Sunday, June 29, 2008

"A Black Mark" On San Marcos, Texas

Flickr.com photo

Unfortunately, an article about Charles Cantu's bad experience visiting San Marcos, Texas is all too typical of the results of abusive and predatory towing. The instinctive response of many citizens is "I'll never shop in (here insert city) again in my life..."

But at least in San Marcos the local paper took note, and examined whether the local towing policy is a wee bit (how to phrase it?) draconian and oppressive.

According to the article by News Editor Anita Miller of the San Marcos Daily Record, Charles is a former student of the local Texas state campus and "bragged" about all the great stuff in San Marcos, which is why he brought his family and some out-of-state visitors. Spots the shoppers hit included Paper Bear, Sean Patrick's, and Sundance Records in Nelson Center.

Cantu parked his truck momentarily to retrieve some members of the group who had been tubing on the river. It only took moments for his truck to be snatched by Saucedo's Wrecker Service, which demanded $103.30.

Cantu was incensed, calling the newspaper and the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. The police could only sympathize because what happened was "legal," although SMPD Commander Bill Glasgow says he has heard "the same story for 25 years."

Nelson Center is apparently quite aggressive in its towing. In this case, Cantu was towed even though some members of his party were shopping inside Nelson Center at the time. No "courtesy inquiry" was made at Nelson Center by the tow truck driver.

Cantu did not say, directly, that he would never shop in San Marcos again for the rest of his life, but noted he is "infuriated" and compared the situation to something you would find in New York.

An online comment posted to the article by "bobcat78" noted "the same thing happened to my family, parked at the lot besides Jay's Bistro. Supposedly, we should have been able to see two small signs on the wall that (limited) parking to residents only. Hard to read...in the dark. (The) attendant at the door saw us park and said nothing. To say the least the car was towed."

The commenter darkly noted, "I would assume the business probably gets a cut from Saucedo's Wrecker."

Unfortunately, this kind of smoldering fury is too often the response to people who experience predatory and abusive towing. They see it as an isolated local phenomenon, perhaps found commonly only in the most highly-developed metropolitan areas. (New York, Los Angeles, etc.)

However, as this very blog shows, that's not the case at all. Abusive and predatory towing is a national problem.

2 comments:

ana said...

I came accross this blog completely by accident, and just wanted to make a brief comment. If you do even a second's research, you will find that the reporter who wrote that story is regarded in this town (San Marcos) as a complete imbecile. She is incompetent and chooses to write stories based on hunches and hearsay rather than research and fact. This incident is one of those examples. Even the employees of the store the man was supposedly inside at the time of the incident will tell you he was lying. He and the rest of his group had left the property completely and, according to the signs posted ALL OVER THE PROPERTY, he was therefore subject to tow. In San Marcos this is not a city service. Saucedo's has been contracted with the lot manager to keep the lot free of non patron vehicles. If he was ever a participant in any of the nightlife, he would have been very aware of that fact, since the contract has existed for decades. You are just as guilty as Ms. Miller, the half witted reporter, for choosing to take her drivel for fact and climbing on a pedastal. If you have problems with towing in your town, I would suggest using local articles and issues, rather than adopting stories of fiction from towns you know nothing about.

Johnny T. Utopia said...

Blah blah blah. You know what? The reporter is still working as a reporter, which tells me a lot. Reporters who develop a following of "haters" are usually the ones who expose too much truth for the comfort of those who abuse their power.

My approval of your comment for publication is not the same as agreeing with it.