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Post date: November 10 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement with Local Store to Return Fees Customers Incurred From Illegal Towing

Family Dollar Pays Consumer Tow Bills Totaling Over $4,500 After Employee Placed Tow Requests

Schneiderman: No One Should Bear the Expense of Someone Else’s Mistake

WATERTOWN – Consumers who had vehicles towed from the parking lot at City Center this past spring are getting their tow fees back.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced that Family Dollar agreed to reimburse identified consumers for tow fees and in one instance damage occasioned after a Family Dollar employee called for tows from the lot. Checks are currently being distributed to impacted consumers.

“No one should incur the expense associated with someone else’s mistake, and ignorance of the law is no excuse,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Towing someone else’s vehicle causes an inordinate amount of expense, panic, and inconvenience to the owner, and my office will work to ensure that instances of illegal towing are made right.”

The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that 16 consumers had their vehicles towed from the City Center lot between February and May 2015, and one other vehicle was damaged in an attempted tow from the lot.

Section 399-v of the General Business Law addresses signage required before a vehicle may be towed from a parking lot.  The statute prohibits towing vehicles from a parking facility unless the owner or operator prominently displays a conspicuous notice stating the name, address and telephone number of the operator of the parking facility together with the name, address and telephone number of any individual or entity authorized to tow from or immobilize vehicles within such parking facility.  The notice is also required to state that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the vehicle owner’s expense.  This signage was not in place at the time the vehicles were towed.

This is the second time since 2009 that the Attorney General’s Office has intervened to stop illegal towing from the City Center lot.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General In Charge Deanna Nelson and Assistant Attorney General Alicia Lendon. The investigation was conducted by Attorney General investigator Chad Shelmidine.  The regional offices are led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices Martin J. Mack.