Fighting Illegal Tow

This is a discussion on Fighting Illegal Tow within the Traffic Law Questions forums, part of the Legal Questions & Answers Forum category; I am an Illinois resident, and just this evening had my car towed. The apartment complex I live in has a single towing company it sues for all of its ...

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  1. #1
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    Fighting Illegal Tow

    I am an Illinois resident, and just this evening had my car towed. The apartment complex I live in has a single towing company it sues for all of its towing, and they require a sticker in order to determine whether or not a car is valid for the lot.

    A few days ago, I was in an auto accident and forgot to tell the landlord about the rental vehicle, and thus did not receive a new sticker. So, it would seem the towing company has some legal justification to tow me, although it certainly is annoying.

    However, I did some looking through IL law regarding towing, and found a few issues with the way the case was handled, and I think I may have a case for calling this an illegal tow in small claims court.

    1) I was home during the tow, and a neighbor who knew I was home tried to prevent the tow. The driver ignored the requests to stop the tow. There was no attempt made to verify if the person requesting the tow stop was actually the owner of the vehicle.

    I know they’re required to stop if the owner asks them, but is it enough if the owner wasn’t exactly present? It may not be enough for getting the charge ruled out, but it certainly seems like bad faith…

    2) When I tried to claim the vehicle later that evening, I was told the shop was unable to process business through credit card. It seemed like the machine may have been temporarily down, but they were ultimately unable to accept payment through a major credit card. I know IL state law requires that both credit card and cash be options for payment. If they couldn't accept credit card, does that give me any leeway to make a claim in small claims court?
    Eventually I had to go to the ATM to get cash out to pay the bill, only to find that they didn’t accept anything but exact change – I was forced to go to McDonald’s up the street to get change for my $20s. The place didn't even accept cash, really...

    The company was unable to process payment through either of the means required by state law – no credit cards, and they only accepted cash after I did the work getting change for them.

    3) When I asked for a copy of their insurance, Relocator’s license, and the towing notice they must file with the police, they were unable (unwilling, really) to give them to me. According to the girl at the counter, they would be available when her manager was in, but she was unable to provide this information during her shift, which was towing/pick-up hours. I know they are required to show me "regulations and ordinances governing commercial vehicle relocators" but I'm not sure what this entails

    I’m not sure what to make of this. It’s not a good sign no matter what, but how bad of a sign is it?

    4) The position and lettering on the public notice doesn’t meet state statutory requirements, either. The lettering on the sign is below the 2” minimum height requirement, and the sign is posted more than 5 ft. away from the road - both are considered requirements for a valid sign, at least according to what I read.

    This would be a good argument, but since I live in the building and the landlord has personally warned me that vehicles whose operators don’t live here will be towed I don’t know if I can make a case out of this one.

    This all just strikes me as being a little too much. The fact that this company has a solid F rating with the BBB doesn’t help my impressions. I’m wondering if you’d have any advice as to the next steps to try and get this declared an illegal tow. I know to file a complaint with the ICC, and then to open a case in small claims court, but which arguments should I use? Anything that would/wouldn’t work?

  2. #2
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    I believe you have answered all your own questions. You should do exactly that, and use the arguments from above as your arguments in small claims court.
    Legal Disclaimer: Answers to questions on this forum are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute Legal Advice. No attorney-client relationship is established through this forum.


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