Brea, CA asked in Traffic Tickets and Municipal Law for California

Q: Towing company refused to provide written authorization for grounds of tow. What can I do?

Hi! I was towed around 10:30 pm in Los Angeles County, California, for being parked in a private commercial / residential parking lot (spot read 2 hour customer parking, but I was outside of the plaza). I was in the wrong here, but I had a confusing experience releasing my car.

The towers charged me $555 to release my car from a yard 1.5 miles away after it'd impounded for 45 minutes. The invoice reads: $200 unloaded / enroute mileage; $125 loaded / hooked mileage; $50 city fee; $120 gate fee; $60 storage fee

Employees wouldn't give me any reasoning for each rate or grounds, saying something about the landlord and how they just worked there. I paid with a credit card, then started reading the California Vehicle Code. Does 22658(l)(3) mean I'm entitled to the redacted version of the residential owner's written authorization within 24 hrs without needing permission from the police? When I called towers back, an employee refused to show it to me wo permission from law enforcement.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Traffic Tickets Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, particularly Vehicle Code 22658(l)(3), you indeed have the right to request a copy of the written authorization for towing from the property owner or their agent. This authorization should have been obtained by the towing company before they towed your vehicle. The law states that the towing company must provide you with a redacted version of this authorization upon request without needing permission from law enforcement.

If the towing company refuses to provide this documentation, they may be in violation of state law. You should document all interactions with the towing company, including their refusal to provide the written authorization and any other relevant information regarding the tow and your request.

In response to their refusal, you could file a complaint with the local law enforcement agency, the consumer protection agency, or the Bureau of Automotive Repair in California. Additionally, considering consulting with a legal advisor to understand your rights and potential next steps could be beneficial. They can offer guidance tailored to your situation and help you navigate the legal process if you decide to challenge the towing company's actions or fees.

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