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Car Towed from Hotel Parking Lot With No Warning Signs

Discussion in 'Parking Tickets, Towing, Impound' started by Guest, Jan 18, 2015.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Law Topic Starter Guest

    I recently had my car towed from a local Holiday Inn where I was not a guest. I parked there around 11:30pm and the tow took place at 3:00AM. Upon briefly looking at Texas tow laws and regulations it seems as though signs must be placed in the entrance/exit of the lot. This Holiday Inn however has no signage whatsoever on the property in reference to towing. I had to call the hotel directly and be given a phone number to the tow company since no such information is posted. The only signs on the property and parking lot are ones that mention locking your car and hiding valuables. My vehicle was parked in a single space not obstructing anything and was amongst dozens of others cars parked similarly as well . I understand that I have 14 days to file an appeal and have my case heard before a judge. Due to the fact that there is no signage mentioning towing does the constitute an illegal tow according to Texas law?

    The laws:
    Except as provided by Subsection (a)(2)(B) and Section 2308.304 or 2308.305, an unauthorized vehicle may not be towed under Section 2308.252(a)(1) or booted under Section 2308.257 unless a sign prohibiting unauthorized vehicles on a parking facility is:

    (1) facing and conspicuously visible to the driver of a vehicle that enters the facility;
    (2) located:
    (A) on the right or left side of each driveway or curb-cut through which a vehicle can enter the facility, including an entry from an alley abutting the facility; or
    (B) at intervals along the entrance so that no entrance is farther than 25 feet from a sign if:
    (i) curbs, access barriers, landscaping, or driveways do not establish definite vehicle entrances onto a parking facility from a public roadway other than an alley; and
    (ii) the width of an entrance exceeds 35 feet;
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2015
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The JP will determine if the tow was legal or illegal!


    NOTE: If you feel your vehicle should not have been towed without your consent you may request a hearing with any Justice of the Peace court in the county from which the motor vehicle was towed.

    This hearing must be requested within 14 business days (not including Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) of the date the vehicle owner receives notice from the vehicle storage facility holding the vehicle.

    Please refer to your receipt for that information. For more information about your rights as a vehicle owner, refer to the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 2308, Subchapter J. (Rights of Owners and Operators of Stored or Booted Vehicles).





    If you believe you are a victim of an illegal tow, try doing these two things: File a complaint with TDLR https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/Complaints/ and request a tow hearing at a Justice of the Peace court within the county. Documenting the incident in some way could also help.

    “If (the tow company) refuses to drop the vehicle, try to capture them doing it on camera and take the video to a tow hearing in JP court.”

    Try to work the hotel's general manger or the franchise company, in your case, Holiday Inn.

    Provide them with proof of the law, help them see they could also be liable.

    Become their friend, pretend you're trying to help them to get them to help you.


    Laws are only useful if people obey them, or you can get a court order requiring them to obey them.

    Tow truck operators are often friendly with the local police and sheriff as they need the trucks to remove damaged autos, and autos driven by allegedly drunk drivers , or drivers captured with suspended DLs.

    Otherwise, off to court you must go.
    You'll win, eventually, but it'll cost time and money.
    In the meantime, you're still without your car.
    Many of us don't play well with others.


    https://watchdognation.com/texas-towing-law/

    http://kxan.com/2014/10/10/driver-knowledge-could-prevent-illegal-tows/



    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Do yourself a favor and take pictures of the property showing there are no signs in place. If the signs are not present you just may win your appeal.
    I assume the quoted code is the one listed on the paperwork as the reason for the tow and that your vehicle was current on registration and had no other violations.
     
    Texas123 likes this.
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    OP, M2 gave you a great idea.
    I handled a case similar to yours for one of my wife's friends.
    Her friend's college age son had her car towed from a hotel parking lot, too.
    When they learned of the sign requirement, they hurriedly plastered a few around.
    The kid took pictures, but to bolster our case, I subpoenaed the security tapes from the time of the citation, as well as the tapes from a nearby business.
    You guessed it, no signs.
    When possible, always double down to increase the pain.
     
    Texas123 likes this.
  5. Texas123

    Texas123 New Member

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    Thank you both for the replies. When I woke up the next morning I went to the hotel parking lot to take both pictures and videos of the parking lot, entrances & exits, and poles. I'm filling out the paperwork for the appeal hearing with the JP as we speak
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  6. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Do yourself another favor and cease parking in the lots of businesses where you will not be conducting business, whether they are posted or not.
     
    army judge likes this.
  7. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    You don't want to park there any more unless you are a guest or possibly visiting a guest. I guess you know that now though.
     
  8. Texas123

    Texas123 New Member

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    I drove by the hotel today and tow signs have been put up at the entrances of the property. Luckily, I have over 100 pictures and videos showing that they were not up in that exact spot on Sunday.
     
  9. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    We already covered this on another site. They could have posted notice to your windshield according to law and towed accordingly. The fact such a posting was not there when you picked up the vehicle from the tow yard is not evidence they did not provide legal notice in that manner.
     
  10. Texas123

    Texas123 New Member

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    I disagree but we'll see what happens next week.
     
  11. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    That is backward. The burden is on the hotel/tow company to prove proper notice WAS given.

    Given the short time frame in this case a notice posted to the vehicle would be insufficient.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    True, and Texas statute demands signs be posted prominently and what those signs must say about towing.

    Your advice to the OP to take photos will really assist him in proving his case.
     
  13. Texas123

    Texas123 New Member

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    UPDATE: The tow hearing is tomorrow. The tow company called about a hour ago willing to refund my money. They claimed some drunk kids came along that night and took the signs out the ground. He asked me what time I parked at the hotel to which I responded "what time were the signs supposedly taken out the ground"? We both ended up not answering each other requests. Apparently he will show the video in court tomorrow. I find this to be BS. Two people are going to rip tow signs out the ground and carry them away? And at a random hotel? If he has the video why not just bring it to court tomorrow and forgo having the owner call me?

    Tomorrow should be interesting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  14. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Sounds suspicious that it coincidentally happened just when your car was towed.

    It is your decision. If they pay enough to satisfy you then save your time and effort. If you really don't mind going to the hearing and want to go through the motions then do that instead. Either way I suspect you will be refunded.
     
  15. Texas123

    Texas123 New Member

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    I ended up declining the offer. When I asked for compensation for the time and effort I put into building the case he refused. As you said, I find it hard to believe the one night I park there that kids would come and remove both signs (which would take an immense physical effort on their part) and "carry them off to a creek". I drove by the hotel today and didn't see any cameras that would have footage of the street where the signs are now at.

    I think it was a setup for me to say "Oh I parked there at 11pm" so he could then say "Well the signs were knocked down at 10pm...." take this refund and be happy because you won't win in court........... I'll keep you updated on what happens tomorrow!
     
  16. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No worries, as you suspicion, just a ploy.
    I'd ask a couple employees when then signs were put up, just for giggles.
    It's too late now, but if video exists, it would be devastating to them.
    It would reveal everything.
    Not to worry, you're sitting on a sure fire winner.

    If the hotel has proof of any vandalism, why not report it to the police?
    The same goes for the tow operator.



    Many, not all, tow truck operators that tow cars off of property are jerks.


    You're about to see why, occasionally, the law is the only refuge we have left, my friend.
    Good luck on the morrow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  17. Texas123

    Texas123 New Member

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    Just got back from the tow hearing. I won my money back (owner paid cash on the spot). The video was not shown in court because the hotel shuttle van was blocking the view (yeah right). The judge became very frustrated with both us. The tow people claimed the signs were last seen up around 11:30pm and it had been previously stated I parked there around midnight so we kept going back and forth on that point. After about 10 minutes he let out a sigh and said he would need time to think this situation over. As he turned to walk into the chambers he said "Is there no way you both can come together to remedy this situation"?

    The judge grilled me on why I didn't answer the questions that the tow company asked me yesterday. I said something along the lines of "I didn't know what he planned to do with the information" and I could tell that greatly angered him. I just don't understand why I would give a defendant information that he doesn't have the day before a case.

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Y'all are awesome.
     
  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Thank you, but our laws occasionally do work for the average Joe and Jill. Good on you, mate.
     

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