Towing for NYC parking tickets is absurd
I hate it, despise it, and think it is downright medieval to tow a car for an alleged parking violation (unless there is a risk to the public safety or you block a driveway). A relatively recent, unjustifiable practice is booting first and towing two hours later. Shameful.
Thanks for letting me rant…Now, on to business.
Here is a bunch of helpful stuff you should know about towing
- The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) licenses private companies that tow cars that:
- block private driveways
- park on private property
- immobilized after an accident
- broken down
- Some companies are exempt from licensing, but their trucks must sport an “exemption sticker.”
- Tow trucks with “exemption stickers” are not permitted to tow a consumer’s vehicle
- The New York Police Department tow vehicles that violate NYC parking, standing and stopping laws
- The NYC Sheriff’s Office and NYC Marshals employed by the City of New York tow vehicles whose owners have outstanding parking and red light camera judgments totaling more than $350.Visit the Department of Finance website for more information about towed vehicles
- DCA also licenses private companies that boot cars parked in private lots or on private streets when the cars violate posted parking rules.
- When hiring, look for licensed tow companies.
- You can visit the check license page or call 311 to make sure a towing firm is licensed. If you use an unlicensed company, you may not be able to get your money back if you are ripped off.
- Before you allow a private tow truck to hook your car, check the driver’s side of the vehicle for the company’s name, address, phone number, and DCA license medallion. The medallion is a metal plate.
- If this information is not displayed, the truck is either unlicensed or violating licensing rules. File a complaint with DCA
- Keep a record of the tow truck’s medallion number. In addition, every tow truck driver must carry his or her DCA tow truck driver’s license. If you have a complaint about a specific driver, get his or her license number and file a complaint with DCA.
Carefully check the forms you sign.
- Sign only an Authorization to Tow form or towing bill receipt issued by the licensed towing firm. You are not required to sign an Authorization to Repair form to get your car towed.
- Always read forms carefully before you sign them. If you sign a “Designated Representative” form, you are designating the towing company to represent your interests with your insurance company. You are never required to sign a “Designated Representative” form. For any work you want to be done, get the details in writing. Never sign a blank form.
- Be sure the tow truck driver gives you a copy of the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Towing, as required by law.
If you are in an accident on any street or highway in New York City, or if your car breaks down on a highway in New York City, you must use the DCA-licensed towing company authorized by the police to tow your vehicle. You cannot call your own roadside assistance program or towing company. The towing company must take your car wherever you say, within New York City. Be sure the authorization you sign specifies towing only, not repairs or other services.
- If your car breaks down, call a DCA-licensed tow company of your choice. Unlike rates charged by the City’s DARP program, which is regulated, firms you choose can charge market rates.
- If time permits, call around to different towing firms to compare prices. An inexpensive or free towing service may be available from an auto club, your insurance company, or your car’s manufacturer.
If a posted sign reserves a parking lot for customers only and you visit any other business, even for a few minutes, your car can be towed.
- The City’s rotation tow program (ROTOW) regulates towing fees for recovered stolen vehicles or abandoned vehicles.
- DCA regulates the City’s DARP and ROTOW towing programs.
When your car is…
- …towed from a shopping center or other private property – Look for a posted sign with the name and number of the company that towed your car. Call the company to retrieve your vehicle. If you can’t find a sign, call the local police precinct.
- …towed from a driveway that you blocked – Call the local police precinct.
- …towed from the street for a parking or traffic violation – Visit the Department of Finance website or call 311
- …booted at a parking lot or a private street – Look for a posted sign saying which booting company applied the boot or wheel lock. Contact the company to have the boot removed. The company must remove the boot within 30 minutes, must accept payment by credit card, and may charge no more than $25.
Some more helpful towing tips
- If your car is booted at a parking lot or a private street – Look for a posted sign saying which booting company applied the boot or wheel lock. Contact the company to have the boot removed. The company must remove the boot within 30 minutes, must accept payment by credit card, and may charge no more than $25.
- If your car is booted and towed from a private parking lot, the maximum fee remains $25.
- There is no maximum rate for booting on private streets. The booting fee for private streets must be on file with DCA. The fee must be conspicuously posted on signs at all entry access streets that intersect with public streets.
- If your car is missing and you are not sure why to call 311 or call or visit the local police precinct where the car was parked.
- Contact DCA to file a complaint about a private towing or booting company.
- To see if a private towing or booting firm is licensed, visit the check license page or call 311.
- To file a complaint about auto repairs, call the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, (518) 474-8943.
Related blog posts about towing
- Here’s a link to the archives for our blog posts about the towing
Sincere thanks to the NYC Division of Consumer Affairs towing services web page. it is the source of all this helpful information.
Have I said that I hate towing for parking tickets?
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