I drove in or parked.  Then I asked him who had called and complained, he said no one; that they just automatically go there and check for cars. 

He is gonna be nice and drop my car for me for a HUNDRED BUCKS, cash only. Otherwise it’s $250.00 to pick it up at the tow lot.  Are you KIDDING me!?!?!  I am livid. I give him the whole speech about how THAT sign is not visible and it just says ‘no unauthorized parking’ so how was I to know it wasn’t parking for the building right there. He tells me it is a private lot for the restuarant 1/2 a block away (which btw wasn’t even open yet!) And I ask why the sign doesn’t SAY that, because if it DID, I would not have parked there!  Quite a nice little money making scam they’ve got, eh!  So someone else parks right where I had been parked just as he is unhooking my car and a supervisor pulls up. Supervisor is a total jerk and tells the kid that he can release my car for $100.00 CASH if I’m being nice; (Kid already had said he would). otherwise go ahead and take it to the tow yard and make me pay the full fee!

I give the supervisor an earful and tell him I am complaining to the Better Business Bureau. He says they don’t have to specify who can or can’t park here. I said I’ll see what they have to say about that at City Hall!  Supervisor walks off.  Tells the kid to tow that other car when he’s done with mine. Takes the kid forever to unhook my car. He apologizes over and over and says he’s just doing what he’s told, he hates his job but it’s all he can get right now, he’s looking for sales work. I say I know it’s not his fault his boss is a JERK!  Fortunately for that other person who had parked, he was back and gone in five minutes before they could get his car.

So I leave and go straight to City Hall. Can’t figure out who to talk to. Cop sends me to one place. They send me elsewhere. Guy in the city code office takes my name and number and says he’ll see what he can find out and call me. Says he’s heard this complaint before, but can’t remember what was done about it. I say I’m going to contact the local news investigators and he says they may be able to do more than they can.

I should have asked to see the Mayor personally. He’s an old friend of mine from about 35 years ago. Back when I was 20 and a manager for McDonald’s, he was the bun delivery man!!! LOL

Anyhooooooooooo….. I did email the one news station. Think I am going to go back tomorrow and take pictures.  And I just might ‘hang out’ for a while and warn anyone else who parks there!

Several people parked along the street duing my ‘ordeal’ and one lady who was obviously headed to the nearby gym on her lunch hour told me she sees this all the time and wishes someone WOULD do somethng about it.

I am also calling back the office I went to and telling them what is happening and suggesting they WARN their first time visitors where NOT to park. Not so good for business!  And perhaps I should write a letter to Pepita’s restaurant letting them know that Beaverton Towing is towing away their potential customers!  I WAS going to stop there for lunch, but not after paying a hunderd dollars to NOT have my car towed!

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