Predatory towing pervades Broadway

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Drivers, beware: towing companies are aggressively removing vehicles at parking lots along Broadway.

At least one mall, the recently opened Riverdale Crossing at Broadway and West 238th Street, even appears to have employees charged with spotting cars violating the rules. They call up tow companies, who then remove the vehicles within minutes.

Drivers and critics say that approach — illegal elsewhere in the country — takes things too far.

On the afternoon of June 4, Shaneequa Armstrong parked at Riverdale Crossing to place an order at Buffalo Wild Wings. She said while waiting for her food, she left her car in the Riverdale Crossing lot, which was about three quarters full, and went to the Rite Aid across the street left. She came back to find her black Hyundai SUV hooked to a truck run by All Boro Towing.

“I’m told 10 to 15 minutes for my order to be ready,” fumed Ms. Armstrong, 38. “I go to Rite Aid, I come back, and they’re towing my freaking car. When I think back, they were standing here, waiting: waiting for me to leave so they can tow my car and then charge me $136.”

“I’m beyond right now,” she said after paying the tow truck to let her car off the hook. “I’m never coming back to this mall again.”

Helga Abel had a similar experience in the Staples parking lot at 5680 Broadway on May 27. After shopping at the supply store, she went across the street to buy groceries at Garden Gourmet. When she came out about 20 minutes later, she saw a truck from J&S Towing readying to take her gray 2012 Toyota Corolla away.

“It’s all about sticking it to the consumer,” Ms. Abel, 86 said as she frowned at a receipt for the $141 she had to pay to prevent her car from being towed.

After that encounter, the tow truck driver moved back into the lot, which was just over half full, and quickly hooked another vehicle.

Drivers helpless

While other states, like Maryland, have laws against the practice of “spotting” — in which workers camp out to call tow companies on errant drivers — there is no legislation in the works to deal with the problem here.

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Comments

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MarkBe

This is why I don't shop in that area. If I am going to get in my car to drive to a store, then I just drive to Westchester and avoid this nonsense.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Report this
noclist

The lots belong to the stores in the strip malls, not the stores across the street. If you don't want your car towed, don't leave it there and shop across the street. Same rules in Riverdale as down on Broadway. Knolls Crescent, Johnson Avenue, even Chase Bank 238th street. It's not public parking. It's parking for the customers of those stores period.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Report this
bronxrunner

i agree with Noclist and disagree with the headline. This is not anywhere near "predatory." All of these malls have big signs that all clearly state the driver will be towed away if they are not using the actual stores they are parking at. What's the problem here? Why should people get pissed off at their own mistake?

Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Report this
arafae

While I see the point that one should not park in these spots, a very crucial piece of information is missing from the article, namely that they tow-trucks DEMAND cash from you and are extremely abusive and threatening.

They also only attempt to tow people's car if they see the owner. For example, commuters leave their cars at the Staples lot (illegally, all day) and these guys do not touch them, as they know they won't be back until later.

Friday, June 19, 2015 | Report this
CelticWoman

I suppose shoppers feel that if they patronized a store in said strip mall or if they're waiting for an order, they can then shop in other stores outside of said strip mall. Either they're playing dumb or they're too dumb to understand that the parking lot is ONLY for the stores w/in that mall.

Friday, June 19, 2015 | Report this
kilgara

All involved are bloodsucking leeches, plain and simple. Get a REAL job!

Friday, June 19, 2015 | Report this
BerniceC

I have seen so many cars over the years towed from the staples mall. Where was the driver? One driver (this was last fall) was across the street and she ran to her car, and pleaded with the towing company not to take her car "How can I pick up my son?" He didn't want to hear it. I am sure someone already wrote this, but they have signs every where in the staples mall, stop & shop, and Riverdale Crossing. They will tow you if you are caught not on their premises. NY will NEVER pass the laws that MD and other states have. Our leadership is TOO GREEDY!

Friday, June 19, 2015 | Report this