Provo residents frustrated over what they believe is predatory towing

Posted at 10:00 PM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 00:00:36-04

PROVO, Utah -- It's the reign of the parking lot pirates or at least that's what it feels like for some drivers in Provo. Parking can be hard to come by, especially during the holidays when you're going out to fireworks or a parade but in Provo the city says don't let an open space fool you.

They want drivers to beware of predatory towing.

Jayme Mackay thought a near-empty business lot was a perfect spot for her and her kids to park as they enjoyed the Provo parade, Monday.
“They didn’t open until 10:30 the parade would be done long before then felt like that was fine,” Mackay said.

But when Mackay came back to pick up her car, she said, all the vehicles in the lot were gone.

While looking around the lot, Mackay spotted a sign she says is tucked away. That's when she learned her car had been towed.

“I’m a single mom of two me and my kids walked three miles in the heat to get my car back, to the tune of $200,” Mackay said.

When Mackay got to the impound lot and there she met at least 10 others who had parked in the same area all feeling as if they were victims of predatory towing.

Hundreds of complaints about the metal jaws of predatory towing companies in Provo have flooded into city hall.

“In Provo it’s almost a sport for some of these towing companies to come grab these cars,” said Corey Norman, Deputy Mayor of Provo City.

It's an issue they've been fighting for years.

“You’re profiting from the tow. You get to determine who gets towed we just feel that’s wrong,” Norman said.

But despite their efforts of changing towing ordinances they say their hands are tied and any amendments they make to the city law is ultimately trumped by state law.

“We feel the fees are too high and the companies who are profiting on it should not be the ones to make a determination whether a car is parked illegally,” Norman said.

FOX 13 News reached out to the Provo tow companies but they refused to comment. We also tried to contact the business owners who contract out the towing company but they did not call us back.

“Lining the pockets of tow truck companies who were not very nice to us as tow truck companies will be it just feels completely un-American,” Mackay said.

While the city works to address the towing concerns, they want those parking in Provo to watch out for signs and be careful where you park.