The expanded federal lawsuit regarding the behavior of a towing company operator underscores a need for local and state officials to step up.
The towing industry in Michigan is known to be notoriously predatory, and to grossly overcharge those unlucky enough to be one of their victims.
Breakthrough Towing, a Detroit company that has rebranded its name due to intensive media coverage, first came to the attention of the metro area when it was called out for pouncing on cars that were parked in the Hamtramck CVS parking lot after business hours.
Despite there being a couple of warning signs saying folks could get towed after CVS closed for the day, it turned out the company never had a contract with CVS to do that towing.
By this time, dozens of car owners who patronized Bumbo’s Bar across the street have had to dish out upwards of $400 per vehicle to get their cars back, or else unhitched at the site.
As it turned out, while there were some signs posted, there were not enough to meet state regulations.
At the time, some of our police officers did not know the state law, and therefore allowed Breakthrough to continue towing.
Unnamed Hamtramck police officers have now been added to a class action lawsuit. The city has also been included.
Breakthrough was also allegedly allowed to operate even though it failed to renew its yearly state license. However, officers have been issuing tickets lately to tow drivers who are not licensed to work here. The lawsuit also spells out some constitutional issues as well.
Hamtramck needs to take a close look at its ordinances, as well as make sure officers are up to speed on laws regulating towing companies.
State legislators also need to tighten up regulations so that towing companies can’t get away with charging exorbitant fees to car owners.
May 3, 2019