Chicago dept. of Streets and Sanitation — Impound abuses and liability!
On November 23, 07 a day after Thanksgiving my car was impounded for abandonment. We were then being charged 160 for towing and 35 per day for storage fees. It turns out they wanted us to pay 350. This is a bit of a woozy see my car had Ohio state plates because I had just finished paying it off of my father and had just received the title. Without the title I couldn't register it or get insurance. Well I was side swiped by another car in August and I do not have private parking so I parked it in the streets. Every car in the neighborhood had its chance to hit me while backing up into a parking space and they took it. The bumper was dragging but other than that the car was in waiting mode. Waiting to be insured repaired and registered. I started a business in October with my fiancé and all of our joint finances where tied up in that.
On November 20 I had a guy come and take a look at the body damage because I was getting ready to register insure and start using the vehicle. The car was towed the next day on November 23 a day after Thanksgiving as soon as we noticed the car was gone (remember it was thanksgiving we were busy getting ingredients cooking a meal for 8 out of scratch and then transporting the meal to another location) because of the fact that we were spent and needed some down time after a crazy holiday. When I noticed the car missing it was November 28, 07. I didn't use the car, but I always made sure that the car was not blocking the street sweepers so I moved it regularly. Our street has enough problem cars just sitting while the sweepers go by it didn't need mine sitting there also. At the impound lot the on the night of the 28th I was told that even though I had the title in hand I need to register to even contest it. So my next step was to go register contest the abandonment charges and get my car.
On the 30 I had my plates/registration which totaled 174.00 and was at the impound lot by 10:30 pm after I close up the shop. There I filed paper work to contest and was informed that I will need to go to court that following Monday morning. I go to court contest the abandonment charges and was told that the law was a standing out of state plate vehicle did not get any warnings and was towed in two days. The judge gave me a plea bargain and waived the storage fee's I was to pay 160.00 for the tow and I had until Friday to pay it. Tuesday through Wednesday I spent looking for a mechanic to come with me just in case anything came up I wanted to be ready. The mechanic I found was available on Friday so I scheduled him for Friday morning. He called me early and said he would be delayed until 1pm I said "sure I have until 5pm".
We were at the impound lot by 1:30 where the first woman at the counter told me that before I was even able to see the vehicle I needed to go and purchase a city sticker. I go purchase a city sticker which has doubled in price and is now 120.00. I returned to the lot where I fill out paper work in order to go see my car. My mechanic is not allowed in so I go by myself I noticed my left back tire was flat which was hidden by the snow but still noticeable, I shrug it off its a quick fix, get into the car put the key in turn I get nothing. I get my jumper cables from the back and think oh the battery is probably dead. I pop the hood and go to connect the cables but there was no battery. That was problem number one, and then I look around and I notice cut tubes and a missing radiator. I put the cables back and I go back to the main office to place a complaint. Remember on the 20th I was in the car and everything was fine I was just getting the estimate for the bumper everything else was fine. I go back to the office wait in line for 45 min. at this point its 2:50 and it’s started getting a little busy. I finally get to the third woman whom I inform of the situation and ask her to allow my mechanic in to take a look. The whole time she had my I.D. and was preparing paper work (by preparing paper work I mean write his name down and take a copy of his I.D.) which took a total of 20 min to complete.
They allow him in for a total of 30 min and he returns saying all of my tires were flat, one of the tires didn't even have rubber on it (it was ground to the rim), my air intake was damaged and on the ground under the vehicle, radiator was gone and battery as well. At this point I start asking what their plan of action was in correcting all the damage that was done while in their custody. I go back to the office the line was almost out the door and I have to wait again. I get to the window once again at 4 but the man assisting me went to the back of the room until about 4:15. I told him everything that had happened and he said I quote "so how are you paying for the car?", I took a second and said "no I want to file a complaint, and I want all of my paper work to start building my case." he said "you can't have your paperwork you need to go down town to get it" I said "what is the form I need to file a complaint" he said "talk to the supervisor" the supervisor was on the phone for another 5 min. I then proceeded to tell her the story and when I got to the missing radiator she said wait you need to file an alleged damage complaint form and you need to go to the front room to fill that out. This means I am waiting in line again.
I get back up to the front of the line at about 20 min until 5pm. 5pm is the closing time of my lot. I get the form fill it out and the man at the window showed me all of my paper work for a total of 30 seconds. Now he tells me I have to go and talk to the supervisor again. I go; at this point it is 10 min till 5pm. The supervisor tells me she wouldn't even look at the vehicle or sign the complaint form until I take the vehicle out. At this point I have a total of 6 min to get a tow truck to the lot and get it out so that she could sign the complaint form and start the process.
To sum up that was not possible. Now I have paid 174.00 for plates/registration, 120.00 city sticker, a total of 294.00 to a city that has taken my car for hostage. On Monday I will have to pay 585.00 and a tow truck to get a vehicle that has no radiator no air intake no battery and only 3 flat tires. While I was in the line several times I spoke to a diverse group of people who have also had many similar incidents happen to them.