Miami Beach's two towing
companies will attempt to hornswaggle the City Commission this afternoon into
granting them a rate hike. If commissioners and Mayor Matti
Bower cave in, Beach Towing and Tremont
Towing will charge people an additional $64 to get their cars back. Obviously, Miami Beach residents are pissed off.
Representatives for both firms have tried to defend the oft questionable tactics Beach and Tremont use to
profit from the misfortune of Beach parkers.
Beach Towing's attorney, Rafael Andrande, complained to the Miami Herald story, that towing horror
stories in the city are greatly exaggerated: "The towing industry
has been vilified."
Excuse us, while we boo-hoo into a
handkerchief. Since Andrande lives in an alternate realm where
Beach Towing VIP decals keep your car from getting hitched, we'd
like to point out a few verified incidents that illustrate how much his client
and their competitor, Tremont, suck:
3. Stuff inside your car suddenly goes missing while it's impounded.
In 2008, Miami Beach resident Dan Sostheim, had his Hummer H2 towed by Tremont because his parking permit had expired by one day. When he tried to recover his SUV, Sostheim found that his registration wasn't in the glove compartment where he had left it. In the first six months of that year, MBPD received eight complaints over stolen items at Tremont's lot. Two years ago, NBC Miami aired footage of company employees breaking into people's cars and rifling through their belongings. Tremont's owners claim employees did nothing wrong and only searched cars for registrations.
2. They are a ruthless price-gouging automobile hunting soldiers of fortune.
Karl Wallman, an unemployed college student, parked his Honda Element in the parking lot of the CVS Pharmacy at 1421 Alton Road. He first grabbed a bite to eat at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and then bought milk at CVS. His ride had been snatched by Beach Towing, which charged him $185 to get his Honda back. He later learned Beach's towing fee for a broken down car was only $50. The prices charged -- payable only in cash -- have lead to dozens of complaints every year with state and local consumer watchdogs.
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SHOW ME HOW
1. They auction off your cherished, vintage automobile without your knowledge.
On March 1, 2004, Tal Priel, a part-time Miami Beach resident, paid $100 a month to store his prized 1975 gold two-door Buick LeSabre custom convertible inside the garage at 555 Washington Ave. Less than a month later, while Priel was in New York and without notifying him, Beach Towing hauled away the Buick. Seven months passed, Priel returned to South Beach to discover his classic automobile - which he had invested $8,000 in - was sold at an auction. If that wasn't a kick in the gnads, Priel learned his LeSabre had been sold to a Beach Towing employee for the bargain price of $1,481.72. The tow firm denied Priel's allegations in a civil suit, claiming it was a simple case of an "abandoned car." But Priel suit is echoed by dozens of similar claims -- not to mention violent clashes at the tow companies' yards; the same year Priel filed his complaint, New Times found police had been called to Tremont and Beach Towing's lots 958 times.
The companies are expected to plea their case to the Miami Beach Commission around 5 p.m. today.