Reader Mail: South Beach Tow Companies Are the Biggest Scam on Earth
Boycott J.Lo: After reading about the latest South Beach towing scam — the badly marked private meter in what appears to be a city lot ("Low Tows," Francisco Alvarado, April 11) — I think we should all boycott Jennifer Lopez for glamorizing these jerks with her TV show South Beach Tow. I'm not saying I would do it, and I am not advocating anyone breaking the law, but it's worth noting that even tow trucks don't work so well with slashed tires and/or a little kerosene in the gas tank.
P.S. Not only did they tow my car from that lot, but also a handicap placard was hanging from my rearview mirror. Because I hadn't parked in a true handicap space, I had no recourse. I believe there's a similar lot on 65th Street between Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive. These guys are scum! housebucks
Shady business: I once saw a tow company employee take down three barricades in front of a parking lot on Fifth Street just so cars could enter and then he could tow them. Then his company gets to bank $145 for each car. Just another day in South Beach. sobebaby
Beach's biggest scam: There's a similar parking lot right next to Burgers and Beers on Bay Road. We live in Miami Beach, so we have the "i-Park," which is an In-Vehicle parking meter. Basically, it's a small machine that you put on your dashboard that works as a meter. Anyway, we put that on the dashboard just like we do for any other metered lots on the Beach and went to eat. Less than an hour later, they had towed my boyfriend's car — right across the street, to their tow lot! He had to pay $210 for a block of towing and less than an hour of the car being there. They told us the same thing — that our meter was useless because it was a private lot, not the city's lot, even though the meter looks exactly the same. And of course our i-Park was running the whole time. This is one of the biggest scams on the Beach, and I'm glad it's coming to light. Scam
No one cared: I was towed a few years ago from the same lot. Everyone I told about it said it must have been my own fault as I tried to explain about the meters. I wrote letters to city hall, the chief of police, the county commission, and the Lincoln Theatre (where I had attended a concert when my car was towed) and I never received a response from one person about those thieves. Now, finally, after three years, they are being exposed for the crooks they are! I have not been back to Lincoln Road since then, and I will not go there to give them another shot at me. Dori Barouch Martin
Pay attention: Parking on SoBe sucks. We all know this. But this situation seems to fall in the gray area for me. What do the lot owners stand to gain by this? I find it hard to believe they're getting a kickback on the tows from their lot. I'm also tired of people who are in a hurry and don't take the time to read posted signs. Sometimes you pay the tax for being in a hurry. Learn a lesson. Pull your face out of your iPad or iPhone or your iAss and pay attention to the world around you. Tony Miller
Public abuse: Back when the city commission voted 4-3 to allow a towing rate increase, I was the only resident who attended several public meetings to oppose the tow fee and the tow policies. I see a number of problems we need to solve. The fees and rules are completely different for private-property tows versus public-property tows, and for towing the vehicles of Beach residents versus non-Beach residents. But the city's Towing Bill of Rights does not specify this. This secret allows tow companies to cheat residents. Also, city staff negotiated the towing contract, so the tow company's practice of releasing cars at no charge to city employees (AKA "professional courtesy") must end. The numbers show there are 14,000 annual public tows and probably another 14,000 private tows, each for $240. Do the math to see what these companies make. MonicaA1
Call IA: The fact that a Miami Beach employee tried to help the FBI go after his corrupt boss but was harassed for it ("Wiretap Wrath," Michael E. Miller, April 11) is another black eye for the city. How did a secret FBI investigation leak to the police commander who retaliated against him? I thought the commander was put in city hall to supervise and tighten things up in the code department. He should have praised the employee for his cooperation with law enforcement. This is a matter for internal affairs to investigate. k3pgx
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