CHARLOTTE — Several people told Channel 9 that a Charlotte tow company chained their car to a car parked next to it, then charged different amounts to unlock them.
The drivers told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that they went to a concert at PNC Music Pavilion and parked in the movie theater parking lot across the street from the venue. They couldn’t believe what happened when they returned to their cars.
Courtney Moorer said she parked at the movie theater when she attended the sold out Morgan Wallen concert in June.
She said when she got back to her car after the show, she found her SUV chained to the truck parked next to it.
“We were like, ‘This is a prank. Like, somebody’s pranking us, right?’” she said.
Fortunately, the truck belonged to her sister.
Alex Campbell said he went to the same concert. He told Stoogenke his vehicle wasn’t chained to another one because there wasn’t one parked next to his, but he did notice that some cars were chained together. “If there was a line of them, (the tow truck company) just ran a chain through every person’s car,” he said.
Both drivers said the towing company charged drivers different prices to release their rides.
Moorer said the man originally told her and her sister it would cost them each $200, but he eventually settled on $300 for both cars. “It just doesn’t feel right,” Moorer said. “I’m upset. My family works hard. My sister’s family works hard. Just to give somebody $300? For what?”
Campbell said he paid the man $100, but when he first asked how much it would cost, the man told him $250-$300.
There are multiple signs posted in the movie theater parking lot warning drivers about towing. But drivers said police who were directing traffic didn’t stop them, so they thought it was OK.
“(They) just told us, ‘Park over here in the parking lot,’” Campbell said.
Stoogenke checked Charlotte’s towing ordinance and spoke with several people with the city and police, and no one could find anything that stated the towing company could not chain vehicles together or charge different prices.
Stoogenke is asking Charlotte city leaders if they think it’s time to revisit the ordinance and consider stricter rules.
He also spoke at length with the towing business, PCR Recovery. A man who said he ran the business would not go on camera, but he told Stoogenke that sometimes his crews use cables because they’re stronger and cheaper than traditional boots.
The manager said his employees are supposed to chain the wheel to the body to immobilize it but not to other cars, and that if they did that, it was wrong.
He also said they do charge people different prices, usually $200-$230, based on the size of the vehicle.
The manager said some concerts get rowdy, like the one Moorer and Campbell said they went to, and that he told his crews to get what money they could, take the cables off and get out of there.
Here are some important towing rules to know:
- There must be signs posted on the property warning you about towing.
- The signs must be easy to read.
- The tow company has to accept cash and two major credit cards.
- The company must have someone on call who can release your vehicle within 45 minutes.
- You are entitled to retrieve your personal property from the vehicle.
Click here to read the full towing ordinance for Charlotte.
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