Trucker Slammed With $5,000 Boot and Tow Charge, Owner Calls it “Scam, Extortion”

Charlotte N.C. – The hits keep on coming for truckers and trucking companies in Charlotte, NC, as area towing companies continue to feast on illegally parked big rigs.

Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported last month about two carriers forced to cough up $3,000+ after its big rigs were recently booted in Charlotte.

Jim Downey, owner of Auburn, KY-based Downey Trucking, had one of his tractor-trailers booted in a Walmart parking lot.




 

The towing company, Trust Towing and Recovery, demanded $3,500 to be paid within an hour or the towing and recovery charge would be $8,000.

If you missed it, read the full story HERE.

Downey filed a complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and TNN subsequently reported an investigation into price gouging and predatory towing within the city is ongoing.

Now add Cynthia Baker’s complaint to the growing list.

Baker, who is the owner of Clarksville, TN-based Ohio Valley Transport (OVT), tells TNN one of her owner operators was hit with a $5,000 boot, tow and recovery charge on the evening of April 6, 2020, by Carolina’s Towing.

The driver indicated parking was full at numerous local truck stops and so he parked in a Citgo gas station lot, located at 4500 Sunset Road in Charlotte.




 

Baker says she was awakened by a call from the driver at approximately 10:30 p.m. informing her his truck and trailer had been booted.

A representative of Carolina’s Towing was demanding $3,000 to have the boots removed.

“The truck was illegally parked and it was there for over 4 hours,” a representative of Carolina’s Towing told TNN this week.

The man, only identifying himself as “James,” said he is a “partner” in the towing business and that the truck driver should have paid better attention to the clearly marked signage.

“Truck drivers need to be more aware of where they park,” James said. “That’s just how it goes. When you break laws or ordinances you have to deal with those consequences.”

Baker disputes the driver had been parked there for four hours.




 

She indicated she spoke to the Carolina’s Towing representative and he warned if payment was not rendered within an hour, the towing and recovery charge could go as high as $10,000.

Since Carolina’s Towing does not accept credit cards, Baker said she was left scrambling to get EFS checks to cover the $3,000 charge.

Unfortunately, the EFS system flagged her account after the first $1,000 check which slowed the process down.


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She instructed the driver to call the police, which she says he did.

Baker was hopeful an appeal to authorities would put an end to what she described as “extortion.”

“For someone to have total control of a driver’s truck which is his livelihood and his home, and then demand $5,000 in the middle of the night… it’s outright wrong,” she exclaimed.

Baker says she was told by the police officer, “I’m just here to keep the peace so it doesn’t get out of hand.”




 

As Baker and an operations manager at OVT worked to obtain the EFS checks, the towing company representative had enough and called for the tow truck.

The charge then escalated to $5,000.

Carolina’s Towing covered the cost to put the driver in a hotel for the night.

“The truck driver said he didn’t have any money, so we put him up in a hotel. We could have left him there,” James said to TNN.

The following day, Baker was finally able to get the EFS checks she needed to render payment.

While she acknowledges the lot was marked, she says the whole thing was “shady.”

“My driver was wrong and he should not have parked there, but I’m sorry, that’s not a $5,000 punishment,” she stated. “The fine should fit the crime.”




 

OVT is a small company and Baker says she can’t afford to take a $5,000 hit, especially during the COVID-19 recession.

“I run twelve trucks and right now freight has dropped. I’m trying to keep my drivers on the road and my employees paid.”


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She says she intends to recoup the cost over time from the owner operator, but admits, “he is three payments behind on his truck.”

She also intends to file a complaint with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

“I don’t want it to happen to someone else. I would like somebody to be able to stop it so this never happens again anywhere,” she commented.




 

During the course of our reporting, TNN has learned that a 2014 North Carolina Supreme Court decision prevents the state and municipalities from limiting what towing operators can charge on private property.

TNN has spoken with multiple area towing companies and each insist the prices being charged are simply the “market rate.”

TransportationNation.com will continue to monitor any new developments.

 


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Comment (5)

  1. If this keeps up, someone is going to wind up seriously hurt or dead. These shady tow companies are going to boot the wrong driver and things will go south in a hurry.

  2. Let the towing company run freight in and out of Charlotte. Keep trucking companies out of Charlotte. When everything comes to a grinding halt in Charlotte then maybe the locals might have a different opinion of what the towing company is doing.

  3. I agree with Jim!!! Truckers should not run freight to Carolina!! and our hard working Truckers will not have this problem. Also the towing company should be ashame of what there doing!! People are losing there lives to this Covid -19 around the world. And Truckers are a big part of keeping the economy going and the towing company wants to take advantage of truckers!! Truckers listen don’t run freight to Charlotte, NC!!!

  4. I am by no way sticking up for the companies booting and towing trucks. I have been a driver for 25 yrs, I personally have had 2 places close to my house were I had permission to park 1-3 nights per week. Once other trucks in the area seen I was parking there, they just decided they could also do the same thing. Before you know it trash was being thrown out landscaping destroyed etc, so the owners of the land decided against anyone parking over night there, and I do not blame them. Meijer’s by my house let trucks park in their side lot for yrs, then they put up signs and warning for about a month, they started towing trucks out on the weekends having them booted etc. I personally shop at this Meijer, so I talked to the manager about it and asked what the problem was, they had to send one of their employees out every morning to clean the lot. The guys parking there would throw out piss bottles, bags of s#$t and trash every were, a few customers complained about the piss bottles etc, so the manager decided if they were not going to have any more respect than that, he was going to just put a stop to people parking there. Myself I do not blame him, if I had property and people were throwing out piss bottles and trash for me to clean up I would not let them park there either. Were I park now I pay to park there, its a secured lot with a key pad you have to know the code to get in. The place works on trucks and told me a few stories about some of the drivers ( mostly foreign) who they refused to work on their trucks, because they cut holes in the floor using the hole as a toilet when they are running team driving up the road, and the driveshaft sprays it every were. I do agree that truck drivers should be treated decent with respect, but on the other hand I see a lot of truck drivers out there that their actions have a lot to do with the attitude towards them. What happen respectful people, driving wearing a uniform, being neat and professional. One guess is no one cares who hauls their stuff they just want it hauled cheap so they are getting second rate degenerates like they want.

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