Man claims company illegally towed vehicle, deleted photo evidence

Man claims company illegally towed vehicle, deleted photo evidence

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A  man is fighting back after he says his car was wrongfully towed in Richmond.

Kevin Sandersen says even though he was parked on public property, he was towed for being on private property. He also says the tow company deleted photo evidence that could have proven his case.

Back in March, Sandersen parked his Ford Focus along 6th Street, across the street from the apartments where his girlfriend lives. There are city "no parking" signs there now, but that was not the case a couple of months ago when Sandersen parked there.

A Google Maps image was taken before the sign went up -  you can see cars parked in that very spot.

"I parked there for over six months, never had any problems, no issues with parking," said Kevin Sandersen.

Sandersen went on a business trip for a week, and when he came back, his car was gone. He learned that it had been towed by Simms Towing for being parked on the private property of the business nearby.

Sandersen says he was not in the lot or blocking it. He immediately called the tow company.

"When I called to get my car back, the worker told me he didn't have to give me photo proof. I just wanted to see photo proof of my car to see exactly where I parked, to see if I actually was on their property," Sandersen said.

He says he parked half in the grass and half on the road, and according to property lines, that would be public property.

Sandersen had to pay $385 to get his car out of tow. When he looked at the receipt, he saw a box asking whether a picture had been taken of the car at the time of tow. There was a "Y" in it for yes.

"So I called back a few days later, wanting to see that photo, and the guy at Simms said they didn't have the photo anymore," Sandersen said.

Sandersen called 12 On Your Side and we reached out to company owner Jamal Simms, who told me that the company is not obligated to save pictures of a customer's car after it has been returned, only the receipts, which the company did keep.

But consumer attorney John Gayle disagrees. He points to state law that says all towing records are to be kept for a year.

"In my opinion, when the statute says that the towing company shall keep all records of the towing, those records would include any pictures they took of the car that was towed," said Gayle.

At this point, the picture is gone and Sandersen is left disgruntled.

"The fact that I can't get that photo which is clearly a record, that's what's frustrating me," Sandersen said.

Gayle says a consumer in Sandersen's position has the option of contacting the Attorney General's Office.

"And the Attorney General's Office may decide to take the case and bring civil action in a circuit court against the towing company for violating this statute," Gayle said.

An option Sandersen says he is definitely considering.

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