MILWAUKEE -- If you are planning to park in a private lot over the next few days, listen up. If you are not careful, you could be hit with some very expensive towing charges.
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We get a lot of complaints from people telling us that they were towed from private lots, and then charged as much as $300-$400 to get their car back. In some cases, the consumers feel blindsided because they had parked in these lots in the past with no problem. In other cases, people parked for a short period of time, only to find that they were quickly towed away. But, some say that they had permission or a permit to park in a private lot, but were wrongly towed, and had to come up with big bucks to get their car back.
This can be difficult. Some consumers have told us that they were unable to dispute the matter with the tow company. Keep in mind, the tow company usually has a contract with the owner of the lot, not the person parking the car. If you believe that you were wrongly towed, you may have better results if you contact the owner of the lot and ask them to contact the tow company to resolve the matter. But, if you broke any rules such as not having a permit or sticker in plain view, it could be difficult for the owner to help as well.
Pay attention to signs and the rules for parking in private lots. If you do not see a sign, it may be best to assume that it is a private lot, and that you are not allowed to park there. If you are authorized to park in a spot, make sure that the receipt, permit or sticker is visible and located in the proper area of your windshield. Also pay attention to other rules, especially if you park at an apartment complex, like making sure that there are plates on the car, and that the car appears to be operable. Sometimes we get careless about where we park, or want a cheap and convenient spot. But, carelessness and trying to be frugal can sometimes cost us big bucks.