Don’t Tow Me Away

I think your readers might be interested in a ticketing and towing scam that has been operating in Santa Barbara for years.

Instead of issuing me a parking ticket, the police on 9/25/09 abruptly towed my vehicle parked next to the S.B. Zoo for violating the 72-hour parking rule.

The cost:

$75 parking ticket

$160 S.B. City processing fee

$333 towing fee

$176 storage fee


$744 total

There appear to be no laws regulating what towing companies can charge, or what fees they can collect. They are all conveniently closed on weekends, so either you pay the extra $44/day they charge for storage, or a $96 “weekend access” fee on top of the daily storage fees.

Ironically, I called less than 24 hours after it was towed, and the towing company said I would have to pay two days storage plus the $96 “weekend access fee,” so it was less expensive to wait to pick it up Monday morning!

So essentially, a person can be caught driving recklessly in an elementary school zone and pay a smaller traffic fine than I just incurred for failing to move my van two inches in 72 hours. Honestly, what could warrant a fine of $744 for a parking violation? And what is the $160 city processing fee for? What had to be processed? This is outrageous, a total scam, and an example of how the “system” is unjust and needs to be changed! - John Gaffney

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