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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Eliminate Predatory Towing

Editorial: Eliminate Predatory Towing

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Town of Carolina Beach needs to take a strong leadership role and tackle the many issues of predatory towing and towing of vehicles that send tourists home to bad mouth the outstanding image our Town’s people and business owners have worked so hard to improve.
This is an issue that continues to pop up. Last time in 2009 and prior to that in 2007.
One issue is people parking in designated spots, getting out, and finding that within seconds their vehicles have either been towed or are hooked up to a wrecker.
We've heard of a Real Estate Agent taking a potential buyer to view a property and when they come out to the parking lot, the buyer’s vehicle has been towed. Correction, the once POTENTIAL buyer’s vehicle has been towed.
People are stranded. In addition to having to pay well over $100 to get a vehicle back, an owner can expect to pay $30 or more for taxi ride into Wilmington some 15 miles away just to get to the wrecker service storage yard.
There is no proof that a vehicle was actually in violation of any parking lot rules. There are no photos. No signed statement from the parking space owner or lessee.
Some wrecker drivers are waiting around the corner hiding out. Waiting for a vehicle to pull into a parking space. Then  it’s a rush to pull up behind a vehicle, lift it, drive off, and then properly secure it. Only one problem, was there time to actually check the vehicle for pets, an infant, how about a valid parking pass that fell into the driver’s seat?
Unfair fines: Regardless of what reasons wrecker services come up with, their fees are astronomical and in reality those fees are actually fines imposed upon a vehicle owner for illegally parking. $100 or more is not a fine that fits the crime. It’s an undue burden upon the violating vehicle owner. If it were a reasonable fine, then the Town of Carolina Beach would charge $100 for a parking ticket rather than $15.
A vehicle owner who has been fined for illegally parking will leave and tell horrific stories to other people about their vacation experience in Carolina Beach. That’s called word of mouth advertising and it’s one of the most powerful forms of advertising.
All of that bad advertising was paid for via a $100 or higher fee to get a vehicle back.