The city has been sued by two towing companies over its booting and towing ordinances. Bexar Towing and Premiere Parking Enforcement are both suing the city alledging that the limits San Antonio imposes on fees that can be collected are too low, My San Antonio.com reports.Bexar Towing is suing the city over its towing ordinance, which sets the cost of towing from a private parking facility at $85 for cars and trucks shorter than 20 feet. Premiere Parking then sued the city nine days later over its booting ordinance, which limits the cost of removing a boot to $35.
Bexar’s lawsuit accuses the city of not complying with a state statute that gives private towing companies the right to request a towing fee study and to have the fees changed to be the “fair value of the services provided.” Bexar had been charging about $250 per tow to maintain its more than 3,000 contracts with private parking companies. The Police Department issued more than 500 citations to the company last month because of their rates.
Bexar maintains that the city had agreed not to enforce the ordinance until a new tow study could happen because the $85 maximum that was passed in 2002 is too low. The City Attorney said that customer complaints about the rates Bexar Towing was charging caused the police to issue the citations and that although a new study will be conducted within the year, private companies have to comply with the current regulations until then.
The city council passed an ordinance on booting last month that capped the fee, allowed parking violators a one-hour grace period and prohibited booting for a first violation. Premiere Parking Enforcement says they object to the reduced fee and the grace period. They also alleged that keeping track of first-time violations was too burdensome.
The City passed the boot ordinance after getting many allegations of predatory practices by towing companies and intends to continue to regulate the industry.