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motor vehicles

If you park your vehicle in a private lot - for example a business or apartment complex - the owner of that lot has the right to have your vehicle towed away if it doesn’t belong there.

If this happens to you, understand your rights and responsibilities:

Locating your vehicle. The towing company must provide you with their phone number, the vehicle’s location, a list of prices they will charge to recover an impounded vehicle, and which methods of payment they will accept. This information can be provided by signs at a parking lot, on a sheet of paper handed to you, or, if you are not present at the time of the tow, by mail. Note: There are exceptions to this rule if your vehicle was abandoned, towed on behalf of the police or if your insurance company is paying for the tow.

Recovering your vehicle. You may pick vehicle up between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday (except holidays), and at other times within 60 minutes of requesting the vehicle’s release.

Retrieving urgently-needed personal property. Even if you do not recover the vehicle at first, you may retrieve certain personal property such as prescription medication, eyeglasses, identification, wallet, purse, credit card, child safety seat, etc. If you are not redeeming the vehicle when you retrieve personal property, the only fee a towing company may charge you is a gate fee if it is during non-business hours.

Additional rules for towing companies:

  • A towtruck operator may not monitor a parking lot unless there are signs posted in the lot that tell you what hours monitoring will occur.
  • The towtruck operator must also take a picture of your vehicle to show how it was parked in violation of a parking prohibition posted on a sign at a parking lot.
  • Unless the towtruck operator is towing your vehicle for a motor vehicle road service company, a they may not attempt to solicit your business at the scene of an accident.
  • If you are present at the time of the tow and the hookup is not complete, the tower must release the vehicle at no charge. If the hookup is complete, they may charge for a hookup fee, but not for the price of a tow.
  • If the towing company accepts cash, you will get exact change no later than the end of the next business day. (Not all towers carry sufficient change in their trucks.)

If you have questions about towing, or want to notify us about an individual, company or agency that is not honoring your rights, please contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline by completing a Consumer Complaint Form or calling 1-877-877-9392.

Applicable State Law:

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