Troubleshooter: Raleigh woman thought car stolen, but it was just unlawfully towed

ByDiane Wilson and Selina Guevara via WTVD logo
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

A woman says her car was towed illegally while parked in a handicapped space.

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- It's always an inconvenience when your car gets towed unexpectedly, but even more frustrating when you don't think the tow was even allowed to happen.

Asia Marche's car was parked at Lynn Lake Apartments in a handicapped space that was assigned to her mother, a disabled resident of the complex. Her mom has a valid handicapped placard, but Asia says that it was in between the seats when she parked the car.

When she came out and saw that the car was missing, Asia's first thought was that it had been stolen. But after making a few calls, she learned it had been towed by Chandler's Towing.

Upon arrival to the tow lot, Asia tried to explain why her car shouldn't have been towed, but they wouldn't even listen to her.

"Before I could even get the sentence out about the handicap placard and the spot, it was 'I don't want to hear it,'" Asia said one of the owners told her. "It's this much amount of money, come and pick it up other than that 'I don't want to hear anything.'"

The original towing cost was $165, but Chandler's did knock it down to $100. Asia paid up but started doing her own research.

The apartment complex sent her a letter stating they did not request Chandler's to tow Asia's car, and that they don't have a contract with Chandler's to tow cars off of Lynn Lake property.

Furthermore, the handicap spot where Asia was parked isn't technically enforceable. North Carolina General Statue 20.37-6(d) says that the maximum penalty for parking in one of the spots must be stated on the sign. You can see this sign does not have the penalty.

The handicap parking sign.
Diane Wilson

Even after bringing that research to Chandler's, Asia says they still wouldn't refund her money, so she got in contact with me and I reached out to them.

"I was offered a refund back from the towing company and the owners, and they were much more polite," Asia said.

When I spoke to the tow company, one of the owners of Chandlers told me they didn't tow her car deliberately. He said they used to have a contract with the apartment complex and were never told to stay off the property, or that they didn't have a contract until after Asia's car was towed.

The best advice if your car gets towed from a private lot make sure the tow company followed state law. Look to see if the lot has the proper signage that allowed for your vehicle to be towed and that the towing company followed the law once it comes to towing your vehicle.