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After $300 Late Car Payment, Working Mom is at Mercy of Tow Company

A working Norwalk mom who owed just $300 on a car payment woke up the morning after Christmas to find it gone. Over the course of 6 days the car was towed four times between Norwalk, Waterbury and Winsted.

Letter to the editor

Have you ever parked your car and come back to find it was gone… towed… to a dubious part of town.   You have no way to get there, your cell phone’s about to die and they’ll only take cash.  You feel helpless and angry.  And you wonder how they can get away with it.    

Well they can, but at least this type of towing is regulated by the DMV and it affords you some (albeit limited) protection against how much can be charged, where your vehicle can be kept, etc.  

Unfortunately, I have recently learned from experience that there is no such protection for someone whose car has been repossessed for late payment.  

My step-daughter, a working mom who is struggling financially, owed $300 on her car and woke up the morning after Christmas to find it gone.  Over the course of six days (ultimately costing her $600) it was towed four times between Norwalk, Waterbury and Winsted.  

The towing company was extremely unhelpful and made it nearly impossible for her to pick the car up (closing early for the holidays, week-ends, etc.) yet claimed they were legally required to charge her for storage even though they were not open. 

I contacted the DMV and they confirmed that there is a gap in legislation and there is no regulation as to how far they can tow your car, what they can charge, hours of operation or where they store your car or if it is protected.  If it’s damaged, tough luck or go to small claims court.   

I have seen through her circumstances how difficult it is for the poor to ever get ahead, even when working and doing their best to survive. 

I was shocked at how our hands were so tied in this situation and very disappointed that we have virtually no recourse at this time.  I have brought the situation to the attention of State Senator Duff and his office has agreed to send the case to the General Law Committee for review, however without some public interest I am afraid it will not gain traction. 

Sincerely,

Peggy Lynn

East Norwalk

eddie January 29, 2014 at 08:53 AM
I truly hate DMV and the scumbag towing companies they employ! This happens way too frequently to people and it is plain wrong. Also blame the finance company (bet is was Bank of America?) for not working with her. You are so right about the way these towing companies screw people over, they close early, never open on weekends and never answer the phone. They are so corupt and have all these side deals with the DMV and the local police departments, including Wilton.
diane serviss blattner January 30, 2014 at 07:05 AM
How I can I help your situation?
April Williams January 30, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Everyone always blames the tow companies! She should have been directed to her lienholder to work things out and pay them. Lienholders do not pay storage, so once the car is released it is supposed to be picked within 24 hours If customer cant make it in that 24 hours, then they pay storage for every 24 hours they cant make it. I stay available for them once they pay n the release is faxed over, 24/7. However I do have my limitations I will come early and wait a little late but I will not come at 3 am. Shady companies like that tick me off, but people make a big deal about getting repo'd and always want to blame someone else for their shortcomings. I would love to hear the side of the tow company and the side of the lienholder. People have no sympathy, and for real the story sounds way far out!

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