Petition to End Predatory Non-Consensual Towing in Baton Rouge
In the State of Louisiana, in the Parish of East Baton Rouge, and with regards to non-consensual towing operations, we adamantly argue for all relevant regulatory bodies: (1) To eliminate towing gate fees, (2) to eliminate "after-hours" fees assessed upon vehicle recovery at night, (3) to eliminate administrative fees assessed for recovering a vehicle, (4) to restrict non-consensual towing in private residences definable as apartments, condominiums, town homes (and the like) to phoned-in complaints, essentially withdrawing the right of predatory towing operators to prowl residential parking lots and tow upon discretion and without cause of action, (5) to change the storage fee for vehicles from $18/day flat rate to a pro-rata (pro-rated) time-basis ($18/24 hours x # of hours actually in storage), (6) to eliminate the fuel surcharge based on fuel prices and as a percentage of the flat-rate towing fee, changing it to reflect the actual fuel cost based on the mileage the tow truck operator actually drove to tow and store a vehicle, and (7) to perform state-led annual financial and legal audits on all towing operators engaged in non-consensual towing so as to hold them to the same standards of the actual government law enforcement agencies they so freely mimic. The purpose of towing on private property is to mitigate parking shortages. When no real parking shortages exist, and a towing operator is authorized to unscrupulously prowl parking lots at vague unsuspecting times and tow "unauthorized" vehicles even when a lot is only partially full, it creates a situation for the operator to take advantage of the law. In addition to the currently allowed rate of $102 in Louisiana for non-consensual private property tows, some towing companies levy a host of additional unregulated (or poorly regulated) fees that are subject to change at the operator's discretion. These fees can often amount to more than the actual maximum allowable towing fee of $102. The $102 flat rate towing fee published on towing warning signs is more than enough to account for time, labor, fuel, administration, storage, and a reasonable "fine" related to the non-consensual towing of a vehicle. After all, isn't that what the $102 was designed to cover? At the most fundamental level, the cost to a victim of non-consensual towing is a punishment that far outweighs the "crime" when considering a police parking ticket in downtown Baton Rouge is $10 if paid within a few weeks, and then $60 if not paid by the prescribed due date. Current regulation (or lack thereof) of non-consensual towing in the State of Louisiana fosters an environment ripe for the extortion of innocent and unknowing citizens living in certain regional settings by predatory towing operators.