1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. General Business
  4. Article 26: Miscellaneous

Section 399-X Towed motor vehicles

General Business (GBS)

1. Definitions. a. For the purposes of this section, a "commercial tower" shall be defined as any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association that engages in commercial towing, as defined in section one hundred seven-b of the vehicle and traffic law, whether by contract or other agreement.

  b. For the purposes of this section, a "storage lot operator" shall mean any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association that engages, whether by contract or other agreement, in the storage of motor vehicles removed by a commercial tower.

  c. For the purposes of this section, a "towed motor vehicle" shall be defined as any motor vehicle removed by a commercial tower without the prior consent or authorization of such motor vehicle owner.

  2. Requirements. Each and every commercial tower or storage lot operator, which requires the payment by an owner of a towed motor vehicle of all or part of the towing and/or storage charges associated with the towing and/or storage of such owner's motor vehicle as a precondition to the release of such motor vehicle to such owner or his or her authorized representative, and which accepts credit cards or debit cards, as those terms are defined in section five hundred eleven of this chapter as forms of payment in the ordinary course of business, must accept each of these forms of payment for such towing and/or storage charges.

  3. Penalties. (a) Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an application may be made by the attorney general in the name of the people of the state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction to issue an injunction, and upon notice to the defendant of not less than five days, to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such violations; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court or justice that the defendant has, in fact, violated this section, an injunction may be issued by such court or justice, enjoining and restraining any further violation, without requiring proof that any person has, in fact, been injured or damaged thereby. In any such proceeding the court may make allowances to the attorney general as provided in paragraph six of subdivision (a) of section eighty-three hundred three of the civil practice law and rules, and direct restitution. Whenever the court shall determine that a violation of this section has occurred, the court may impose a civil penalty of not less than fifty dollars and not more than one thousand dollars for each such violation. In connection with any such proposed application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil practice law and rules.

  (b) The provisions of this section may be enforced concurrently by the town attorney, city corporation counsel, or other lawful designee of a municipality or local government, and all moneys collected thereunder shall be retained by such municipality or local government.

  4. Applicability. The provisions of this section shall not apply to commercial towers or storage lot operators operating wholly within cities having a population of one million or more.