Photo Credits: H.K. and Chloe N. on Yelp
By Liz Alper
February 23, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - A great day of shopping with my mother turned into a nightmare.
My mother brought me back to my apartment after our day together on Friday and parked in a fuel-efficient vehicle space. She has always parked there with no issue. She came into my apartment and within 45 minutes, the car was gone. We called the police and they informed us that the car had been towed. As if the fact that we weren't informed that the car was towed--making us believe it was stolen--was bad enough, thepolice had to tell us where the car was.
In comes Western Towing Company. We called them and were informed that we would be notified when my mother could go pick up her vehicle. This was at 9:45 p.m. on a Friday night. My father had to drive down from Ramona (30 minutes).
Around 10:30 p.m., we called Western again and were informed that the whole ordeal would cost my parents $352.00 and that there was only one Western representative who travels around San Diego County to relinquish people's vehicles. Not to mention that we were not told what lot it would be at, only that it "could be" at La Mesa. At 11:30 p.m., the call finally came. My parents did not get home until 12:30.
I decided that this can't be right. I decided to do a little research. After going on Yelp, I was shocked at some of the reviews people were leaving. "Western Towing (aka Sunbelt) removed my vehicle from a San Diego lot without posted signs at the entry or at parking spaces. They also damaged my vehicle in the process," writes Yelp user H.K.
That's not all; these spaces where there are no signs or placards saying that your vehicle will be towed have "Tow Away" signs magically appear three days later. California Vehicle Code 22658 states that a parking lot must have signs posted at every entrance if a tow company is going to remove a vehicle. Dents, scratched paint and damaged car parts have been found. Long lines. Expensive charges. Unauthorized towing. The list goes on and on.
"Western towing towed my car from my place of residence because a neighbor said I was parked in their spot. We don't have assigned parking. This was totally illegal! They were rude on the phone and even worse when I went to pick up my car," writes Sasha R.
To make matters worse, Western is not Better Business Bureau-certified. Take that with a grain of salt. It looks like they're thieves, too, according to one Yelp user who says they stole cash from her glove compartment.
If I could post a few choice words from my mother's rant on Friday night, I would, but I'll just say this: Western Towing needs to be held accountable for their actions. People shouldn't be being charged $352.00 for a measly tow job.
The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .