CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) – Town leaders in Carolina Beach plan to take a look at the issue of "predatory towing." It happens when your car is towed without your consent.
They were expected to discuss potential changes to town ordinances at a meeting Tuesday night. However, due to lengthy discussions on several topics (including a proposed concert series), town leaders postponed the discussion until next week, when they will complete the rest of the agenda from this meeting.
Mayor Bob Lewis said predatory towing continues to be an issue even though the town put in new regulations a few years ago.
"It's a very bad experience for a new visitor to our town," said Carolina Beach Mayor Bob Lewis.
He's proposing two changes for operations in the beach town. One is for companies to accept credit cards. You can pay $50 on the spot to get your car back if you arrive while it's being hooked up, according to Lewis.
When it comes time to pay in full, the mayor said companies should be willing to accept any form of payment.
The second change would make all tow operations complaint-based. Lewis said too many visitors to Carolina Beach are losing their cars for small problems like forgetting to hang their parking lanyards.
"It's a very, very bad experience from the beginning," he said.
Lewis said he believes that HOAs have good intentions, but the associations and tow companies take it too far.
The companies have to report to the police department where your car was taken. We checked with the police department and last year, 310 cars were towed from Carolina Beach.
WECT recently aired an investigative report on the towing practices in our region. Often times a car is towed as the result of an apartment complex, business or homeowners' association hiring a company to check the property and enforce parking rules.
It's important to note that some, not all, tow companies engage in this practice.
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