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Sat. May 18th, 2024

East Elmhurst, NY — In response to complaints from constituents who had to pay hefty fines to towing companies after their vehicles were removed from private parking lots, State Senator Jose Peralta is distributing a pamphlet detailing the rights of automobile owners. In fact, if a tow operator removes an improperly parked vehicle, the company cannot charge more than $125 for the removal and the first three days of storage.

In 2015, more than 1,400 drivers filed complaints with the City denouncing that tow trucks operators illegally removed their vehicles. A year earlier, the Legal Aid Society and the City’s Department of Consumer Affairs were able to obtain approximately $30 million in fines and restitution for consumers.

“The goal of handing out this pamphlet is to ensure drivers know their rights when their cars are being towed by private operators, who at times use intimidating tactics. We must ensure these operators act accordingly with the law and don’t rip off or try to rip off New Yorkers. Simply put, this is about letting the public know about their rights and ways to fight back against abusive predatory towing operators,” said Senator Peralta.

Senator Peralta co-sponsors a Senate bill introduced by Senator Jesse Hamilton and Assemblymember Ron Kim to protect consumers.

State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “Senator Peralta’s ‘Know Your Rights’ pamphlet for automobile owners is an important step in preventing predatory towing. Educating the public helps ensure consumers are not exploited by unscrupulous operators. I am grateful to have Senator Peralta as a partner in supporting Senate Bill 5994-A. This bill would enact further consumer protections, holding operators who abuse their license accountable and ensuring the authorities can act appropriately on consumer complaints. Working together, both in Albany and in the community, we can stop predatory towing and the abusive practices that cost New Yorkers millions.”

The pamphlet informs of the following:

–  A tow operator can remove improperly parked vehicles and can collect up to but not more than $125 for removal and the first three days of storage, combined.

– No vehicle shall be removed by a tow operator from a private property without express written authorization by the owner of the private property. Such authorization shall be required for each vehicle removed.

– A vehicle which is removed shall be taken directly to a facility for storage maintained by the person licensed to engage in towing.

– Within thirty minutes of the vehicle’s arrival at a facility for storage, they must notify the local police precinct.

– If the owner or operator arrives at the scene prior to removal of vehicle and its connected to the tow truck, their vehicle must be released and half of the $125 fee will be charged. It is recommended that you take a photo of your vehicle when you arrive as evidence of the timing of your arrival.

– A detailed signed receipt of removing vehicle must be given to the person paying the removal and storage charges at the time of payment.

– If the operator is in violation of this section (NYC Code – Section 19-169.1) then there will be no charge to the owner or the person in charge of the vehicle.

– Companies who violate this section shall be subject to a fine ranging from $500 for the first offense, and $1000 for any subsequent offense within a 12-month period.

Rights Pamphlet
Senator Jose Peralta Presents Know your Rights Pamphlet to Fight Predatory Towing

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