Friday, April 18, 2008

Minneapolis Towing Horror Story: Sketchy "Street Cleaning" Encounter With A Tow Truck Driver

Flickr photo, "Aaack, gotta move the car."

Humphrey Student Steph Peterson had a tow truck driver shove her money in his own wallet to release her car during the "spring cleaning of citizens pocketbooks" in Minneapolis. Here are the details as told by Steph...

My name is Stephanie and yesterday I had a very tense run-in with the towing enforcement officers/tow company employees.

I awoke yesterday to find about 1/4 of the cars on my street being towed. Apparently it was "spring sweep" day, but the city had posted its small signs of notice less than 24 hours before towing. To me this seems a lack of due process/fair warning, especially in an urban location where metro transit is encouraged and individuals should not feel compelled to run outside every 12 hours to see if the city will be implementing any last-minute plans.

As an additional "sketchy" detail of my encounter, the tow truck driver insisted I pay him 5 dollars to unhook the chain from the front axle of my car. (This took approx. 7 seconds). After running back to my apartment and grabbing a 10 dollar bill, I returned to my car to pay him the fee.

At this point, he took out his own personal wallet and said. "I don't have change. But here is 3 dollars, that will have to do."

If this 5 dollar fee was a legitimate company fee, wouldn't they have CHANGE? Or at least a way of controlling the cash flow besides his own back pocket? Basically, I paid for this guy's lunch and got my car back. Unfortunately, for dozens of others on Garfield Ave., they were not so lucky.

I am totally disgusted by this lack of notice/planning on the part of the city of Minneapolis. I feel their motivation to clean the streets may not have been their true motivation. Perhaps they just needed a bit of revenue on this given week or month?

[Steph is fighting her ticket in court and I'm waiting for the update, but this incident raises issues beyond one ticket. The drivers appear quite willing to stick money in their back pocket, and the city tows excessively. Clearly, it's not about the silly leaves in the gutters but about the revenue]

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