City amends towing charges

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - While changes to a proposal to increase towing fees in the city would raise your fines, they would also safeguard your wallet when you go to get your car back.

The guys at Capital Garage want you to know, they're not bad people.

"We don't patrol any lots, we wait 'till the owner of the lot calls us, tell us what to tow, then we go tow it," said Bill Woodson, Capital Garage.

Under the current code, the most they can charge for that initial tow, is $65, but the city's about to raise it to $125.

"Well, I think it should be more but if we can get $125 I'll go along with it," he said.

That didn't sit well with local drivers at first. So now, city leaders are adding more protections, for them. Such as: a cap on things like administrative and overnight charges and a "drop fee" of just thirty dollars, for those times when the car hasn't been driven away yet.

"Hopefully, if you get out there in time before it's been moved, you can get your car dropped," said Kathy Graziano, Richmond City Council President.

Tow companies that don't comply, shall be guilty of a class one misdemeanor. Private property owners will also have to install signs that indicate, clearly, where it's not okay to park. Council leaders say they're trying to protect drivers - but also respecting private property rights in the event you get towed.

"It's because you parked it on somebody else's property. And so you have to give some rights to those property owners also," said Graziano.

With vehicle and fuel costs on the rise - it sounds like a fair enough deal at Capital Garage, even though the owner is still figuring out why his industry is the one getting all this attention.

"What other business does the city say you can only charge so much? We are the only ones I know of," said Bill.

The city is also doing this to make its maximum fee the same as what the state allows. The ordinance is up for debate on a vote on December 14. Now, this is only for "private" property. The penalties are different, on public property. 

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