State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today called on the State Assembly to pass legislation he sponsored to protect New Yorkers from predatory towing at private parking lots. The State Senate recently passed the legislation.
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation would require private lots to conspicuously post signs stating that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense, and requires commercial tow companies that tow from private lots to accept at least two credit or debit cards, one of which must be a bank or debit card, for the convenience of consumers. In addition, the bill would prohibit private lot owners from accepting "kick backs" or sharing in any proceeds earned by towing companies that tow from their lot.
Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Consumer Protection Committee, said, "When a driver parks their car in a lot that has no obviously visible ‘no parking’ signs, they shouldn’t have to worry about having their vehicle held hostage by a predatory tower who is demanding an exorbitant cash fee. I urge the Assembly to pass this legislation so we can protect New Yorkers from this type of extortion."
Predatory towing has been a problem for many New York State motorists. An example of a predatory towing practice is a tow company luring drivers to forbidden areas by not posting adequate signs; another example is using spotters equipped with binoculars and walkie-talkies to summon tow trucks at a moment’s notice. A number of tow companies accept only cash. Some tow companies are also paying kickbacks to parking lot owners who give them exclusive rights to tow cars from their lots.
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation (S2360-C) would also allow local governments to enact their own regulations to combat predatory towing in addition to this proposed state law. The State Attorney General would also be empowered to stop businesses from performing such practices and seek civil damages under the bill. Senator Fuschillo is sponsoring the legislation along with Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg.
The State of New Jersey recently enacted its own predatory towing law.
Oyster Bay Town Clerk Steve Labriola, who's office regulates tow operators, urged Senator Fuschillo to draft legislation dealing with this statewide issue.
According to Oyster Bay Town Clerk Steve Labriola, "Predatory towing has become big business for a few bad apple tow operators. They have become nothing more than modern-day parking lot pirates, preying upon unsuspecting motorists and demanding exorbitant cash ransoms for their vehicles return. Senator Fuschillo ought to be commended for recognizing the problem and enacting legislation that deals a crushing blow to these predators."
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