Friday, 9 December 2016

City council passes bill targeting predatory towing practices

Bill 160682, spearheaded by Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez, requires towing companies to summon Philadelphia police or the Philadelphia Parking Authority to issue a ticket before hauling cars away.

The new law will seek to guarantee that vehicles being towed were parked illegally. But cars parked illegally at Philadelphia hospitals can be towed without police or PPA approval.

alleged towing scam south philly

Tow truck drivers told 6ABC that the bill is unfair and punishes the towing industry as a whole, instead of punishing a handful of operators engaging in predatory towing or bait-and-trap schemes.

"How could those who do parking lot and driveway enforcement be predatory, when it's the property owner, or the management company, who is calling us to tow these vehicles," Lew Blum of Lew Blum Towing told the news station. "They have us mixed up with another part of the industry."

The big question that remains is how the city will enforce the new rule in 30 days. Truck drivers told NBC10 that they're not sure how long it'll take police to issue tickets or who even to call.

The city Department of Licenses & Inspection won't be able to handle the volume on its own, which is why the city plans on contracting with a third party.

The bill's passing comes months after numerous drivers said that they were victims of an alleged bait-and-trap towing scheme in South Philadelphia in August.

The story was similar for many – the drivers would park at a seemingly open spot on South Broad Street and Washington Avenue. But on their return, the car would be gone with a "no parking" sign from George Smith Towing suddenly in place where their vehicle had been parked.

Facebook videos posted by Chris Norman who lives above the allegedly targeted spot have documented a handful of incidents.

Read more: http://www.phillyvoice.com/city-council-passes-bill-targeting-predatory-towing-practices/

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