Letters to the Editor: April 7 – 13, 2016
Frustrated With Continued Predatory Towing in F.C.
I am writing to express my extreme frustration with the continued practice of predatory towing within Falls Church City and urge both the city and the Virginia state government to enact provisions permitted in the recently passed transportation bill that would limit predatory towing activity. Congressman Beyer did a fantastic job in introducing and shepherding this bill through the system.
Discussion needs to be had as to what we as a locality deem appropriate towing practice. While there is an argument to be made that during normal commercial hours, local businesses should have some priority on a limited number of spots right outside their establishments, I do not believe that the same argument holds true when those businesses are closed for the evening.
The current business model of the towing companies is to provide, at no charge to the business owners, a towing service, signage and often free snow plowing service as a “perk.” In return, the towing companies retain the right to tow cars at will, without explicit acknowledgement of the local business owners, and charge a $100 retrieval fee for said cars. This business model is flawed to begin with and stacked against consumer rights and economic benefit of local business as a whole. However, my chief complaint rests in the fact that the towing companies tow cars even during their clients’ closed time periods. There is no demonstrable harm to the businesses when they are not open and this is a pure for profit play by the towing companies. In fact, the towing companies set “spotters” around town to spy on the unsuspecting parkers. This practice is predatory in nature, disrupts evening commerce in Falls Church and exposes an ugly underbelly of commerce.
Until recently, the hands of states and local jurisdictions were tied by a loophole in a 1994 federal law that forbade local jurisdictions from doing anything to regulate towing company practices. Those days are thankfully over. I urge Falls Church City to take another look at what should be considered permissible towing practices within our Little City.
Via the Internet
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