San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

by BRAD ROLLINS

The owner of San Marcos’ largest wrecker service says he has a legal right to charge market rates for forced tows from private property even if people don’t find his line of work particularly charming.

Tommy Saucedo, who owns Saucedo’s Wrecker Service, said the city’s maximum rate of $75 for non-consent tows gives the seven wrecker services that operate within the city the grounds they need for a lawsuit challenging the local price cap.

“Nobody in Texas regulates wreckers like the city of San Marcos. They are trying to regulate us out of business,” Saucedo said. “We could sue them and we know we could win, but we’re just going to give them time to see what they do.”

The Saucedo family dominates the local towing industry through control of both Saucedo’s, the largest wrecker company operating within the city, and Southwest Towing, the second largest. Tommy Saucedo’s brother runs Southwest Towing and the two companies have separate addresses — Saucedo’s is located at 211 W. Grove Street and Southwest at 211B W. Grove Street — but Tommy Saucedo acknowledges that the two are not exactly competitors.

“There’s enough money to be made for everyone,” Saucedo said.

Despite his competitive advantage, Saucedo said the family’s companies aren’t as profitable as they could be because the city keeps non-consent towing rates artificially low under pressure from residents.

Residents for years have complained bitterly about rigidly enforced towing in some areas of town, especially at businesses downtown and near Texas State University. Most recently, city council member suggested that they might lower the fee caps instead of raise them when they were asked to consider a rate hike, the first since 2008.

“We’re the cheapest in Texas. It’s wrong,” Saucedo said.

Wrecker companies want to raise non-consent tow fees from $75 to $150; police command staff put forward an increase to $125 instead, which was roundly rejected by the city council in April. The topic is scheduled for discussion again at some point this summer.

The Texas Occupational Code allows municipalities to set the maximum rate for non-consent tows, hauling off unauthorized vehicles from private property without the vehicle owner’s permission. The code, however, requires cities to set towing fee caps at “amounts that represent the fair value of the services of a towing company and are reasonably related to any financial or accounting information provided to the governing body.”

The San Marcos Mercury didn’t review towing regulations in all of Texas 1,215 incorporated cities. Due to changes in state law enacted by the Legislature in 2011, wrecker companies are no longer required to submit their non-consent tow fee schedule to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; there is, therefore, no single source for the data. Who knows, in other words, if Saucedo’s “cheapest in Texas” claim is even remotely accurate.

But for eight corridor cities for which comparative numbers were available, six of them allow wrecker services to charge non-consent towing fees substantially higher than the San Marcos maximum.

The exceptions: The city of Kyle limits wrecker companies to charging a flat $57.50 and $1 per mile for non-consent tows, which would come in under $75 in many cases. And the city of San Antonio caps the fee for non-consent tows at $85, just $10 more than San Marcos.

In the other cities — Austin, Buda, Lockhart, New Braunfels, Luling and Seguin — San Marcos’ $75 cap is well under what the others charge. The closest to San Marcos besides San Antonio is Lockhart, which caps non-consent tows at $100, 25 percent more than San Marcos.

Three of the comparison cities — New Braunfels, Luling and Seguin – don’t have a maximum non-consent fee on the books; in that case, state law sets the maximum at 150 percent of what the city allows wreckers to charge for “police-authorized tows.” In New Braunfels, therefore, wrecker companies can charge as much as $210 for a non-consent tow and, in Luling, they can charge $142.50. Seguin doesn’t regulate any pricing aspect of wrecker services.

In other regulated areas besides non-consent tows, however, San Marcos rates ranged from about the same to far more expensive than the comparison cities. For example, some cities set a maximum rate for “drop” and “show up” fees when a wrecker responds to a call of an unauthorized vehicle but its owner shows up before it is towed.

In San Marcos, wreckers can charge $50 for showing up to tow a vehicle and for cutting it loose if it’s already been hooked up a truck when its owner arrives. Lockhart, meanwhile, caps a show up fee at $20 and a drop fee at $40. Luling limits the show up fee to $26.

If San Marcos adopts the $185 fee for police-authorized and accident tows requested by tow companies, it will be the highest priced in that regard of all the comparison cities. Even at the current rate of $150, it is tied with the city of Austin for the most expensive area city to have a vehicle towed from an accident or arrest scene.

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46 thoughts on “Wrecker boss: San Marcos towing ‘cheapest in Texas’

  1. “The San Marcos Mercury didn’t review towing regulations in all of Texas 1,215 incorporated cities so who knows if Saucedo’s claim of “cheapest in Texas” is even close to accurate.”

    This line bothers me because, as a news outlet, YOU are supposed to be reporting of this is accurate or not. This comes across as either lazy journalism or poor writing – maybe both.

  2. Let me sure I’ve got this down correctly. Mr. Saucedo has now threatened to sue the city twice now, but is going to give the council one last chance to submit to a 100% fee hike ($75 to $150). I’m not a lawyer, but if Mr. Saucedo isn’t operating in good faith, doesn’t that throw his legal chances out the window?

  3. LK,

    It is not the job of the journalist to verify the accuracy of what a person says, but it is the job of the journalist to accurately report what that person says. If this was the a major concern for journalist then NBC, CBS, ABC, and MSNBC would be out of business by now.

  4. One thing not clear in the article that I would like SM to verify with the TDLR is what can be charged by the towing company if a tow hook up is in process but the owner arrives before the Vehicle is not “fully prepared for transport”. My understanding is that they cannot charge ANYTHING to stop the process and disconnect from the vehicle unless the vehicle is fully prepared for transport. In other words fully hooked up and legal for them to tow away safely even down the interstate at highway speed. It’s my understanding that they have been allowed to charge a “show up fee” in those cases when the vehicle is not fully prepared for transport and that is in violation of state law. SM should clarify that with the police department and TDLR, and provide a followup to this article.

    ANYONE who has been charged an illegal “show up fee” should contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation about filing a complaint.

    If you were charged a “show up fee” at all it may be a good idea to call TDLR to see if it was illegal.

  5. I am not aware that this particular towing scam as occurred in San Marcos but with the number of apartment complexes populated by students I would not be supposed.

    Towing companies have been towing vehicles from apartment complexes in some cities because the vehicles displayed an EXPIRED INSPECTION STICKER or license registration.

    What happens is that in some cases a tow company will tow a vehicle for no reason other than the expired MVI or registration when they are contracted with a complex which prohibits residents from storing such vehicles in their parking spaces. A valid concept when done legally and with the required notice to the vehicle owner.

    Problem arises when the greedy tow company or greedy driver fails to follow the law which requires a Written notice delivered in person to the owner or driver of the vehicle, before the vehicle is towed, notifying them that the vehicle is subject to being towed and giving them 10 days to cure it before the vehicle will be towed. they try to get past this by putting a red sticker on the window. But that does not qualify as the REQUIRED in person notice. The TDLR has ruled on this already.

    Dang, if you left your vehicle at your apartment and went home with a friend for spring break the MVI could expire before you got back and they might tow your car because some wrecker driver wanted to make money and slapped a red tag on it and then towed your car on the 11th day. Then you get the tow charge plus the storage and all the fees for something that you never had notice was going to get your car towed in the first place.

    The legislature passed this some time back because of abusive actions by greedy wrecker companies yet they still try to find a way into the pocket books of unsuspecting people who ay not know the arcane regulations. One intention was that it should not be so easy to tow someone’s car for expired MVI and tags without notice.

    ANYONE who as had their vehicle towed for an expired MVI or vehicle registration and did not get an in person notification ten days before the vehicle was towed should contact the TDLR to see if there was a violation by the tow company. Then look into filing a small claims court suit for damages for the illegal tow.

  6. So which is it, Saucedo? Is the City going to put you out of business, as you say in one quote, or is there “plenty to go around,” as you later say?

    Whatever the rules tehnically say, these people run their business(es) in a predatory and unethical way. That in and of itself is enough to make me root against them.

  7. We seem to have a big difference of opinions here so I would propose that the city approach this with a little knowledge. I have always heard that, in San Marcos, there is really no such thing as the $75 non-consent tow. There are always add on charges for this and that. There is storage charges for putting the car in the wrecker company lot. I have even heard rumors that by the time some people are able to retrieve their cars that the storage frees have gotten to be so much that people just abandon their cars. When the impounded cars are sold, there are so many charges by the wrecker company that they are the only ones who can afford to purchase the car. Lots of money in that I have heard. Seems to me that the only way to settle this is for the wrecker companies to agree to an audit of just how much money they really make for a tow. My guess is that AAA doesn’t pay any where near what the wrecker companies get for a tow. If they are getting paid so little for a non consent tow, maybe they should just stop doing it. Maybe the city should have a city owned impound lot so the local wrecker companies won’t lose so much money.

  8. The tow itself costs $75, but there are extra charges. I can tell you from experience, it costs $118 and change when it’s all said and done. Apparently, as soon as your car gets to their lot, there’s a $20 storage fee added, plus something that my receipt called “impound.” The state says they can charge up to $20 a day for storing your car. I personally think Mr. Saucedo is full of ****, they make more money legally stealing your car than they care to admit. I’m all for the city leaving the fees as they are, or even reducing them.

    Also, I don’t think Mr. Saucedo ultimately understanding how a democracy works. Our elected council members ultimately answer to us, their constituents. If we’re vocal enough about not wanting rates to increase, our elected representatives should listen to us.

    On an unrelated note, I’d love to know what kind of criminal histories these supposedly upstanding wrecker drivers have.

  9. Leave the fees the way they are – and let the companies decide if they can still make money. With all of the fees tacked on – NOBODY pays $75. Even if you follow your own car to the impound lot, they charge the $20 impound fee. Just from Nelson Center alone, the car is picked up, towed a few blocks and then the wrecker is back to pick up the next car. I have often thought that it would be a community service to have a volunteer group at Nelson Center on the weekends and at the beginning of the semester to prevent people from leaving the parking lot without moving their car. For the most part, people that visit San Marcos have a great experience and enjoy the river, the restaurants, the university and the people – however not all tourists and guests have a great time. Numerous letters to the editor have described the negatie experiences of our guests. Keep the fees the same – let the wrecker companies decide if it is enough to stay in business.

  10. I agree Mary. The Towing industry is the most unscrupulous business I am currently aware of in the local area. I find it quite amazing that if you pay cash you can get numerous discounts and not even have to provide insurance or proper identification…but I’m most certain they report that cash income on their tax records.(LOL)

    Let free markets rule and leave the prices as the local government has set. It probably wouldn’t hurt the city image to have a few of these sleazy tow truck companies go out of business.

  11. Mr. Saucedo is operating a business which employs many, and if he felt serious enough about an increase to take it to Council, he should be treated with more respect. It is disrespectful for council to respond with a threat to use the heavy hand of local government to reduce the fees because he has the gall to ask for an increase. They can simply vote “no.” Disrespect increases the animosity on both sides and then what should have been easy to settle becomes an expensive lawsuit which Saucedo recovers in higher fees and the city recovers in higher taxes — we lose both ways.

    If the actual rates paid in San Marcos are less than in all surrounding areas, then it seems an increase would be in order. I doubt a trespasser who parks at Nelson Center despite 25 signs and walks somewhere else and then gets towed is going to be any happier paying $95 than $110 or whatever the rate is in surrounding cities. The cost of an absence of personal responsibility is not immune from inflation.

  12. I am skeptical that Saucedo would prevail in any lawsuit against the City. They are not required to grant every increase he asks for and they are not required to increase tow fees just because some other city allows a higher fee.

    This is a lot like public officials pay. As soon as on City allows an increase every other tow company in every other jurisdiction wants to be brought up to parity.

    What gives the tow companies the idea that they should not compete on the basis of good service and low prices like other business in our economy?

    Predatory towing should not be rewarded by the City by awarding an increase in allowable fees.

  13. Also, San Marcos does not have the lowest rate in Texas. I just found a city ordinance in Mission, TX that establishes their rate at $60. Their city ordinance section is 118-191 if Mr. Saucedo is interested in looking it up.

  14. I agree with skeptical. Our elected officials need to have the maturity not to react emotionally. They need to do the research and rule accordingly.

    Nelson Center would be hard pressed to physically get more signs posted warning trespassers of the towing risk. And pretty much every business in the area has a sign on the door warning you that if you parked at Nelson you WILL be towed.

    Educated person suggests we “Let free markets rule and leave the prices as the local government has set.” and that makes at least two contradictions in one post.

  15. @SMsince95…free markets meant that there are too many poorly ran tow companies in town using predatory practices(not to mention a very unethical/inconsistent way of charging). It is a necessary profession and the best should be able to sustain business at current rates as they have in the past. May all of the unorganized/unscrupulous companies fail and leave us with a more professional group performing this necessary task for our beloved city.

  16. Subway on University Drive hires Saucedo’s to sit across the street and catch every single person that parks at Subway but might also visit any other place either next door or a few doors down. Your car is towed within a matter of minutes. So your $5.00 footlong costs $123.00 after Saucedo’s sits across the street and waits for the victims. Subway needs to move to a bigger place. Towing signs not clearly marked and it is a scam to have the towing company sit across the street. The tenants next door warned but it was too late because they had already towed in a matter of minutes because they sit across the street – shady for Subway and shady for Saucedo’s – this should be illegal!!!!! Preying on college students and their money – shame on you Subway and Saucedo’s Wrecker Service.

  17. I second that Peg…and I think anyone who can take high dollar assets at their own discression should have rigorous background checks…just as anyone else who has that type of authority. If this was the case we would probably see tow trucks lined up at the green guy for recycling!!!

  18. The Statesman reported on May 6th, 2012 that Chief Williams sent letters to all tow companies in town informing them that “it’s illegal to charge drivers a $50 fee for just showing up.”
    Apparently an outdated city ordinance allowed operators to charge a “show-up” fee of $50 if the car’s owner shows up to move the vehicle before it’s hooked up. But as Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation clearly states on their website Q&A, “Can I charge a drop fee if the owner or operator arrives to move the vehicle before I have it fully hooked up?
    No. You must allow the owner or operator to move the vehicle”
    Now, hooked up means-fully, as in “Hooked up means the vehicle is fully prepared for transport by attachment to a tow truck, lifted in tow position, with tow lights and safety chains attached and, if required, placed on a dolly in a raised position and the only thing remaining is for the tow operator to drive away.”
    So, if it is just on the stinger, they can’t charge a drop fee. Also, if it is fully hooked up, but not off the lot “If the vehicle is fully hooked up and you are in transport, but you are still on the property, you are required to tell the owner or operator that they may pay a drop fee.”, but cant’ charge the full tow fee. Don’t be a victim of getting charged because you didn’t know.
    So, are the tow companies asking for increased rates because the caps are really too low and are the “cheapest in Texas” or because they just saw their revenue sources of illegal drop fees get nixed?

  19. I see one apparent contradiction in Mr. Saucedo’s arguements: He states the city is trying to “regulate us out of business”, but then when replying to the relationship between Saucedo’s and Southwest, “There’s enough money to be made for everyone.”
    Sorry…that statement alone tells me that fees are just fine where they’re at.

  20. FYI – it’s the landlord (Nelson Center) that contracts with the towing company, not Subway or any of the other individual tenants.

  21. I want to hear from the owner of Subway on this. Raising the rates on towing fees, I think NOT. He makes enough money with his employees trolling, looking for people to illegally park. The employees are told to do this and get to keep some of that money. Considering I have been in a tow truck of Mr. Saucedo owns with a man who worked for him and he frequently did this. In fact if you notice many girls go with the tow truck drivers on a regular basis. Just saying.

  22. As a business owner I believe that the towing is needed. Their have been plenty of times that I lost out on customers because of the fact that people park in my lot and walk off to go to the bars. Not to mention all the trash left behind and the smell of urine the next morning. As for signs I have eight posted and that doesn’t seem to help. Even when I had the tow truck driver parked in my lot telling people not to park there, that did not help. Instead these “poor helpless college students” began to belittle the driver that was just there to do his job. Yes i do agree with the fact that some of these companies run shady businesses but not all are out to make a quick dollar. There are still some out there trying to make a honsest living.

  23. Again, Reading comprehension 101, folks.

    The owner of Subway has nothing to do with the tow companies. The company is contracted by the owner of the shopping center. If you have an issue with towing practices at the Nelson Center, take it up with the management of the Center, not that of the individual businesses there.

  24. Angry owner,

    I completely sympathize with you. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably do the same thing as far as contracting with a tow company to remove cars that aren’t supposed to be there. I think most people have an issue with how the tow companies behave during and after the tow, not that they’re towing cars. I’ve seen them yelling, cussing, and being jerks in general to people getting towed, which is an extremely traumatic experience. As to warning people before they get towed, I’ve never personally seen that. What I’ve seen are spotters in unmarked cars watching lots, then calling a tow truck waiting out of sight around a corner. It just seems to me that the tow companies in San Marcos are of the mentality that they are out to tow as many cars as humanly possible and make a quick buck, not protect the property rights of business owners. Just my personal observations/opinions.

  25. Saucedo’s have practiced predatory towing for decades. That is not news.

    As for the threatened lawsuit, if I were the City I’d be lobbying for loser pays right now; because Saucedo’s will lose the lawsuit.

    As for Nelson’s policy, I understand it. W/O that policy there would be no customer parking at all. As for their choice of towing service, Saucedo’s is “bleep” now, they have been “bleep” for decades. But with Sundance gone I don’t have much reason to go there, except for an occasional Salvation.

  26. One solution to curb predatory towing practices would be to require the property owner or management representative to sign a complaint on every car towed. That would put responsibility on them and predatory tows would be almost eliminated. The property owner has the right to have your car towed from their property if it’s there illegally they should just be held responsible for doing it legally.

  27. I agree about making property owners sign something to have specific cars towed instead of the current vulture practices. I believe the city tried to do that several years ago, but caved to pressure from the tow companies and business owners because it would make things more difficult and time consuming for them. Hopefully they’ll revisit that idea, and the city council will have more of a backbone to stand up to the tow companies.

  28. What other service provider, other than tow truck drivers, would be so vilified for doing their job efficiently? These guys are performing a needed service and if you don’t like it don’t park illegally. If they’re rude and vulgar it’s because they’ve been conditioned by snot-nosed, spoiled college kids unwilling to take responsibility for their lost gamble.

    The city has, rightly (in my opinion), ordained that there should be price regulation. When they did they took on the obligation to negotiate in good faith with the tow companies.

    I have been towed and I kept quiet and took my medicine. I have little sympathy for the towed. The city has specific signage requirements for lots where towing is enforced. It’s an obligation of yours as a driver to be know if you’re parking legally.

  29. I have little sympathy for people who get towed for parking illegally, but I have little sympathy for the tow companies, either.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, I have waited hours (five, if I recall correctly) for a tow within town. I had faster response calling Austin, for a flatbed to pick up a car at Texas World Speedway, in College Station.

    My biggest problem, though, is that between the towing and the ridiculous 1 and 2 hour parking restrictions, it is nearly impossible to park *anywhere* and spend a day in downtown San Marcos. Thank goodness the university is going to step in and take a step to address our problem for us, with a parking garage across from Nelson Center. The city seems content to talk about possible solutions, for decades on end.

    Leave the fees alone. Add some parking.

  30. SM, the problem is, as others have pointed out, illegal fees, and the problem that the towing company in question has a record of iffy tows. Lots of clients of Nelson’s businesses have been towed. To put in bluntly, they are scum; just my multidecade observation.

  31. If people are tired of what happens at Nelson Center and Subway then how about a nice public campaign and boycott starting at back to school. If students boycott the center and Subway then perhaps change will come.

  32. No. The problem is people want some relief from the consequences of their wrong choices. If you want to quibble about drop fees etc, that’s a separate issue. But the fact is, if you park at Nelson Center and leave the premises not understanding your risk of being towed or incurring a drop fee then you are too stupid to be driving in the first place.

    Those of you that are pushing for greater restrictions such as individual consent for each tow are advocating against private property rights. Imagine an idiot parks in your drive blocking you in and you need to get out to take your injured child to the ER. You want that car towed out of your way ASAP. Now apply that paradigm to the business owner plagued by callous parking violators. A small drop fee is more courtesy than most of these thieves deserve. Yes. They are thieves, stealing the space paid for and maintained by a private property owner. How much business do you think Subway would have if every space were taken up by a student? Go to any big city and you’ll find parking to be just such a scarce commodity.

  33. Mr. Sergi, while a boycott makes perfectly good sense, I rather doubt it will happen, a shame really. Has anyone looked into whether or not Saucedo’s kicks back to its “clients” Just a question.

  34. How do they manage to avoid parking lots full of students at all of the businesses over at LBJ and Sessom? I never hear about predatory towing there. Maybe it happens, but people just don’t talk about it. Ditto for all of the other downtown businesses with parking lots. It’s convenient to blame student parking, but I would love to see if that is actually the case. There seems to be no shortage of stories about people trying to walk to multiple downtown businesses, and getting towed.

  35. If San Marcos wants to have a vibrant downtown, there must be parking. Or a very efficient mass transit system. People (customers) have to get from where they live, to where the business is.

  36. I once counted the number of cars in the “Domino’s” strip center and then went into each business trying to assign customers or employees to each car. I couldn’t explain more than half the cars. The Jo on the Go center has parking issues too. I guess the property owners don’t want the stigma Nelson Center has.

    We need metered parking downtown. That revenue could pay for additional parking spaces.

    I’m curious who built the parking lot where Mimi’s Trailer Park is and how that situation evolved. I spoke to a tenant of the adjacent Domino’s center and he was frustrated at having to accommodate Mimi’s overflow parking.

  37. The Outlet Malls are a mile, end to end. I’m sure there are people who try to park as close as possible to a particular store, but it is undeniable that people are walking around there, all day. None of the stores there worry about “their” parking, and the place is thriving.

    Granted, the university adds an extra dimension, but if there were metered parking, and students wanted to park all day, so be it. Maybe we could come up with some sort of revenue sharing program, with the downtown businesses.

    I don’t know the answer, but it is obvious that there is a problem, and the city has been aware of it for as long as I can remember. Pretending that the lack of parking is part of some sort of leading edge initiative to be more bike/ped friendly (all the while doing little or nothing with bike lanes and sidewalks), and allowing new businesses to come in with less parking than they need, is not going to solve anything.

  38. As I understand it, the Mimi’s lot is privately owned. It was leased to the Post Office for years. A couple years ago the Post Office dropped its lease on the lot. The owner subsequently tried to turn it into a contract lot, charging for individual spaces, but that idea went over like a fart in church. The food trailers presumably grew out of an inability to do anything else with the space.

  39. SM/95, just because some of us think the property owner should take more responsibility for the tows from their property by signing off on each tow does not make us against private property rights.

    I don’t see how your scenario about the sick child going to the hospitall and being blocked in by an illegally parked car holds up unless the property owner has a contract with a towing company and that towing company is sitting there basically 24/7 watching your spaces or spaces to immediately tow anyone other than you who parks in your space.

    Property owner certainly have rights to have improperly parked cars towed from their property. I haven’t seen anyone argue that they don’t.

    What has been brought up as a problem is excessive fees for tows, extra charges associated with the tows that most people think are predatory, ‘bird dogging’ cars and immediately towing as soon as a customer steps off the property, charging ‘drop fees’ illegally and rude unprofessional behavior by towing and storage company personnel.

    Thieves, robbers, muggers and predatory towers do indeed run amuck in ‘the big city’ but we really don’t want that in San Marcos.

  40. Intrepid,

    You said:

    “One solution to curb predatory towing practices would be to require the property owner or management representative to sign a complaint on every car towed.”

    That is limiting private property rights by dictating the terms under which they can contract with towing companies. Illegal practices by towing companies (of which the proof has yet to be delivered) is another matter. You’re doing well to advise people to contact TDLR if they feel they’ve been a victim. If this is a serious issue perhaps the city could audit towing companies, survey those that have been towed or otherwise deal with it.

    When I got towed I recall the rights of the towed and the tower were posted on the wall along with the number of TDLR. I recall I was so angry and wished I had recourse buy in the end could only blame myself for being in a hurry and not paying attention to the multiple signs.

  41. There is no business that is more unscrupulous than the wrecker business. They are backbiting thugs.
    I do not disagree with the fact that every few years the city needs to review the tow service rate structure to make sure they within “market”. After all, gas and personnel costs never go down.
    My beef is the fact that some (not all) of the wrecker services gouge people on fees. I personally know several folks that have filed complaints with the Police Chief and got their money back because they were uncharged unlawful fees.
    And come on, boycott Nelson Center??? If I owned Nelson Center I would tow from there too. That is NOT student parking. You park there and leave the center, you get towed. End of story. The only issue with Nelson Center is WHO they use to tow!! Mr. Meeks… can you not at least hire a more reputable tow service? There are actually one or two of those in town.
    And…wrecker services cannot make money? I have been in SM for a LONG time. Do you remember Pee Wee Doherty? He owned Doherty’s Wrecker and was extremely successful. He was honest, reputable, and gasp…compassionate; being more about service than making the almighty dollar.
    I guess those days are gone forever.

  42. For those who don’t know. A contract is signed between the property owner and the towing company for EACH AND EVERY parking lot that cars are towed from!!! In this contract the criteria is outlined as to how and when towing is handled. Bird-dogging, sitting in the lot, etc… is done because the property owner has requested and,or agreed to this practice. The tow company, shady or not, is providing the service outlined in the contract agreed to and requested BY THE PROPERTY OWNER!!!!! As for tow truck drivers being outlaws, scum, etc… for your information EVERY tow truck operator in the state of Texas must pass a background check to receive a license to operate a tow truck in the state!!!! Any theft,grand theft, etc…. will immediately disqualify you for this license!!!!I am an operator for a towing company that does not do any type of ppi in the city of Austin, but you people need to realize that this is a required service in all population areas. For numerous reasons, If a property owner provides parking there will be private citizens that think they can park there illegally!!!! I am the last person to defend the wrecker services mentioned here but I will defend the profession I have chosen!!!! Quite simply the fee schedule set by the city of San Marcos is ridiculously outdated and LOW!!!! Hence my reason for not providing this service period. Plus the negative light it shines on the company itself is not something I choose to deal with. That being said I do agree that predatory towing is not good practice but please don’t judge the towing community as a whole based on this one aspect of the profession.

  43. Backbiting thugs????? Really???? You have legal recourse to each and every tow, legal or otherwise, provided or conducted in the state. It not only is required to be posted at the towing company. but it is also on the receipt you are given when the transaction occurs!!!!! Shame on you for judging the industry based on your limited misinformation. Price gouging occurs in every situation where a fee is applied. If you were providing a service would you not want to make as much profit as possible??? Duh… Last time I checked that is the goal of every business owner in every business. Are there some tow companies out there abusing this practice. Of course!!! Are there lawyers,doctors,heck even gas stations, who abuse this same practice. Yes. What do you call people in these professions. Unscrupulous????? as an industry, I take offense to this remark personally and professionally. Before you judge the industry as a whole maybe you might want to actually get REAL information about said industry.

  44. A few sessions back the towing industry fought tooth and nail to prevent a requirement that property owners or their management representatives be required to individually approve each tow from their property. The lack of this requirement opens the door for abusive and predatory towing practices by ome unscrupulous towing companies. Property owners have the right to limit parking on their property to their customers or those of their choosing. Nobody disputes that. Just put the responsibility where it belongs and most of the problems will be resolved.

    DJ is absolutely correct that anyone with a towing complaint should contact the TDLR. You may not even be aware how badly you have been ripped off.

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