State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. today announced that legislation he sponsored that would protect New York drivers from predatory towing at private parking lots was approved by the State Senate.
The measure 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 credit 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 (R-Merrick), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, said, "I have heard the horror stories over and over again of New York drivers returning to their cars in parking lots only to find them gone, even though they had no idea that they weren’t supposed to park there because there were no obviously visible signs. When they go in search of their cars, they are often charged exorbitant fees that must be paid in cash. These predatory practices must be stopped in New York State."
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 parking 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 also 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 (S. 2360-B) would also allow local governments to enactment 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.
The legislation now goes to the Assembly where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg.
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