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#1 Old 11-13-2012, 08:08 AM
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Towed and Broken Into

Hey fellas. I was parked in a desolate parking lot and missed the visitor parking spot by two spaces. I did not even know there were any. Anyway, I reverse parked and had my parking brake engaged and came back to my car to find only drag marks where my car was presumably dragged out of the lot. The tower then had to "break into" my car with "special lockout tools" to disengage the brake. It was believable, but some things did not click.

1. My upper door frame is misaligned and it looks like someone tried to pry it open.
2. My window lock button above the door lock button was pushed down and I usually do not push it down.
3. There's a dry green residue where my upper door frame/window area was seemingly wedged open.
4. Wind noise is much more noticeable because of this.

I can only conclude this snob pried my door open just enough to shove a slender wire or rod into my car to unlock the door, hitting the window locks along the way. In other words, he didn't use a slimjim.

I am just trying to piece together what happened and assess the damage. Does what I described sound about right? I did not find any damage to my side-skirts, front bumper, or any undercarriage plastic. The parking brake seems to be operational. The unaligned area of my door is now somewhat unnoticeable after trying to realign it myself by pushing it back in. It's just a thin piece of sheet metal.

I'm pissed more than anything.

Thanks.
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#2 Old 11-13-2012, 11:00 AM
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Just one of the many irritating exigencies of life. Regards
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#3 Old 11-13-2012, 12:00 PM
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Yeah they wedge the door open from the top and use a pole to unlock the doors with the button.


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#4 Old 11-13-2012, 04:27 PM
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That's a Bummer man. Sorry to hear it.

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#5 Old 11-13-2012, 04:35 PM
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I'd park carefully from here on out.


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#6 Old 11-13-2012, 07:45 PM
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I would confront the owner's of the lot. Even if you parked illegally, it is still illegal for them to open someone's vehicle without their permission. They should have called a tow company and billed you for the tow instead of breaking into your car.
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#7 Old 11-13-2012, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris311 View Post
I would confront the owner's of the lot. Even if you parked illegally, it is still illegal for them to open someone's vehicle without their permission. They should have called a tow company and billed you for the tow instead of breaking into your car.
I believe it was the tow company that opened it up. In most areas towing companies can do just that (legally) if they are towing the vehicle. I guarantee they can in San Antonio. I live here.


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#8 Old 11-13-2012, 08:26 PM
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Yeah, the green would be from the newer tools used to open vehicles. What they probably did was pry the door open forcefully to get it in there, and maybe damaged the door seal, or just shoved it in there. I use an airbag at work that pries the door open just enough to get the "arm" / "rod" in to push the unlock button, grab the door handle, yada yada yada, but I ALWAYS check to make sure the door isnt damaged/bent.

On newer cars with side air-bags you cant safely use a slim-jim due to sensors/air-bags in the area of the latch. That, plus most have just an electric solenoid that locks/unlocks the door leaving no way to slimjim it anyways.
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#9 Old 11-13-2012, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zembonez View Post
I believe it was the tow company that opened it up. In most areas towing companies can do just that (legally) if they are towing the vehicle. I guarantee they can in San Antonio. I live here.

The OP never mentioned anything about being billed or receiving a written notice, and no tow company is going to tow a car and not bill the owner. There would have been paper work left where the car was initially parked. They also do not tow vehicles to just outside a parking lot, they impound the vehicle.

In Texas it is illegal for tow companies to break into a vehicle and tow companies are liable for any damages they cause during a tow.

Quote:
Tow operators are not authorized to make entry into a motor vehicle for purposes of towing the vehicle under the non-
consent tow provisions of Occupations Code 2308. Use of a “slim jim" or other device is not authorized under the towing
statute or rules. After review of Occupations Code 2308, specifically section 2308.255, a tow operator is only authorized
to "remove and store" unauthorized vehicles. Nothing in Occupations Code 2308.255 or the balance of that chapter
explicitly or implicitly authorizes a tow operator to break into or otherwise enter a locked vehicle with a and limited
purpose of removal and storage of the vehicle. If you observe a tow operator trying to unlock a vehicle door without
the owner with a “slim jim” or other device without the consent of the owner or operator, call 911 to report a
burglary of a vehicle in progress.
http://texastowingcompliance.com/

Quote:
Sec. 2308.404. Civil Liability of Towing Company, Booting Company, or Parking Facility Owner for Violation of Chapter.(a) A towing company, booting company, or parking facility owner who violates this chapter is liable to the owner or operator of the vehicle that is the subject of the violation for:
(1) damages arising from the removal, storage, or booting of the vehicle; and
(2) towing, storage, or booting fees assessed in connection with the vehicle's removal, storage, or booting.
(b) A vehicle's owner or operator is not required to prove negligence of a parking facility owner, towing company, or booting company to recover under Subsection (a).
(c) A towing company, booting company, or parking facility owner who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly violates this chapter is liable to the owner or operator of the vehicle that is the subject of the violation for $1,000 plus three times the amount of fees assessed in the vehicle's removal, towing, storage, or booting.

http://www.license.state.tx.us/towing/towinglaw.htm




From how the OP describes the scenario, there is no way a tow company towed his car just outside the parking lot. It is illegal in many states for Tow Companies to just move a car a few hundred feet, they must impound it. They also must provide written documentation and the OP never mentioned anything about that. Tow companies also do not tow vehicles for free.

My guess is that it was the owner of the parking lot taking matters into his own hands and what they did was illegal in all 50 states. If it were my car, I would be asking all kinds of questions to figure out who moved the vehicle and caused the damage so that they could pay to get it repaired.

11LE, were there signs posted saying that unattended vehicles will be towed?

Last edited by Chris311; 11-13-2012 at 08:52 PM.
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#10 Old 11-13-2012, 08:53 PM
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Yeah, a reputable tow company would have no reason to break into a vehicle reguardless of parking brake/steering wheel turnned or anything of the like. And they would impound the vehicle, not move from the lot as Chris311 stated.
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#11 Old 11-14-2012, 12:17 AM
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There were signs about "violators will be towed" behind some trees. I was supposed to park in a visitor designated spot, but I did not know at the time. I was only two spaces down from a visitor spot, anyway. The lot wasn't even full.

The tower did impound my camry and charged 76 bucks for me to drive out of there again. Tow companies don't care if they damage your vehicle because they aren't liable if you're illegally parked. Hope ya'll learn a lesson through my mistake. I knew exactly which tow company had my car because while I was scratching my head trying to figure out where my car had gone, the same tow truck was making his rounds again. This was behind an apartment complex, by the way.
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#12 Old 11-14-2012, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11LE View Post
There were signs about "violators will be towed" behind some trees. I was supposed to park in a visitor designated spot, but I did not know at the time. I was only two spaces down from a visitor spot, anyway. The lot wasn't even full.

The tower did impound my camry and charged 76 bucks for me to drive out of there again. Tow companies don't care if they damage your vehicle because they aren't liable if you're illegally parked. Hope ya'll learn a lesson through my mistake. I knew exactly which tow company had my car because while I was scratching my head trying to figure out where my car had gone, the same tow truck was making his rounds again. This was behind an apartment complex, by the way.

Something still doesn't sound right.

This is the section of the Florida state statute that talks about gained entry and liability for damages caused.

Quote:
Vehicle entry for the purpose of removing the vehicle or vessel shall be allowed with reasonable care on the part of the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel. Such person or firm shall be liable for any damage occasioned to the vehicle or vessel if such entry is not in accordance with the standard of reasonable care.
Here are the requirements for the signs. If they signs do not meet the requirements of state statute 715.07, then the owner of the parking facility is liable for all costs towards towing and damage repairs to the owner of the vehicle.

Quote:
a. The notice must be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within 5 feet from the public right-of-way line. If there are no curbs or access barriers, the signs must be posted not less than one sign for each 25 feet of lot frontage.
b. The notice must clearly indicate, in not less than 2-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. The words “tow-away zone” must be included on the sign in not less than 4-inch high letters.
c. The notice must also provide the name and current telephone number of the person or firm towing or removing the vehicles or vessels.
d. The sign structure containing the required notices must be permanently installed with the words “tow-away zone” not less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet above ground level and must be continuously maintained on the property for not less than 24 hours prior to the towing or removal of any vehicles or vessels.
The only exceptions for the signs are this

Quote:
A business with 20 or fewer parking spaces satisfies the notice requirements of this subparagraph by prominently displaying a sign stating “Reserved Parking for Customers Only Unauthorized Vehicles or Vessels Will be Towed Away At the Owner’s Expense” in not less than 4-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background.

Last edited by Chris311; 11-14-2012 at 06:55 AM.
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#13 Old 11-14-2012, 08:10 AM
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Chris311 most of your posts have a ton of value and show you take time to help others.



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#14 Old 11-14-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by hardtopte72 View Post
Chris311 most of your posts have a ton of value and show you take time to help others.

I don't like seeing other people get screwed, unless they are in an AV.
So i try and give advice and help when I can.
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