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What Happens When Your Car is Towed

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

I can understand the need for cars to be towed, especially if the vehicle has outstanding tickets coming back to the license plate or the car owner is constantly parking in someone else’s parking spot.  However, what I don’t understand is the need for the landlord/owner of a building who has their building up for sale/lease, to hire a towing company to tow cars out of their vacant lot.  If the business either does not have business hours at that time of the day or business at all because the building is currently empty, what harm does it present to the building owner to allow customers of nearby businesses to park in that lot?

Friday night, I went out with some friends to a new bar that just opened called “Graney’s Stout.”  Wonderful new bar, loved it there — had a great time and great food.  However, unfortunately for me, lots of other people like it there as well and therefore, their relatively large parking lot was jam packed.  So, I took it upon myself to park across the street in a vacant lot that I have parked in numerous times before, to go to another bar nearby.  After just two hours inside “Stout,” to my astonishment, I came out  to find no cute, little, blue car.  I don’t think I need to repeat the words that came out of my mouth at the moment.  I knew what had happened.  It wasn’t stolen — it was towed!  A far worse occurence than if it had been stolen.  Of course, with perfect timing, I happened to look way up high to the side of the building and saw this little bitty sign that read the words: “private lot,” “vehicles will be towed,” “$125,” and ”Osborne Garage.”  There it was — how did I not see all of those dreaded words.  Unreal!  A great night, supporting a new, local establishment resulted in me contributing to Osborne Garage’s scholarship fund.  My mood was anything, but pleasant.

Casey's Car
Casey Danton, WGNA-FM

Though I ended up catching a cab to the notorious Osborne’s Garage (which if this ever happens to you, they are located on the sketchiest street ever at: 191 Osborne Street, Albany), my biggest problem was the possible damage my car suffered.  Let me reiterate that my car is little, cute, blue and has a standard transmission.  With that said, I typically leave the shifter in neutral and put the emergency brake on.  So my first thought was, “how did they tow my car across the city of Albany, in neutral, with the e-brake on and what did that do to my undercarriage and tires?”  I find it hard to believe that tow companies are really that compassionate when towing cars at $178 a pop. 

Fortunately, for me, my mind was eased when I was told that they probably jimmied my lock and took the e-brake off.  Oh great!  Good thing nothing valuable was in my car!  That’s suppose to make me feel a lot better?  In all honesty, it did help to know that I wouldn’t need to have the whole suspesnion redone or fix whatever damage would have been inflicted from dragging my helpless car across town, but it didn’t make me feel better after forking over the tow bill.  How can it cost that much money to tow a car?  Despicable!

What is your opinion on the towing of vehicles, especially in the city of Albany?  Is it getting a bit out of hand, especially when these tow companies have private contracts and just lap those lots numerous times waiting for some helpless car to happen upon a parking spot?

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