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Morning Poll: Aggressive Towing in Arlington

by ARLnow.com December 2, 2010 at 7:00 am 5,381 102 Comments

Between 15,000 and 20,000 cars are towed in Arlington each year, according to a three-part series on towing in the county by TBD’s Rebecca Cooper.

Of those thousands of tows every year, only about 50 result in formal complaints being filed with the police. And of those complaints, the cases where the towing company actually violated a county ordinance is in the single digits, according to an extrapolation of Cooper’s numbers.

When we last wrote about Arlington’s biggest tow company, Advanced Towing, a torrent of hate was unleashed in the comment section. But if such a large percentage of tows are legitimate, then are more stringent regulations necessary?

For the time being, county board chairman Jay Fisette tells TBD that he’s just focusing on reducing “predatory tows” in a number of towing “hot spots.” Is that enough?

  • Runaway Train

    In Shirlington, I witnessed Advanced Towing hook up a vehicle the same time the owner walked up. I heard the owner say “wait that is my vehicle”, the tow truck driver instead of charging a $25.00 unhook fee got in his truck and took off. The vehicle owner running behind the vehicle on S Four Mile Run Dr yelling at the tow truck driver to stop with the driver of the tow truck laughing. The tow truck driver could have stopped and at minimum told the guy where their lot was for him to come pick it up. That to me is predatory.

    • Walter

      There’s a lot of stories but according to the article above few are valid. I am sure being towed is not a fun experience but I think a lot of the “big fish” stories are exaggerations. Some may have truth but I think this is subject matter that gets bad press because it is not liked, not because they are doing anything wrong. Who likes being towed?

    • melglid

      How is this exactly predatory? If the person was in a spot which says he’ll be towed due to non compliance, then he will be towed!

  • Dave

    I think there should at least be a law in place exempting delivery/service vehicles. If a Verizon van is sitting in front of a building, they’re obviously on a call. And for Pete’s sake, don’t tow the poor pizza delivery guy who’s just dropping off some food and will be back in 2 minutes.

    • Isaiah

      I agree to the extent that the pizza delivery car should be distinguished from others. The pizza guy sometimes comes to my place in a regular car with nothing on it, how will they know?

    • rft

      shouldn’t it be up to the property owner to provide such temporary spaces for service providers at that property?

  • JH

    These towing companies are a joke. Something needs to be be done to stop them. I am all for people making a livelihood, but this is beyond awful.

    • LegalBegal

      Stop what? I haven’t seen a single legitimate claim here of wrongdoing other than what appears to be claims of possible towed car owners who are angry they were towed.

      • NPGMBR

        My car has not been towed (unwillingly) in over 10 years and thats because after it happened once I was sure not to let it happen again. I will not park where im not supposed to. Even if im visiting a friend I’ll have that friend get a parking pass and give it to me before I bring my car onto his buildings grounds. It just not worth the trouble!

      • Brandon C

        I was towed erroneously out of my own parking lot. I had just bought a new car and was waiting on my new license plates so my property manager had given me a temporary pass which was hanging on my mirror. The towing company apparently saw the temporary parking pass after they towed me because it was gone when I went to get my car. They undoubtedly picked the lock and swiped it so they couldn’t be accused of wrongdoing.

        So there’s your accusation of impropriety. It’s not that they shouldn’t be able to tow people – it’s that when they screw up, they cover their tracks and it’s so difficult to get your money back after the fact that you just let it go. It’s how they make their money.

  • Nelson

    The reference above says of thousands of cars towed there were only about complaints and only a couple were valid. Why then all the fuss. Sounds like people who have been legitimately towed are just complaining about their experience. I am fully in favor property owner being able to defend their property from parking nuisances.

    • stevis

      Do you believe 100% of the people who had reason to file a complaint actually bothered? Most people don’t have the time and/or energy to fight an entrenched interest that knows how to wage its battles, and so they don’t try. The actual number of hosed citizens is sure to be much higher than the reported number of complaints.

      • SB

        Completely agree that most people don’t bother complaining. I’ve had friends towed from their own complexes for stupid mistakes like parking a little past the line and they just paid it rather than fight. Even if you do make a minor mistake should you have to pay to get your car back when it was in your own lot??

        Also, besides the predatory towing, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned how scary some of the tow truck drivers drive. I have almost been hit as a pedestrian and have seen them go flying out of the lot with cars attached and to go back to get more cars. I know they only make money by towing, but at least they could be a little safer about it.

        • Take it down a notch

          I’m on the committee that handles parking issues for my condo association. The parking rules are made by the condo board, not the towing company. If you think you should be allowed to park over the line, you need to address it with the property managers or whoever makes the parking rules. Just make sure you’re prepared to suck it up when you can’t fit your car into a space because the vehicle in the next space is over the line.

          In my experience, most people who complain about being towed either know they were at fault or just never bothered to learn the parking rules.

          • TakeAChillPill

            Seriously?! Towing people for parking over the line? What a great neighbor you are! Glad I don’t live in your condo building!

  • I have several complaints with Advanced Towing. First, they drive however they want and was literally almost hit by a truck in a crosswalk. I’ve come across several trucks while driving they and speed, swerve lanes, and are reckless. My boyfriend was towed from his OWN parking lot where he lives and has a sticker on his car. They said he was “on the line” and he had to shell out 150 bucks just to get his car back.

  • V Dizzle
  • Skeptical

    I’ve never been towed, but I can count three people — all of an almost obsessively rule-following nature — who have told me stories in the last few years about being towed when they were parked appropriately on commercial property. One of them parked in front of a takeout business, went in to pick up something for lunch, and walked out to find her car rolling away on the back of a tow truck.

    I suspect that a lot of people do not pursue this because, costly as a towing fee is, they weigh the time and grief they’ll have to expend against the mere hope of getting a fair shake.

    As long as the law permits businesses to station a tow truck ready to “swoop” on any car they can argue is rightful prey, we will have this problem. I realize it’s a stretch to ask that business owners assume the responsibility of identifying cars that are a problem and then calling the towing company, but I don’t know how else you can overcome the “possession is 9/10 of the law” mentality.

  • Laura

    Advanced Towing is horrible and I don’t know how the people who work for them sleep at night. They have people camp out in parking lots, waiting for someone to make the slightest mistake, and then they call in the tow truck. To me, that’s predatory. I think more people don’t file complaints just because they don’t know the laws. I was towed and forced to pay cash and later found out that’s against Arlington County law. They’re also required to drop the car if the owner returns, so I hope the person in Shirlington made a complaint!! They are despicable, and it turns my stomach every time they drive by. Something needs to be done to put an end to their criminal acts!!!

  • JamesE

    I only drive to four places: Work, Harris Teeter, Wendy’s, and Best Buy. I am sure if I drove anywhere else within Arlington my car would be destroyed in weeks.

  • JLS

    December 2, 2010 at 10:09 am
    I am with the tow company here. The property owners are enforcing this type of towing NOT the tow company. Yes, finding a legal place to park is a challenge in Arlington but it is done thousands of people a day. I bet some of the people on here complaining benefit from this type of towing when they come home and have a place to park in a lot that is for private parking and towing is enforced by the property owner. For your benefit. I have been towed before, it sucked,and it was expensive. But I was at fault.

    We all live here because we like the city atmosphere, schools and parks. (Not, speed humps ,traffic circles and bike lanes. Oh, and the County Board who NEVER listens to its advisory boards or citizens). Want to make a difference in your community? Stop complaining and be responsible for your actions. If you just can’t……. send us your new address in Front Royal where towing is done on a as needed basis.

    • el fat kid

      are you the driver i see going 40mph through parking lots, the one who likes to bounce cars on the hitch for shits n giggles, or the one who threatened to kill me when i asked for a drop?

    • CJR

      Please explain your justification for predatory towing, allowed by PioPio, for people who mistakenly park there going to Carvel. A family of 5 with 3 kids under 6 in a minivan getting ice cream after a movie goes into Carvel, realizes they parked erroneously within minutes, and when dad goes out to move the car 3 minutes later – the car is gone. Your driver did not just happen to see the car there, he was ready and waiting to tow any vehicles there – and saw the 3 kids get out of the car. He purposely towed a minivan full of kids blankets and car seats at 9 p.m. – I should have sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress – wife there with 3 crying kids without their blankets and no way to get them home until the car is picked up from the towing company – you sir work with real assholes. a 5 minute time period in that case, and others, is expected of any tow driver seeing that situation.

      • Nova

        The mere fact that you were towed so quickly proves your point that it was predatory. Otherwise, how would the Tow Truck Driver know you went to Carvel, and not Pio Pio (besides the obvious fact that Pio Pio’s food sucks and nobody goes there)? For Pio Pio had to call to have you towed, and then have the tow truck show up to tow you would have taken longer than what you described. I know those two restaurants and the parking situation – very easy to get confused.

  • el fat kid

    “Of those thousands of tows every year, only about 50 result in formal complaints being filed with the police. And of those complaints, the cases where the towing company actually violated a county ordinance is in the single digits, according to an extrapolation of Cooper’s numbers.”

    This doesn’t mean that Advanced Towing only violated county ordinance’s a couple times. Only 50 people filed complaints, of which many we’re probably just angry and blowing off steam. Most people who have been screwed by advanced towing, myself included, do not go through the formal process of filing a complaint.

    $150 is ridiculous but spending a couple hours more fighting something that will more than likely lead nowhere is not something most residents are willing to pursue.

    A driver of advanced towing refused to ‘do the drop’ (yes, i had parked in a visitors spot w/ a placard so it was my own fault, albeit for 15 minutes) i called him an asshole for ignoring the law and said i was going to call the cops, he then threatened to kill me. no joke. I ended up calling the arlington police – they did nothing. They didn’t make him drop the car or do anything about the unstable driver threatening to kill people. I paid $125 or whatever it was at the time and picked up my car. I could have filed a valid complaint, lawsuit, etc. but really what’s the point?

    • el fat kid

      * w/ out a placard.

      • el fat kid

        ugg. sorry lots more typos/errors. need more coffee.

    • TGEoA

      You call someone an asshole and you don’t get the results you seek? I’m shocked.

      • el fat kid

        do want a run through of the entire dialogue? calling the driver an asshole was preceded by several rounds of “f’ you’s” on his part and after he had refused several respectful requests to do a drop.

    • melglid

      I find this difficult to swallow. For the law says to drop…and drivers are allowed to keep the 25.00 hook up fee. Why would an officer of the law allow the driver to leave with a car and why wouldn’t the driver take the 25.00, avoid a time consuming hassle, and go directly back to work? Why would a driver choose to drive the distance to the lot, taking time and commission away from the day/night, to collect the same amount of money? This does not make business sense.
      These drivers take all sorts of verbal abuse everyday they attempt to do their jobs. Nobody wants or likes being towed. Also, the towing vehicles are equipped with cameras to protect the driver from abuse, and false claims. The owners of towing businesses are fulfilling their contracts with the owners of the properties. The property owners have a constitutional right to protect their property. If they choose to have a tow truck on their property, for immediate use, it is the owners’ right. Those who are the consumer, visitor or delivery person can and may choose not to enter the property. The disagreement should be with the owner of the property and not with those contracted to do what the owner hired them to do. For those who find it amusing to compare someone who is legally doing their job to those who murder innocent people, you lose credibility in the debate. Arlington is not prepared for all the vehicles, this is not the fault of a towing business but zoning. This tow truck business owner is fulfilling a need to keep those who disregard rules from hurting tennants, owners of businesses, and property owners. Again, where does the fault lay? First, with the individual who does not do due diligence when choosing to park. Second, when choosing not to go to the business owner to complain in person or writing,
      if you are truly innocent in the situation. If innocent, then demand the owner recoup your expenses and time. And third, making a choice not to confront the individual who was hired to do exactly what they do. The police have the video technology and now, so do tow truck drivers.

      For those who may think I know a lot about tow truck drivers, the person we use to do handy man work around our home periodically, is a driver! I get to hear all sorts of situations and stories. I also get to hear how the camera’s prove the driver or lot owner correct. I believe in taking issue with the correct individual, and not assuming the guy who is trying to make a legal living is automatically in the wrong. I’m happy he or she isn’t robbing, raping, or murdering for a dollar. In this economy a job is precious commodity. Please forgive any spelling errors, reading glasses hiding!

  • Jer

    As a property owner, I have the right to determine who can park on my property and where they can park. Unfortunately, I NEED to have your cars towed to keep my tenants happy because YOUR thoughtlessness interferes with their business. I trust Advanced to do their job and don’t want anybody telling me what I can and cannot do on my property. Think of it this way: Would you want the county telling you that you can’t have a car removed if it is blocking access to your home? C’mon people…

    • pizzagirl

      I understand the need to have cars towed in order to ensure that your tenets can park. What about delivery drivers? Can you specify in your contract with Advanced Towing that delivery drivers are not to be towed?

    • Jennifer

      Please let me know what property you own and I will be sure to boycott your establishment. If you feel that it is good business to contract a towing company to have the power to stalk your customers and tow them within 10 minutes of parking, then you are going to be the real loser in this situation. I’m not putting a dollar in the till of any place that is in bed with a towing company. Surely hiding behind the law (which many times is disregarded by said towing company) is not in the spirit of the law. I hope the next time something completely unfounded and unfair happens to you that you only blame yourself and don’t stand up for the next poor slob that is going to get screwed. Clueless, brainless, terrible business.

  • Chris

    If you called me an asshole I wouldn’t go out of my way to help you either…… The point to filing a complaint is to right a wrong. You were clearly wrong. Deal with it….

    • el fat kid

      County law requires them to drop the car if you arrive on scene or at any point while the car is being towed. it is illegal for them to refuse to accept a drop fee. I called him an asshole after his refusal and in response to him acting like one. It would have been a valid complaint. thanks tho!

      • JLS

        The police are way to busy hiding behind telephone poles in an attempt to prop up revenue with speeding tickets than to help you with a towing issue.

      • Chris

        If you called the police and they didn’t act, I don’t think you have much of an argument. I believe the county ordinance say you can ask for a drop before the truck moves. I don’t think that chasing tow trucks is very effective….
        Here is an idea, Park legally.

        • el fat kid

          f’n sahweet bro,

          1) lack of action on the part of the police is rarely grounds to disqualify a complaint. Arlington cops are more familiar than most regarding the legal system and code crap, but this clown wasn’t and honestly didn’t give a shit about anything.

          2) County law does require them to make the drop. they broke the law.

          3) i admit, I should have gotten the stupid guest pass even if i was just there for ten minutes. i’m fine w/ paying the fine for said transgression, but they’re also required to follow code.

          4) i’m not you’re bro, dude.

  • james henry

    honestly aggressive towing in Arlington is a nessesary evil. I have a paid reserved spot at my condo painted on the ground says reserved and a sign in front. still 5 to 8 cars a month are towed from my spot a month after I call advanced to come snatch them out! as for customer parking or permit lots if you don’t have a sticker then you don’t belong there!! that parking is for residents that pay to live and park there. I think some people should be adults and accept some responsibility for actions or mistakes that have had you picking up your car. if your not a customer why should you be able to use a buissnesses lot? you shouldn’t! if I go to visit your neighbor and park in your driveway I bet damn site 95% of people on here whining are going straight to the phone to call Advanced and you should just like other property owners in the area should do and continue to be able to do! park legally or advanced will valet park you for a nice fee.

    • pizzagirl

      What about the poor pizza delivery drivers who get snatched by Arlington’s aggressive towing? My issue with aggressive towing is that people like me who are just trying to deliver a pizza in a timely manner are fair game for getting towed. I understand the need for towing, especially in your situation, but the predatory nature of the towing company’s really crosses the line with delivery drivers.

      • rft

        refuse to deliver to apartment complexes unless they provide you with short term parking or delivery on bicycle

        why does the law need to make special exceptions for the convenience of your business

        • NPGMBR

          Exactly….. Pizzagirl, you really need to stop referring to this as Arlington’s aggressive towing because it’s not. It’s aggressive towing on the part of the towing companies at the request of property owners. However, I agree that your employer should not deliver to buildings that don’t provide short-term parking or at least insist that residents come down to get their orders. You have to put the onus on residents to complain to building managers to make accommodations for deliveries.

      • TGEoA

        I bring this up in every toe thread. If you are going to park illegally, DO IT ON PUBLIC PROPERTY!

        Allied and the other tow companies CANNOT tow people parked on public streets. The county has to do that

  • Rob

    I’ve had horrible experiences with Advanced Towing. While most of the time their towing is justified, trying to get my car back from them has been a nightmare. On several occassions I’ve shown up to retrieve my car, only to see that it’s wedged behind 6 other vehicles and there are no drivers in the area to move the other vehicles. I’ve had to wait 45 min. – 1 hr. while they summoned a truck driver; and when the driver arrives he’s upset with me because I’ve “inconvenienced” him.
    Also, every time I see an Advanced truck rolling through Arlington, they are driving extremely reckless – with or without a car in tow.

    • towtruckdriver

      you must be STUPID……how many times did you get towed?

  • ClarGirl

    I’d be more sympathetic to the tow truck drivers and property owners on here if my car hadn’t been towed last night at 4 am out of a spot for which I pay $100/month. And worse, I will just pay the $115 and not complain because I don’t have time to go up the chain; I need my car ASAP.

    • JO

      Thank you for that clargirl. I remember you from yesterday. You left a bit out of your story though. Security from the building in which you live had your vehcile towed because you did not display a parking permit. It is not umcommon for residents to pass off permits to friends and visitors thinking that their vehcile will be okay. The whole reason there is a permit system where you live is to control parking.

  • james

    The towing company will only do what the owners or managers write on the contracts if the managment says pizza or delivery cars are ok they wont tow them.

  • Brian

    Are they going to regulate what, when, or how much a dentist, doctor, or plumber charges for their services next. Leave towing companies alone. People need to wake up and accept resposiblilty for there actions. If Arlington wants to be in the parking business let them compensate property owners for the private property parking spaces, they can then allow whoever to use them however the County sees fit.

    • towtruckdriver

      Jay Fisette needs to get the county in line first. Running radar on 110 on a 55mph highway and running out in the middle of traffic to stop the offender(cop was hit)
      Sounds like Jay Fisette should get his house in order before fixing others.

      Perfect example is all the illegely parked Arlington County cars parked around the court house EVERYDAY…that seems like a hot spot to me JAY, yet you do nothing about it. You set the best example of a County employee(worthless)

  • NorthAdams

    years ago a friend of mine had her car towed. She went down to JD HWY to pick it up from Franks. They wouldn’t take her credit card, as required. She got irritated yelled, etc. Once she got her car she was on her way home to her place in Arlington and she was pulled over by TWO state troopers on I-395. They had received a call of her exact car and license plate number being a drunk driver. She doesn’t drink. And since she had been in towing-hell for the last 90 minutes NO ONE knew where she was or where she has headed other than the people at Franks.
    Sure, can’t prove it, but pretty obvious.

  • NorthAdams

    The Arlington tow industry is terrible. Arlingtons attmpets to regulate it are even worse. The towing-advisory board is a sham and packed with political hacks who do absolutely nothing for the citizens of Arlington.
    Only solution: don’t park where you should’t. This isn’t Kansas.

  • Blake

    You all are idiots and are just mad because you have been towed. Dont park illegally and you wont get towed. I hope Advanced tows 50,000 idiots next year. Foreigners need to go back to their country if they dont know the law.

    • SB

      I’ve never been towed so that’s not why I’m mad about Advanced Towing. Have you seen the way they drive??? They are a danger to people who choose to walk to destinations because they don’t want to get towed.

      • V Dizzle

        They are the most agressive drivers in Arlington (Advanced), and have put me in danger as a pedestrian on a couple of occasions. I don’t have a problem with towing (never been towed), but I have a big problem with how this company operates.

    • V Dizzle

      You need a hug.

  • jim

    i was at the Chevron now Mobile in front of the DMV on four mile run and saw an Advanced truck sitting there parked a bit oddly …. i soon realized what he was doing …. literally sitting in wait for someone to park illegally behind the gas station and walk to the DMV …. as they parked he started moving towards the vehicle, lowered the towing gear, and had the car out of there within 30 seconds of the person having walked into the dmv …. if that’s not predatory towing then i dont know what is …. yes the car parked illegally, yes it was towed legally, but this isn’t a third world country and that behavior shouldn’t be tolerated

    • Mark L.

      Actually, in developing countries, you can usually just give them a small tip and they’ll look the other way. Got booted in Tunis and paid $5 to get it taken off. It was something of a shakedown but certainly a lot easier than dealing with a ticket or understanding their parking laws.

    • rft

      you know what else is predatory? When a security guard patrols a building waiting to call the police just because someone is committing a crime for a few minutes

      these people are trespassing by parking on someone else’s property. Why does it matter if it is 30 seconds or 30 minutes?

      • Mark L.

        Good comparison, possible parking infraction and an actual felony. I bet you’re one of those people who calls the police if the neighbors are loud rather than go and ask them politely to turn it down.

  • Mark L.

    They have tow trucks waiting in hiding for people who park at the adjacent strip mall if the DMV lot is full. Went to drop a friend off at the DMV, was going to wait for him, DMV lot was full, parked at the strip mall, walked around the complex looking for a way to kill time. Came back and my car was in the process of being towed — driver said I was “patronizing the DMV” and didn’t unhook it even though he saw me coming from one of the stores. Had to cab it back to their lot and pay $200. It has nothing to do with parking enforcement, just a way to make a quick buck and bully people.

    • JO

      Mark, owner of the tow company here. Produce the receipt for the overcharge and I will double your money. You know why I would offer that? It does not exist. There has never been an overcharge by our company.

      • Mark L.

        Never said there was an overcharge, I assumed $200 was the standard rate.

  • Jaime

    I’ve been towed a couple of times and both times it was my fault. It was as unpleasant of an experience as you can imagine. BUT, I have to say the Towing Company (Advanced Towing) did nothing wrong and they were doing their job. I’ve heard people say the towing companies are predatory in nature but what I’ve noticed is the towing companies are checking spaces and lots for cars that are illegally parked. Pretty much doing their job as hired by the businesses that leverage their service. I wish I did not get towed but nothing appeared to be out of line in my experience.

  • AS

    Stop complaining. Maybe you should park where your supposed to and you won’t get towed. Common sense. Idiots.

    • V Dizzle

      I agree, we’re all dummies. Take that!

  • bennynojets

    I have been towed by Advanced Towing while legally parked in my apartment complex. When I went to retrieve my car, I asked for explanation. First they said I didn’t have a pass displayed properly. I told them to take a look at my car because that was not the case. Then they told me that my pass was out of date. I told them to check it against what they have on file for my apartment building. Then they told me because my tire was low on air that my car was deemed non-functioning and hence was towed. At this point I was furious but paid the $115 and left because my time is too valuable to waste with the people running Advanced Towing.

    Note to the self-righteous people on this thread, stop assuming that only those parked illegally can be towed by these predatory companies. You won’t be lauging when it happens to you.

  • Janel

    When I lived in Clarendon (2003-2009), I walked by the Wachovia bank lot at Washington and Wilson/Clarendon as well as the Mario’s/Pio Pio’s lots nightly. By law, the tow trucks are supposed to call in the car to the police before they tow it. Advanced Towing doesn’t wait to make that call. The tow it off the lot and then call. In the summer, when it’s warm enough to roll down the car windows, I have heard Advanced tow truck drivers calling the car in while they are driving down Wilson Blvd – clearly NOT BEFORE they towed it.

    • Anne

      Tow companies are supposed to call the police to let them know the location of the vehicle, so that when someone panicks and reports it stolen the police can tell them where it is. People should just park legally. As previously mentioned, thousands of Arlingtonians manage every day just fine.

  • Tina

    I’m all for the property owners protecting their businesses. Sounds like people are angry because they got caught parking where they were not supposed to and had to pay a fee to the Advanced towing company. You see the tow zone signs everywhere so its not like you didn’t know. That’s hardly predatory.

  • Necessary Evil

    As a Property Manger in Arlington, towing is a necessary evil. Residents pay monthly for their parking spaces and expect them to be available. There are many procedures put in place to avoid vehicles being towed such as parking permits, guest passes and signs. However, some individuals still choose to illegal park. No one enjoys the inconvenience or cost involved with having their vehicle towed.

  • Common Sense

    Anyone that has left a negative comment against towing or has voted Yes to this poll obviously lacks respect for authority and or has a serious problem accepting responsibility for their actions. Predatory or not it is your fault you got towed. whether you parked for 1 second or whatever the case may be IT-IS-YOUR-FAULT! Cars get towed for a reason! DUH!!You steal a piece of candy your going to jail…you park wrong you get towed! Stop crying and leave these guys alone! If we spent more time/effort paying attention to the real issues in this country maybe it would be a better place! We the people should be concentrating on keeping our rights NOT diminishing them.

    • Arlington, Northside

      You know it is also Common Sense to not tow a car when the tow truck driver just saw the car driver leave their blinkers on and park legally but with out the building permit to drop off a tray of food for an invalid, but I have seen it happen. It is not Common Sence to allow tow trucks to troll dark parking lots with their lights off in order to pick up a car without a permit seen in order to get the $200+ tow fee.

  • Advanced makes my neighborhood UNSAFE

    I live within a few blocks of Advanced’s tow lot in the Ballston area and I routinely see their tow trucks SPEEDING with their LIGHTS OFF down my block and the nearby streets. I don’t have a problem with their right to do business but they have absolutely no right to drive unsafely as a regular business practice. I am going to call the police to report them next time. Advanced – If you make it harder for your drivers to drive unsafely, you’ll have fewer people so angry at you, so can you do us a favor and paint an ID number in large, glow-in-the-dark letters on all of your trucks so we can identify who your bad drivers are? One of your drivers is going to kill somebody if you don’t put an end to their unsafe driving and the resulting lawsuit will put you out of business because there will be no shortage of residents who will be happy to testify that this is common practice and accepted by the company (i.e., not only is the driver at fault but so are you).

    • el fat kid

      completely agree.

  • John

    People in this town need to wake up and read signs. Arlington is full of parking rules and zoned parking. The thing with that is EVERYTHING IS MARKED, even at apartments and condos. If you get you car towed, it is because you did not take the time to read a sign. I have had my car towed 3 times this year and every one was my fault. Now I look for signs. Simple.

    • Asher

      I wait for the time when you naysayers get your cars towed illegally. Your time will come to experience Advanced Towing. I am all for parkers obeying signs and parking legally, but in my experience that was not the case. Wake up, we aren’t complaining for our health.

    • Sean

      OK, Ms Mollie…

    • Casey

      OK Mr Molly…this doesnt sound pretentious at all!! Perhaps you should not have recruited all of your Facebook friends to vote and to post biased comments!!

  • Carmen

    If people are too busy or think it is too much trouble to file complaints when they were towed unfairly they should not complain about it later. People who park illegally for 10 seconds, 30 minutes or 2 hours also should not be upset when towed. I accidentally got my friend’s car towed, so I just paid for it and went on with my life. It won’t happen again because it is just not worth it. I also had someone towed who was parked in the zip car spot I was trying to return a zip car to. Since the tow truck took an hour to get there, (an hour of my life I will not get back) I am not very sympathetic to people who get towed due to illegal parking.

  • Michelle

    Are any of these formal complaints filed by someone who didn`t get towed? Absolutely not. Not one person is happy about getting towed. But for the county to step in and try to make it harder for me as a property owner, to have an unouthorized vehicle removed from MY property is ridiculous. It`s MY property. I bet if i parked a car in one of the board members front yard they would not hesitate to have me removed. Quickly. Bottom line is, we need parking enforcement to keep the residents that DO follow the rules happy.

  • Towers not above the law

    I think some of you are missing the point/ not reading all the comments before you respond. Yes, property owners have the right to protect their property, and no, people shouldn’t think it’s ok to park illegally. However, the tow truck drivers at Advanced aren’t just towing people who are parked illegally. Towing someone from a spot they pay for for no reason… and ruining their parking pass?! (multiple commenters have claimed this) If that’s not predatory and illegal, I don’t know what is.

    I have also seen them driving like bats out of hell w/ reckless abandonment. I’m not trying to say Arlington County should mandate whether property owners can have cats towed. I’m just saying Advanced should have to follow the same laws everyone else does, i.e. speed limits, etc. They should also be held to the towing laws. If someone comes before they take the car, they should drop it for $25. If someone wants to pay Advanced w/ a credit card, they should accept it. Those are laws set by Arlington County that should be enforced.

  • Asher

    I cannot stand the people who work for Advanced or the company in general.

    They prey on innocent people and mistreat their cars. My mom had her car towed on Easter (gee I thought holidays in Arlington were exempt) because my condo office put the wrong date on the dash slip. We panicked for hours over our Easter dinner wondering if her car had been stolen. When we went to pick it up, they had mangled her console trying to get it into gear.

    My other experience of memory with them involved me dropping off a co-worker who’s car was towed even tho she had a notice on her dash. I drove into their parking lot and they closed the gate and wouldn’t let me out. There was no sign that said not to drive into their lot. After unleashing a tirade of hate and screaming at them they waited 15 minutes to unlock the gate and let me out.

    Another incident was just the other day as I drove up Wilson Blvd behind one of their trucks. AS he was driving, he raised the towing mechanism, was swerving all over the road – he was either drunk or talking to someone on his phone. He was driving fast, slow, into the other lane, back into his lane and then turned w/o a signal swinging wide into the lane beside him. I swear he was drunk.

    I heard a quote one time that seems to apply – the levels go – Al Quaida, child molesters, then tow truck drivers . . .

    • The Pope of South Arlington

      “I heard a quote one time that seems to apply – the levels go – Al Quaida, child molesters, then tow truck drivers . . .”

      ~ meter maid, Child Molester, lawyer, pawnshop Shylock, tow truck filth, politician

  • #1 predator

    Im gonna be as predatory as i wanna be, don’t hate the player hate the GAME!

    • el fat kid

      can’t wait until someone figures out how to pull your business/operating license…perhaps a nice lawsuit will jack your insurance through the roof to the point you can’t operate here anymore.

      I would not be the least bit surprised to see you guys get pushed out tho in the next few years. legal towing, fine. watch and wait towing, fine. speeding through parking lots at 40mph, bouncing cars and generally acting like assholes will catch up to you one day. just hope it’s not some kid or elderly person getting killed by one of you reckless dickheads that ends up sealing your fate.

      • JO

        This is the owner of the towing company. If you have a specific incident that you can point me to and I can investigate, I will. If I find any wrong doing I will terminate the employees job. I have scene you on here quite a bit and you seem to have an axe to grind. I applaud you in your effort. But seriously, if you can provide me with specific information as others do from time to time, I investigate the complaint fully. My drivers need their jobs, many are fathers and regardless of public opinion act very professional considering “nobody likes the tow guy.” Towing vehicles is not personal, they are simply trying to solve a parking problem. The problem with all this is that these instances are usually parking related, not towing related. The story from TBD about the DMV the reporter fails to mention they built the largest DMV in NOVA that estimates 800-900 customers a day. I bet you did not know that there are 123 parking spaces to accomodate them. Parking problem, not towing problem.

        • Mark L.

          How about you don’t tow people who are actually customers of the convenience store adjacent to the DMV?

          • JO

            Thanks Mark. We have never towed anyone who is a customer of the convenience store. They consider you a customer while you are on their premises. If you leave and leave your vehicle behind, you are subject to towing. Some have claimed to be customers but the video feed from both the store and DMV have put that to rest in our favor. If you have a specific example, please let me know.

        • SB

          You should probably consider a driving safety class for your employees. A number of people on here, including myself, have seen your employees drive recklessly. Specifically I was walking by the construction near the Mercedes dealership at dark and a tow came flying out of no where, did not stop at the stop sign and was for sure speeding in an area where pedestrians are forced into the road. I agree people should be towed for illegally parking and the predatory thing is a little borderline, but safety could be the best way to fix your image.

          • Mark L.

            I’d like to hear the definition of “customer” because I was physically on the premises when my car was towed. Furthermore, the driver did not give me an opportunity to have my car taken down despite my offer to pay on the spot. No shame in admitting that you’re a parasite.

        • Mary

          Man, you have no standards in your personal life nor your professional life. Are we to believe that if you cant conduct yourself properly personally, you can professionally? I have seen your drivers hiding behind dumpsters at the DMV and hooking up cars after cars for an area that does not have adequate signage. I have seen them hiding behind a wall at the Exxon on Columbia Pike and Glebe waiting, watching the parking lot across the street. If that is not predatory towing, I dont know what is. And really, bragging about all of the cars towed from a Mosque…where is your integrity?

        • Rover

          JO, if you spent as much time with your staff as you did on this board then maybe they wouldn’t be speeding around the county risking property and life.

          As for towing, I see both sides. Yet, I do fear that a pedestrian will get run over by a driver or a driver will get whacked for being an ass.

          You can successfully police a parking problem by towing properly and safely. You sir, don’t seem to be doing that.

  • John

    I’m all for property owners protecting their property and the ability of their patrons to park in the expensive real estate reserved for them. But, too often I have witnessed — and it appears many others have had the same experience — tow truck drivers stalking wary violators. Given that nobody treats others the way that they themselves want to be treated, let’s use my “mother” standard … if the tow truck drivers would not proudly describe to their mothers how the screwed any given person, maybe they should be a bit more flexible. For example, maybe they let the car owners run three or four blocks chasing the tow truck before releasing it for the $25.

    Alternatively, just amend the law to provide for a greater release fee. While $150 is a lot of money, the inconvenience of tracking down the storage lot in some remote part of South Arlington and retrieving one’s car js the greater cost. Or better yet, require property owners to simply boot violators, charge the $150 to unboot the car, and get the tow truck rapists out of the business. At least with a booted car, there is opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of the violation.

    • Bugg

      Speaking as an owner of two small apartment buildings, the problem with booting a car is that it doesn’t solve the problem, which is that someone is taking up a space that rightfully is for use of my tenants. I was towed years ago by Frank’s, so I’ve tried to NOT have to resort to towing. Nothing else works though. I tried having my maintenance guy put notes, then stickers on non-tenants cars. The drivers just balled up the notes and threw them on the ground. Meanwhile, I had pissed-off tenants complaining that they didn’t have anywhere to park! Really, there are NO good choices, but unless you want to rent a space from me or a tenant (and defray the obscene property taxes I pay), I have to have trespassers towed to keep spaces open for those who pay for them.

  • You’ll are simply upset just read the signs and you won’t get TOWED

    • Karen

      It is not about reading the signs. I live in a comlex that uses Advanced and all of the front desk clerks have said that they are criminals and have been known to remove parking permits.Many, Many tenants have had to be reimbursed through the owner of the complex for their illegal tows while Advanced is making a profit. Granted the owner has not done its due diligence in contracting this tow company. Jack, I am sure that you are a friend of Oneill’s or perhaps you are Oneill.

  • Peter

    Oneill, how many people did you put up to posting on your behalf? Certainly not ole’ girl since she can barely read n’ write. LOL

  • Elliott L. Burka

    As an apartment owner, we need towing to make sure that our tenants have the necessary parking spaces provided for them. We make no commissions on towing.
    We also have commercial properties that when illegal parking is evident it takes away parking for potential customer who may go elsewhere because their is no parking space available.

    Requiring additional signatures to tow will only create a delay in having parking spaces made available and pose hardship on property owners.

  • Jeep Jeep

    Just got towed by Advanced from a spot that had painted, very lightly, No P.
    I didn’t Pee. I just parked to go to the CVS for less than 20 min. I think that’s criminal. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of my car before it got towed, so it will be hard to prove. That’s why I may not be able to file a formal complaint. But it sure pissed me off!

    • Confused

      So you parked illegally because you didn’t know that P in the context of motor vehicles was about parking and not urinating? And the problem was the tow-truck?

      Lol. Wat?

  • H Flockenheimer

    If you live in an apartment complex that employs a predatory tow company make sure you take a picture of your car and the displayed permit every time you park. You will have proof if the towjacker removes the permit which many drivers do to earn a buck. Many predatory towing companies employ ‘spotters’ in parking lots, usually ex cons and meth heads incapable of honest work. If you see a spotter simply call the police and tell them there is a shady looking character using drugs, smoking pot, or raking pictures of kids and fondling themselves. Works wonders! Don’t get mad, get even!


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