The towing and booting industries arose out of the idea that private lots should not be occupied by the cars of people who are not clients of the businesses for which the lot is in place. The advent of “pay to park” lots caused these industries to expand into “enforcing” the payments at these lots. The idea was still the same–to make sure that cars that are not supposed to be parked there are removed or penalized in some way so as to incentivize people to use the lots correctly. It was a good idea at the time, little did anyone know that it would lead to predatory towing and booting tactics.
The Rise of Predatory Towing and Booting Behavior
After a while, the industry realized that there was a lot of money to be made by towing and booting people, even if space in the lots was not scarce. And so, these companies decided that they would tow and boot for the sake of towing and booting, even if the cars that they were towing or booting were in no way interfering with the orderly flow of business in that lot. After this realization a feeding frenzy began, one that would affect almost every family in South Florida.
You don’t have to go far to get a feel for the extent of the abuse. A simple internet search reveals plenty:
-Local 10 Reports Sunny Isles Towing Abuse
-Miami New Times Reports On Companies Charging Bogus Fees
-Sun Sentinel: Towing Abuses Still Rampant In Broward
-King Wrecker Uses Falsified Documents To Justify Tows
-Tow Trucks Overcharging While Law Enforcement Looks Away
Our Government’s Flawed Response
In response to this industry feeding frenzy, and with the goal of protecting the people, counties began implementing regulations to try to prevent predatory towing practices. Regulations to address predatory booting practices followed shortly thereafter. While the goal of these regulations was to curb predatory towing practices, the regulations’ implementation left much to be desired. The cities and counties never really had the funding to enforce them, and predatory towing behavior continued to be rampant. Predatory booting behavior also continued to rise.
Because of the lack of enforcement, a lot of these companies saw these regulations as a joke, and decided to not even pretend to follow them. When people who were towed or booted in a predatory fashion would call the police, the police would say they could not do anything about it. That it was a “civil matter.” They would say this, even though most of the regulations make it a criminal act to tow or boot illegally. The reality was that the police departments think that they have better things to do than enforcing towing regulations.
The End Result
Because of the government’s lack of enforcement, towing and booting companies realized that they were free to hold people’s cars hostage even though these companies themselves were operating illegally. People were stuck paying these companies exorbitant fees to get their cars back because they felt that they had nowhere to turn. In their minds, going to court by themselves was too complicated, and paying a lawyer would cost significantly more than the fee charged by the towing or booting company. And even if someone wanted to hire a lawyer to fight these predatory towing and booting companies, no law firms in town were doing this kind of work.
The situation seemed hopeless.
We at Cornish Hernandez Gonzalez realized that there is a large portion of our community that is being victimized by these predatory towing and booting companies. Hard working people who park somewhere for a few minutes, only to be illegally towed or booted and have their cars held for ransom. Single mothers who are trying to run a five minute errand and park their car in an empty lot, not knowing that there are predators hiding in the shadows, hoping they can make hundreds of dollars over her five minute mistake.
We decided that someone had to take a stand against these predatory practices. And while we are primarily known for working to correct injustice in the personal injury and criminal defense arenas, we feel strongly that injustice in any form should not be allowed to exist in our community.
How We Are Correcting It
We have made it our purpose in 2019 to correct these predatory towing and booting practices in our community by filing cases in court on behalf of people who have been abused by these companies. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that we do not actually charge you anything, and we only get paid if we recover for you.
We hope that by doing this we can give these companies something to think about before deciding to take advantage of another person in our community.
To learn more about how we handle these cases, go here.
If you have been towed or booted in South Florida, give us a call at 305-853-9440, or fill out the form in this page. We would love to have you join our battle against these predatory towing and booting companies.