Last Updated on June 26, 2017 by Lawrence Berezin
How to protect yourself from a predatory tow in NYC
- Have you ever been victimized by a greedy tow truck operator?
- Parked in a commercial lot, gone into a store, and found your car gone upon your return?
- Have you ever parked in front of a private driveway?
- Or, gotten the boot or tow because of a parking ticket?
If your answer is yes to any one of these questions, it is essential to learn your rights when your car is kidnapped by Captain Hook.
The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) licenses private companies that:
- Tow cars that block private driveways
- Parked on private property,
- Immobilized after an accident,
- Broken down.
The New York Police Department tows vehicles that:
- Violate NYC parking, standing, and stopping laws R
- Restrains vehicles with outstanding parking and camera violation judgments.
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.
NBC I-Team Report on abusive towing in NYC
10 tow tips that will save you money
- The tow operator must be licensed by the DCA
- There must be a written contract between the owner of the private property and the tow operator
- There must be posted warnings about what makes up unauthorized parking
- The tow operator cannot charge more than $125 for the tow and three days of storage
- The owner of private property must conspicuously post detailed information about the tow operator
- The owner must give express written authorization to tow a vehicle
- A vehicle may not be removed if occupied
- The towed vehicle must be taken to a storage facility maintained by the tow operator
- The tow operator must let the police precinct know within 30 minutes of the vehicle’s arrival
- If the owner or person in control of the vehicle arrives before the removal of the vehicle, she can ask that the vehicle be released subject to payment of a fee of not more than one-half the fee for removal
The NY Code for removal of vehicles on private property
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Other Tow Resources
-NYC Department of Consumer Affairs tow services guide
-NYC Department of Consumer Affairs licensed tow operator search tool
–File Complaint with the Department of Consumers Affairs
Learn the rules of engagement to protect yourself against unjust tow practices. If you were treated unjustly, file a complaint with the DCA.