Another Trucker Hit With $3,000 Boot Prompts NC Attorney General to Investigate
Charlotte, NC – North Carolina authorities are investigating two recent incidents of suspected predatory towing and price gouging of big rigs.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has confirmed North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is investigating two instances last week in which truckers faced a boot removal fee of $3,000 or more.
TNN first reported on Friday that trucker Donald Spellings, of Radcliff, KY, had his big rig, which was loaded with 80 cases of Dasani water, booted while in a Walmart parking lot early last Thursday morning.
Spellings drives for Auburn, KY-based Downey Trucking and was awakened at approximately 12:30 a.m. to the news he would have to pay $3,600 within two hours or his rig would be towed and impounded.
He was warned if he did not swiftly pay the removal fee then he and Downey Trucking would face an $8,000 towing and recovery charge.
The fee was eventually negotiated down to a whopping $3,300.
Jim Downey is the owner of Downey Trucking and he tells TNN that Attorney General Stein’s office has since reached out to him regarding the incident and plans to conduct a thorough investigation into the towing company, Trust Towing and Recovery (TTR).
If you have not already, read TNN’s full report on the Downey Trucking incident HERE.
Another trucker found himself in a similar situation later that same day.
Since most restaurants were closed due to a stay at home order which took effect at 8:00 a.m. that same day, the trucker parked his rig in an adjacent lot to the Asian Corner Mall located at 4520 N. Tryon St.
Chris Steuart, vice president of Norco Trucking, told Fox 46 that his driver went in to a small grocery store to get some food and when he came back out he found his truck had been booted by Tip Towing.
“They told us if we didn’t pay them the $3,000, they were going to tow it and we’d owe them $4,000,” Steuart said.
The owner of Tip Towing, Alan Brown, told Fox 46 his company is not “predatory” and claimed the Norco driver had been asleep in his truck for five hours.
Plus, he said the lot is clearly marked with signs warning semis not to park.
Brown says if Norco Trucking can provide “paperwork” proving the driver had made a delivery “half-an-hour before he got booted,” then he would “absolutely refund that money.”
As for Downey, he told TNN on Sunday that Attorney General Stein’s office is planning to interview Spellings this week and get to the bottom of these incidents.
In an interview with Fox 46, Stein also indicated as much.
“It’s just awful. Any trucking company or any person, if they are being gouged because of this emergency, let my office know so we can investigate it,” he said.
TNN will continue to follow these cases.
Photos courtesy FOX46, Norco Trucking and Downey Trucking