What are “Bandit” Tow Truck Companies?

Fortunately, the majority of tow truck drivers are honest individuals. They operate ethically and show up to help you out when your vehicle is not functioning and help bring you and your car to your requested next stop. While many tow truck companies work to bring stranded drivers home, some also work for the city and help clear the roads and private parking lots of illegally parked cars. By removing the vehicles that are illegally parked, tow truck drivers help clear areas to keep them safe and also to ensure there are plenty of parking spots available to the public. After all, if people can’t park at a nearby business, they will often leave, and that can hurt the income of local businesses.

Ethics or No Ethics?

However, not all two truck companies operate within the realm of ethics. That’s where the term “bandit” tow truck company derives from. Basically, “bandit” tow companies monitor private parking lots with the idea of towing away vehicles whose owners are not customers of the companies providing parking on that lot. “Bandit” tow operators often ignore the fact that the vehicle owner probably is patronizing a business connected to the parking lot, and tow away the car anyway. That means that “bandit” tow truck companies don’t mind removing legitimate customers with a right to park at the lot they leave their cars in.

Typically, businesses that own private property can have cars removed from their private parking lots if the car has been parked there for an extended period of time. When a car is towed off of a private parking lot, a representative of the property owner or the owner must be there when the car is impounded in order to authorize the tow. However, “bandit” tow truck operators bend the rules of this law so that they can make more money off unsuspecting customers that are patronizing businesses and doing nothing illegal. Unfortunately, many people experience this horrible bind, and often wind up leaving a business they just bought something at to find their vehicle missing, and a huge fine associated with getting the vehicle back.

What You Can Do

If you wind up in the middle of this type of scam, remember that the tow truck company doesn’t hold a legal lien on your car until it is in transit on a public highway. There are a few other things to keep in mind that can help you out in this situation:

  • If you discover your car on a tow truck that is still located in the private parking lot, you can ask to pay the tow truck driver for half of what an Official Police Garage would charge for towing.
  • If you can’t hand over the funds because you don’t have them, then the problem becomes a civil matter, and the tow operator must release your vehicle.
  • If the tow truck driver leaves the lot with your vehicle anyway because you couldn’t afford the necessary amount, then the driver has violated several laws.

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