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SPEAK OUT: Is Towing from County Parking Lots a Problem?

ABC7 highlights the issue of towing in Montgomery County.

With Montgomery County feeling the parking crunch, have you been towed after parking in a lot and “walking off” to a different establishment? Or worse, have you seen your car unfairly towed from the lot of the business in which you were shopping?

ABC7 recently highlighted the issue of towing in Montgomery County—30,000 cars last year alone, according to ABC7—and spoke with a family who says their car was unfairly towed. Towing is the No. 1 complaint fielded by the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, according to the report.

“We really are in crisis mode in Montgomery County with respect to non-consensual towing,” Eric Friedman, Office of Consumer Protection director, told ABC7. “They’re just hiding, waiting for someone to walk away or do something wrong, then they swoop in like a hawk and get their car.”

But enforcing parking policies can provide a safeguard for the business community, merchants say. In Bethesda, where parking is especially scarce following the , a major surface parking lot that’s being redeveloped into a parking garage, business owners say they have to be vigilant when it comes to their parking spaces.

“You have to be aggressive," Tim Merkel, of , told ABC7. “Otherwise, your lot is filled up with customers that aren’t coming into your establishment.”

Do you think towing in Montgomery County is an issue, and if so, what should be done about it? Has your car been towed? Tell us in the comments.


Pete Claey July 12, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I agree with MD, start towing and enforcing the truck covenants in MV. I live in South Village and a former board member here drives his truck and parks it here every night. I believe that he is on the MVF board now. Mark Firley, why isn't he forced to resign? He isn't following the rules. Ask MV President Hydorn that question.
MS July 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Let me see if I read this right. You parked in Staples' lot (in Silver Spring) and took metro to DC? When you returned to Staples' lot you discovered that your car had been towed?
Concerned Resident November 18, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Parked in a legal space in the Hillandale Shopping Center on the side of Value Village. When my kids and I came out our van was gone and I was in a panic and thought my mini van was stolen. I went back in the store to find the police officer on duty. The store manager told me to call the tow company listed out on the signs. I said, "why would they tow me if I was parked legally?" He said they have had lots of issues with towing. I call and find out they towed me because my van was parked a little over the white line in the spot I was in. I spoke to the police on duty and he apologized and said they have had on going disputs with this tow company. He said he has watched them troll the parking lot. They were towing cars for expired tags but the police squashed that because the tow companies did not have the right equipment/jurisdiction to do checks. Just b/c a car does not have an up to date sicker on the tag does not mean they are expired. (per Montgomery Co police). I was a little over the white parking line but does that really justify towing? I was not taking up 2 spaces, was not parked sideways and was not parked in the middle of two spaces. The tow company said they were instructed by property management to tow for this reason (Duffie Management CO). REALLY, you got to be kidding me...cost me $150.00 and they had my van for maybe 2 hours -I beleive something is going on here...kickbacks...quick $ scam, just shady if you ask me...
Michael Shapiro November 19, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Contact the Management Co. My bet is that, if that was the only reason that you were towed and you were legitimately in the parking lot, the Management Company will go back to the towing company and make sure that they refund your money. After all, there are a number of towing services in MoCo and the threat of a management company firing their towing service is a very big stick. Also, since there was a moratorium on towing over the past few weeks because of a disconnect between state and county rules. If the posted signs didn't meet the new rules, it is quite possible that the tow, itself was a violation. Be very firm, but not over the top. Make a plan as to which way you want to go, in what order. You might even use a threat of small claims court. Good luck!
Becky Irvine March 11, 2013 at 09:53 PM
We are in a study at NIH with our 9 year old son, we were towed from the Connor Building when a family member came to visit us here. It is very stressful to be at NIH and a town you are not familiar with, we are warning people who go to NIH about the towing here and the Connor bldg. Very bad experience and very costly, something we really couldn't afford, $30 cab fare and $400 tow.

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