Sunday, November 16, 2008

Harsh Texas Style Justice For "Lone Star Auto Services" Photo

When Lone Star Auto Services had its Dallas license revoked earlier this month, 21 news articles hit the internet. Seldom has...

...a disgraced towing company gone down so hard and in such a public way. Here is a sample of the news coverage, from the Dallas Morning News, click here.

I blogged about this situation when it first came to my awareness, after the Texas State Fair towing incidents, click here. A pattern quickly arose of upset Texas citizens making complaints and comparing notes, which I blogged about here, click, and also here, click.

Now, according to the Dallas News--and plenty of others!--city officials say this misconduct was a pattern for years. The State Attorney General is looking into the situation, too.

Appeal Process Gives Lone Star Some "Slack"

If Lone Star files an appeal, the company will have up to 60 days to operate while the appeal process is completed. They can also just reincorporate under a new name and license, unfortunately, so there is discussion about "tightening the rules" in Dallas. Such a tightening wouldn't be hard to anticipate: if you have a towing license revoked in Dallas, you or a company in which you own interest can't get another license in Dallas. FOREVER.

Well, OK, I guess the law can't say "forever." So how about...ten years? OK, I'll compromise.


Will Other Predatory Towers Reform?

Right now, the assistant director of City of Dallas Public Works And Transportation Department is saying the city isn't "targeting" anyone else, but what happened to Lone Star should be "taken as a message."

In my observation, such a "message" is useless. Not warnings, but only systemic changes root out abuse, and the best changes involve transparency: individuals being able to track towing in real time via the internet, and being able to access old data for investigation, if needed. This Lone Star situation could have never happened if the data about their (blatantly illegal) overcharges had been available online several years ago.

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