If your vehicle gets towed without warning, there are several ways to handle it, including contacting the towing company and paying the necessary charges. You can get their contact details by calling the local police department or checking the written notice that the towing firm leaves behind.
It is also possible to get the towing company’s contact information from the apartment complex. If you feel that the towing was unfair or improper, be sure to file an objection with the local police and provide all the necessary documents to support your complaint. If your claim is legitimate, you won’t have to pay the towing charges, or you may get a refund.
This article highlights legal reasons for towing a car without notice, how to fight predatory towing, and rules for towing a trailer. It also looks at some definitions of weight. Read On!
What Are Some Reasons For Towing A Car From An Apartment Complex Without Notice?
Apartment complexes have their regulations on the parking of cars. They have designated spots for tenants or guests to park their vehicles during certain hours. In most apartments, the management or landlords post the apartment’s rules or state them in the lease agreement. A violation of the parking rules can lead to your car being towed away legally. Some of the reasons for towing your vehicle include;
1. Parking on the spot with a clear sign of a fire lane
2. If you park on a zone marked ‘tow-away.’
3. If your car obstructs the entrance or exit to the apartment complex, other vehicles, a dumpster, or access gate
4. When the parked vehicle has a hazardous liquid that is leaking
5. Parking on a spot that is reserved for the disabled
What Can You Do If Your Car Is Towed Illegally?
Sometimes the towing company may tow your car away even when you have not violated the parking rules. If this happens, you need to do the following;
Confirm That You Haven’t Violated Parking Rules
If your car gets towed away, you will want to check that it was legally parked before taking action. Look for any signs that could indicate illegal parking and re-read the lease agreement to see any restrictions. After confirming that you parked legally, you can file a complaint with the apartment managers.
The apartment complex managers are likely to help you better than the towing company. Since the agency is committed to their tenant’s comfort, they will be more than willing to assist you and your visitors.
Check If The Towing Firm Followed The Correct Procedure.
It is a legal requirement that before towing a vehicle, the company must follow the correct procedure. They need to take a photo of the car parked in an unauthorized zone and notify the local police of their intention to remove the vehicle. Doing this helps to know if the vehicle is classified as stolen. While it is not easy to get the pictures from the towing company, you need to do all it takes, including paying a fee and going back a couple of times.
Contact The Local Police Department.
You will also need to call the local police department to see if the towing company reported to them before towing your car. Although the police won’t coerce the company to return your vehicle, they will act as witnesses and avert any trouble during the discussions.
You will have to be as diplomatic as possible during the negotiations and follow the proper procedure. After proving that the towing was illegal, talk to the company to return your car and have them foot any charges they may have placed on you.
If All Else Fails, Pay The Towing Fees.
If the towing company becomes adamant during negotiations and fails to accept liability, you may decide to pay the towing fees. You can choose to avoid a court process that may take a long to conclude, especially if you are not sure that the towing was illegal. Some towing companies may refuse to release your car until you pay a certain fee. Failure to pay this fee may lead to the car attracting storage charges which may accrue beyond the car’s value.
The towing company can decide to auction your vehicle to recover its fee. To avoid such disappointments and probably lose your car, it can be wise to pay the initial cost and get back your car.
What Are The Rules For Towing?
While different states may have their rules for companies towing a car, some of them may be common. These rules include;
1. Before moving the car, ensure that the tow rope is tightened on the two vehicles.
2. The towing rope needs not to be more than 3.5meter long
3. An individual with a valid driver’s license should control the car being towed unless using a solid bar. This rule may also not apply if the vehicle being towed has its wheel raised off the road
4. Towing speed must not exceed 30km/h unless a tow truck or a solid bar is being used
5. The vehicle being towed should not have any passengers
What Should I Do If I Am A Victim Of Predatory Towing?
There are several things you can do if you become a victim of towing scammers, including;
Understand The Local Laws
If you feel that the towing of your car was predatory, you need to check the local ordinances first. Doing this will help you know if the towing firm violated the law. If you find that the towing was illegal, you can file a complaint.
Dispute The Towing Charges
Sometimes the towing company may charge you high fees that seem unfair. If you feel that the charge is unreasonable, you can negotiate with the towing company. You need to compare this fee with that of other towing companies in your area to know if it is high.
Talk To A Legal Counsel.
You can consult an attorney to help you understand your rights regarding towing fee. Doing so will enable you to decide if a court process is worth it or not.
What Are The Rules For Towing A Trailer?
A trailer is heavier and longer than other vehicles, and towing it may not be easy. It will affect how your vehicle handles on the road and take more time to slow down or speed up. To avoid any issues on the road, you can begin by practicing on a quiet street before going out in traffic. It would help if you observe some safety precautions before moving the trailer onto the road, including;
1. Lock the vehicle onto the tow bar securely with a strong chain and correctly hook up the electrical connection. You also need to request someone to observe the trailer’s brake lights and indicators while you check the controls in your vehicle.
2. Ensure that the trailer’s load is centered and fastened as much as possible.
3. Ensure that your mirrors are correctly positioned for you to see behind
4. Make sure that the wheel bearings are properly greased and airtight. Doing this helps to prevent them from overheating and wearing out, which could lead to severe issues when they fail
5. Ensure that your towing vehicle is in good condition to withstand the additional pressure. Check that the oil and filters are changed, brake pads are in proper condition, and the engine coolant is filled correctly.
Once you get onto the road with the trailer, you also need to observe the following;
1. Your speed should not be above 90km/h in a zone with a limit of 100km/h
2. Always slow down before getting to intersections
3. Ensure that there is enough gap between you and other vehicles. Doing this helps you stop if need be and pull out into traffic since it will take more time to speed up.
4. If your truck is a manual transmission, be sure to change down gears when moving uphill or downhill.
5. When approaching curves and corners, you need to make them more expansive than usual. The trailer will cut corners more sharply than the towing truck at such points. If the trailer strikes solid objects at an angle, it may cause damage to the tires, which may lead to the truck driver losing control.
What Are Some Terms Of Weight Used When Towing A Trailer?
Before towing a vehicle, it is essential to know some weight definitions. The knowledge of weight is helpful when fastening the car to be pulled. The table below shows some of these weights and their meanings.
Base curb weight
Weight of the truck and trailer (this does not include optional equipment or cargo)
It includes the weight of any optional tools, cargo, and passengers.
GAW (Gross axle weight)
The total weight is placed on the rear and front axles.
GAWR (gross axle weight rating)
Total weight that each axle can carry
GCW (gross combination weight)
Weight of fully loaded trailer and loaded vehicle
GCWR (gross combination weight rating)
Maximum acceptable towing vehicle’s weight and that of the loaded trailer
GVW (Gross vehicle weight)
Sum of actual cargo and base curb weight
GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating)
Maximum weight allowable for a vehicle (fully loaded)
Gross trailer weight
Maximum weight of a completely loaded trailer that a truck can tow
Highest allowable weight of the load that a vehicle can carry
Your car may be towed from an apartment complex without notice if it is illegally parked or causing obstruction to other tenants or access gate. You can call the management to negotiate with the towing company for you or talk to them yourself. If you feel that the towing was illegal, contact the local police and seek their intervention.