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CompUSA - Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI / Aggressive bad neighbor towing practices!

1 United States Review updated:

COMP USA
640 ALA MOANA BLVD.
HONOLULU, HI 96813
MANAGER KEN ELTON; DIV. MANAGER LOUIE SANTOS

Please BOYCOTT COMP USA for their BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICIES AT THEIR ALA MOANA STORE.

Here's my story: On Friday, my daughter, a college senior home on spring break, went to COMP USA at Ala Moana in her rental car to purchase ear buds to use with her IPOD for her flight back to DC later that afternoon. She arrived at the store before it opened, and so with some time on her hands, headed across the street to get a cuppa joe and something for breakfast.

Another woman, Lily, who is a Chinese immigrant from Taiwan, also did the same thing. She was there to buy school and computer supplies for her son who attends UH and hopes to become a doctor. Lily is a cook in a Waikiki restaurant and speaks broken English. She's middle-aged, about 5 feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. She arrived before the store opened, too, and so went to the Vietnamese sandwich shop across the street to get something to eat before the store opened.

I live in Manoa where we enjoy a GOOD NEIGHBOR policy for parking as a common courtesy for area businesses. We shop at Safeway, stop at the bank or the ATM, hop across the street to Starbucks, or head down to Manoa Valley Theatre all without fear that our cars will be towed. My daughter was clearly unsuspecting of CompUSA's aggressive tow policy at their Ala Moana Street Store when she slipped across the street for coffee.

When Lily and my daughter returned to shop when the store had opened, their cars were GONE. Towed by an unscrupulous bully who runs 24-7 Towing in Waipahu. (More about him later.) They were told they would have to go to WAIPAHU, nearly 20 miles away, to claim their cars and would not be able to do so until NOON! We were later told by the police that the noon pickup policy is against the law. If they are actively towing, they must be open for car pick up. This was not the case at 24-7Towing.

Lily made a big scene in the store. She raised the roof. Understandably. She had come to spend money and instead had the unlucky circumstance to be towed for the privilege. She had no way to get Waipahu--and a cab ride would be more than $100. The store manager called the police when she complained loudly about their BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICY inside the store. The manager didn't want the other customers to hear about the towing incident. The police officer arrived and escorted the little woman out of the store, where she joined my crying daughter who awaited me at curbside for a ride.

I can assure you, Lily was no menace or threat to society. And she did not deserve to have her car towed or to be publicly humiliated by the uncaring COMP USA store manager who accepts no responsibility for his BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICY. I wonder if he gets a kick- back for every car he refers to 24-7 Towing? 24-7 Towing charges you $195 (CASH ONLY) to get your car back, but the police officer suggested to us that this unscrupulous company often tries to get more. (That's nearly three-day's wages for poor Lily the cook.) Seeing my daughter's obvious distress, the officer called the tow company himself and informed them that were required to be open before noon and reiterated the agreed-upon price to the tow company over the phone so that my daughter and Lily would not be cheated yet again. 24-7 Towing has a reputation for bad business practices as we would later learn from the second police officer to come to our aid in Waipahu. Yes... Our sad story gets worse.

I picked up my distraught daughter (who did not make a scene in the store, but stood crying at the curb) and as a good Samaritan offered the little Chinese lady a ride to Waipahu, too. On the 40-minute ride to Waipahu we learned about her young ambitious son and the computer supplies she had hoped to buy for him that morning. Now she would have to use the cash to pay to the tow service instead. She lamented that she would not have the money to buy groceries and would have to go without food for the rest of the week. As it turns out, her spontaneous trip to the sandwich store before COMP USA opened was the most expensive Vietnamese sandwich she has ever eaten.

We did not have the cash in hand to get the car out of hock and had to detour to a bank to get some money.

We only thought we were having a bad day until we got to 24-7 Towing. The officer at COMP USA had called from the store to tell him he had to have the compound open, but when we arrived, there was only a locked gate with an obnoxious sign advising people they were being videotaped to be later used in court, and a phone number. We called the phone number and were told we would have to wait 30 more minutes for the owner to get there. He knew 45 minutes earlier that we were coming and the police officer at COMP USA had advised him to have the office opened, and still, he had not opened the tow compound.

24-7 Towing is located on a dead-end street in a rundown neighborhood side street in Waipahu. It is not a place, as a woman, you feel especially safe, even in broad daylight. We locked ourselves in the car and waited. Lily and my daughter chatted in Chinese. When the owner drove up, we got out, showed him our money and our picture IDs and asked him to please get our cars. We were not rude or unruly. He was apparently angry that he had to come in early. He went inside the gate, locked it with a heavy padlock, and gruffly told us we had to wait outside while he did the paperwork. We waited and waited. He never returned. We called him and asked for our cars and to please come to the gate. He hung up on us. That's when we called the Waipahu police station (not 911) to explain our situation and to ask for help.

My daughter had a flight to catch and needed to return the rental car. We had told the 24-7 Towing guy this information, too. We didn't have time to waste. We called more than once to the police station to explain and complain that we couldn't get our cars. The police then tried calling the tow company and instructed them to open up and give us our cars back. The three of us waited some more inside our locked car with our cell phones. I honked once to see if we could get him to come back to the gate to talk to us. He never came. In our next phone call to the Waipahu police station, we requested an officer to come to the scene. We needed their help. This was going nowhere. The officer said he could not dispatch an officer to the scene from his station and we needed to place a call to the emergency 911 line. So we called 911. Twice. To get an officer to come help us get our cars back.

The officer showed up and the 24-7 Tow company employee finally came outside. He verbally abused us in front of the officer and told us we had been unruly and trouble makers. Every other word out of his mouth was an insult to us. The man washing his car at the apartment next the compound told us he would be our witness if we needed, and that we had not ever been unruly in the whole time we had sat in our car. The police officer told us the 24-7 Tow company has a long history of bad business practices, and had recently been in a physical altercation because the owner is so rude to the customers that come to get their cars. The officer also confirmed with the tower, without us even asking him to, that he was only to charge us $195 and not a dollar more. The officer told us his rude behavior had gotten him assaulted just recently and they had history of complaints about him. After observing how we were being treated, the officer told the tow guy "a jerk and an a**-hole" in front of us. I thought it a well-deserved description. We all agreed. Even the neighbor washing his car. The towing employee then took Lily's money and let her get her car. It was a 5-minute transaction that he had made us wait over an hour to complete.

But he reserved his most obnoxious behavior for my young daughter (who is 5' 3" and weighs under 125 pounds). He refused to give her the car because it was a rental, and by law he did not have to release it to anyone but the registered owner. He told us he would accept a fax from the rental company but then refused to allow us to go get the contract from the rental car and refused to bring us the contract from the car. We turned to the officer and literally begged him to help us get our car back. I begged the officer to help us. The officer said he was within his rights to refuse to give us the car, but that he was really being an "a**hole and a jerk" and he could now understand why the guy had been beaten before. He explained politely and apologetically that legally, there was nothing he could do for us. The tow guy was really relishing his power trip and continued to hurl insults at us and abuse us verbally. I asked the officer what I could do about this and he recommended we file reports with the Better Business Bureau.

We asked the officer to please stay with us because we were now afraid to be alone in this neighborhood with this obviously aggressive and abusive person. He stayed while we called the car company. The car company called the 24-7 Towing person while we waited on the line to see if he would accept a fax from Thrifty, which is a common practice when tow companies nab rental cars. The 24-7 towing company man refused. The Thrifty sales person called the towing guy, "a real jerk." Thrifty had to dispatch a driver with authorization to come to the compound to get the car and told us to wait for him to arrive.

We were afraid to stay at the tow yard alone, and left to wait safely inside a local Jack-in-the-Box. We waited another 40 minutes for Daniel to arrive. We told him we were too scared to wait at the tow yard and could he meet us down the street. He did. We gave him the $195. He got the car and drove it off the tow yard and down the street to where we waited. Daniel was a big bruiser of a guy and he didn't take any lip from "the jerk." He handed us our keys and the change and wished us on our way.

The whole ordeal took us nearly 3 hours- it was almost noon before we finally got our car. We had left the COMP USA store at about 9:15 a.m. We were both very visibly shaken and distraught. My daughter cried and cried. I got angrier and angrier. I decided to write this message and send it to as many friends on the internet as possible. I called the assistant store manager and complained bitterly. I got the name of Ken Elton who is the manager. I will be calling him on Monday. I got the name of the Division Manager Louie Santos and intend to contact him on Monday to complain as well. I will demand that they change towing practices and their towing service. I seriously doubt my calls will have any effect as COMP USA, because by their very aggressive tow practices, they have already illustrated that customer service and convenience is clearly NOT A PRIORITY with them. I just want them to know the kind of people they are snagging with their AGGRESSIVE TOW PRACTICES. And I question why any REPUTABLE company would want to do business with the likes of those losers at 24-7 Towing. If they do continue their AGGRESSIVE BAD NEIGHBOR TOWING PRACTICES, then I seriously recommend they choose a better-run business closer to their downtown site that doesn't charge usury prices.

And that's why I want you to PLEASE, PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS SITUATION and PLEASE, PLEASE BOYCOTT COMP USA for their BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICIES.

Lily, my daughter and I made a pact on our drive out to Waipahu to never, NEVER, walk into a COMP USA store again. As long as I live, I will never shop with COMP USA. We encourage all of you who believe in GOOD NEIGHBOR PARKING POLICIES to do the same.

Nobody deserves to have an experience like that because they left their car in a lot to buy a sandwich or a cup of coffee before the store was even open for business.

Both Lily and my daughter "broke the parking lot law" by parking at COMP USA and leaving the premises. That's true and COMP USA was certainly within their rights to have the cars towed. There were signs clearly posted, just like there is at Safeway in Manoa. The perpetrators both clearly intended to return when the store was open to make their purchases and leave, and were not all-day parkers trying to avoid parking fees, whom I suspect is the target of COMP USA's AGGRESSIVE BAD NEIGHBOR PARKING POLICIES.

Instead they are snagging unwitting customers trying to kill a little time before the store opens for business.

24-7 Towing absolutely deserves to be run out of business for their rude, abusive, intimidating and unscrupulous business practices. People who know me know I am not easily intimidated. But this man was mean. Mean and ugly and verbally abusive to the 3 of us when had no cause to be, except spite. I ask again. What kind of customer service oriented company would want to be in a business partnership with the likes of this horrible man?

Please pass this along to everyone in your email lists.

It's important. And please don't shop at COMP USA anymore. Take your business elsewhere!

This letter was faxed to Ken Elton and Louie Santos on March 19 AT 8:48 AM.

March 19, 2007

Mr. Ken Elton
Manager
COMP USA
604 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

cc; Louie Santos, Division Manager
COMP USA Headquarters
14951 N Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 73254


Dear Mr. Elton:

Attached is the unfortunate account my daughter and I experienced on Friday, March 16, 2007 as a result of your company's overly aggressive towing practices. Lily Chou was another unfortunate recipient of your overly aggressive towing practices that morning. I demand you reimburse us for the cost of the towing fees at $195 for each car, and gas money of $15 for the 30+-mile trip to Waipahu and back.

I also demand that you cancel your towing contract with 24-7 Towing for their unscrupulous towing practices and complete lack of customer service skills. They are not following the law by having their offices open when they are actively towing, a requirement the police officer pointed out to us and to them by phone. Making customers wait until NOON to get their cars is UNACCEPTABLE. My email to Star-Bulletin editor Richard Borrecca (see attached) suggests that 24-7 Towing may not even be a legitimate business entity. Kakua Line Editor June Watanabe whom I contacted also suggests the towing charges are usury and far more than should be reasonably charged.

I have already begun to distribute this horrible story via the internet and have posted the account on FACEBOOK which was distributed to an additional 400+ recipients most of which are computer supply-using college students. It was distributed to all the members of the Pearl Harbor Rotary Club. (See attached email responses.) I do not intend to stop with my campaign against COMP USA until you refund the money to Lily Chou discontinue your tow service with 24-7 Towing. The Rotary Club has offered to send it out nationally for a national boycott of COMP USA (see attached email).

I intend to alert the local Media, members of the House of Representatives, members of the State Senate, all Hawaii Rotarians, Tourism offices, Consumer Protection Agencies, Better Business Bureaus, ComplaintsBoard.com and every other avenue and source of consumer complaints available to me. I will not stop until you comply with my requests to stop doing business with that disreputable towing company, which bullies and verbally abuses tiny Chinese immigrants and college students. I will not stop until you refund the out-of-pocket expenses to Lily Chou. I will not stop.

I look forward to hearing from you today. I am available to pick up our reimbursement checks at noon today. Please call me when they are ready for pick up.

Va
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Comments

  • No
      28th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    "Both Lily and my daughter "broke the parking lot law" by parking at COMP USA and leaving the premises. That's true and COMP USA was certainly within their rights to have the cars towed. There were signs clearly posted, just like there is at Safeway in Manoa."

    Right there says it all. End of discussion.

  • No
      28th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    "I demand you reimburse us for the cost of the towing fees at $195 for each car, and gas money of $15 for the 30 -mile trip to Waipahu and back."

    "I look forward to hearing from you today. I am available to pick up our reimbursement checks at noon today. Please call me when they are ready for pick up."

    Back it Up ~ Got a legitimate reason why they need to pay your daughter back the money? When yet she was the one at fault and not CompUSA.

    * Good Luck *
    Noelani

  • Co
      28th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    While I don't think CompUSA "owes" you a refund of the towing charge (as you wrote, CompUSA was within its right to have those cars towed), I do think it raises a significant issue for store management to consider.

    I'll bet 99% of those who are towed will claim that they had "just" run across the street for something and was "just about" to make a huge purchase at CompUSA. I'm sure the actual percentage of those telling the truth is much smaller. Is it worth (over)zealously enforcing the parking policy, given the risk of impacting actual customers who genuinely intended to shop at CompUSA? Personally, I don't think so.

    Good luck. This was very informative and I'm hoping CompUSA will reexamine its enforcement policy and their contract with that towing company.

  • Ti
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    They don't owe anyone anything. All cause your daughter and the other lady didn't want to pay for street parking or for parking at Restraint Row, they got towed and have to pay for it. If they had followed the simple rules, they wouldn't have been towed.

    Perhaps your daughters distress wasn't because they towed her car, but just maybe because it was totally her fault and she realized that maybe one day she'd have to learn how to read and follow directions. That isn't COMP USA's fault.

  • As
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    Hello. I am a COMP USA employee and I to include my views on this article.

    COMP USA is a privately owned company and also happens to own the parking lot that your daughter parked in(if that wasn't already obvious). How would you like it if a total stranger came into your garage and parked only to walk across the street for a venti mocha frappaccino?

  • Fr
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    Cry me a river. And the Oscar goes to Charlene...what a sob story. Your complaint is ridiculous as it is long and boring. The fact is, no matter how many people have read your complaint, no matter how many people boycott CompUSA, it will still stand. The Honolulu store is one of the top in the company and will not shut down from losing a few customers. Especially customers who only buy earbuds. What do you expect is going to happen in this boycott? CompUSA is the only computer store in town, where am I going to go? Bestbuy who's selection is not as great since their focus is on Home Electronics? Office Max or Office Depot who's focus is office supplies? Take my business to somewhere else...where? Where can I go on Oahu that wont eat up all my gas since I live in town? The funny thing is you want everyone to boycott this fine establishment, when in actuality...CompUSA is boycotting customers like Lily and your Daughter.

    It appears that you are more upset with the towing company rather than CompUSA. The store contracts them as well as the lot attendants. It is not CompUSA's fault that they are in Waipahu or that they treated you poorly or that he was "ugly". So why boycott CompUSA? I understand that you are upset and I would be too if I had a daughter that was going to college and couldn't read signs or follow directions. You want a reimbursement? I would go back to your daughters high school and demand the four years of tuition back because you would probably get more from that them then you will from CompUSA. It is not their fault that you are unhappy. The store hires the lot attendants to do what they do which is to catch people parking and going across the street. Your daughter and Lily did park there and maybe they were going to return when the store opened but I'm sure that the lot attendants didn't know that. They see what they see and they were just doing their job. Thats what the store pays them for. There are numerous signs all around the parking lot stating that parking is for "CompUSA customers only". Keyword ONLY. It doesn't state that the lot is for people to park and go get coffee and breakfast and then come back. You cant expect the lot attendants to know if they were really going to return or not. The lot attendants were practicing the "good neighbor" policy because they were protecting customers cars. I know people who have gotten there cars broken into in that parking lot during business hours. It has happened frequently to many people during the years it has been open. CompUSA management states that there were no break ins while the lot attendants were present. Sadly, they had to did get rid of the lot attendants due to various reasons and two days later a car was broken into again. With no lot attendants, free parking abusers and criminals are free to come and go as they please. With more illegal cars in the lot, there are more chances for these criminals to strike. We can thank you for your little yet loud complaints which in turn will boost the crime rate in Honolulu.

    It always sucks to be towed but majority of the time the driver is at fault. If I park on the street and my meter expires and I get towed, its my own fault. Rest assure I will not be sending out an email to all my friends and family to boycott the street. As ridiculous as it sounds...thats what you sound like. I was born and raised in Manoa. Manoa is a shopping center, not a private establishment so you are comparing apples and oranges. Everywhere in Manoa has free parking but mostly every establishment around or in downtown, people have to pay.

    Your big thing is the practice of being a good neighbor. So now that CompUSA has gotten rid of their lot attendants, the free parking abusers will come back, theft in the lot will return and true genuine CompUSA patrons like myself may not have a place to park or feel safe in the parking lot. Because of you CompUSA may start charging for parking as alternative ways to monitor their lot. Real CompUSA customers will singlehandedly be thanking you if that happens. My suggestion is to park at the Bishop Museum because "good neighbor" Charlene, the big Director of Operations over there wont tow you. Beware though...people from Waipahu are not welcomed there...you may scare good old Charlene.

    Poor Lily. Thanks for letting us know her weight...I think it really helped your point. I feel for her cause I am also Chinese and I know a dollar goes a long way. Lets just say that if I had a dime for every immigrant I've seen that causes an uproar in any store, I would be a millionaire. And if I was a millionaire you know what I would do? I would buy an unscrupulous towing company. Thats where the money is right! I've been in the CompUSA customer service line numerous times and I've seen a lot of foreign people causing a raucous and being loud an obnoxious. "I no get my ribbit" (Translation: I didn't get my rebate because I didn't follow the instructions so they didn't send me my money so please help me cause I cannot help myself). Its simple...read and follow directions. If everyone just read what they're supposed to read and grasp and understanding of it then the world would be a better place. People would get their rebates and people's cars would not get towed. I will let Lily off easy since she isn't so foolish to send out a email blast telling everyone to boycott CompUSA. Or maybe she did and it was all in Chinese and nobody understood it...nevertheless I've never seen it.

    Go ahead and email all your friends, the BBB, the starbulletin, the mayor, the president, the Muppets, the Smurfs, Janet, Michael, LaToya and Tito and let them know what a travesty you have endured. Do what you got to do. Ironically, you are just informing everyone of your daughters ignorance and how she didn't follow the rules and the signs posted. And for some reason, you hold CompUSA responsible. I think you're doing more harm to yourself then trying to make your point. My suggestion to you and your family Charlene, when you go back to shop at CompUSA, and you probably will, shop at the Pearl City store...its much closer to Waipahu.

    You should just focus your anger on the tow company and try to put them out of business and I bet, you will gain more followers. By the looks of the comments above mine, other people feel the same way. I am upset cause you are taking your anger out on the wrong business. You're right nobody should be treated like that and I sympathize for you on that note. 24 7 towing are the ones you seem truely mad at. Please rewrite this garbage and focus your anger on them and maybe you wont make so many people upset from posting your complaint.


    By the way...loved the dinosaur exhibit! Amazing...just awesome!

  • Mz
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    While you have a right to be mad that your daughter got towed, you also stated as quoted above NUMEROUS times that she was in the wrong. So I'm assuming that gives you every right to pass the buck onto CompUSA to take full responsibility for your daughters lack of respect to this particular vendors rules.

    Furthermore it isn't anyone elses responsibility to teach your daughter and that poor little 100lb Chinese IMMIGRANT (omgwtfbbq) to understand that they are parking on PRIVATE property with signs posted saying that anyone leaving the property will be towed, probably will be towed. I'm sure I'm mistaken and that your daughter totally ignored the millions of signs posted to get a cup of joe and probably dismissed them as an idle threat. She's probably more cautious of where she parks now. She also probably learned that signs are there for a reason.

    I'm positive though that you overlooked the fact that while 5% of people probably go back to shop at CompUSA after leaving, 95% of people that leave probably never come back. Those spaces could be used by REAL customers who SHOP at CompUSA. Also as posted above how are the lot attendents to know your daughter is coming back? Did she inform them she was leaving? Highly doubtful. Did Lily tell them she was leaving? Doubt it...

    Poor Lily, not able to eat for a week nor was she able to buy computer supplies because she broke a law. Wow, has the world really turned into a pity party for rule breakers? Does this mean we'll break out charity baskets for car theives? OMG they totally forgot it wasn't their car. They shouldn't go to jail for that! It wasn't their fault! And while that really isn't something similar to compare, the moral is; if you do something wrong, there's always going to be a penalty for it. Nothing to do but suck it up. I'm assuming anyone who reads your post and can comprehend 90% of it will not side with you as far as boycotting CompUSA.

    Now the tow company on the other hand was in the wrong. Nothing to say here about them.

    And while you make it seem as if Waipahu is the worst place on Earth (highly unlikely). I doubt the residents there wouldn't take kindly to the fact that you think their area is "unsafe and scary". Wow, way to go. First bashing a company for upholding their posted rules because your daughter made a careless mistake. Then boycotting them and demanding a refund for it. While you really shouldn't get a refund nor should Lily the 100lb immigrant from China, you should go after the tow company with tooth and nail. No one should be treated like that, you're right. But if 85% of your post is of you being mad at the tow company, how does that make you boycott CompUSA? I'm sure if your daughter DROVE to the coffee shop, then went back to buy her 10 dollar ear buds, this whole post wouldn't exist. And you'd still be shopping at CompUSA. Wow, if you follow directions, most times nothing bad will happen to you. If you don't, nothing goes right. Ironic...

    Oh well. Assumptions don't make the world go round. They make peoples pockets bigger. You're out 200 bucks for the tow, and I'm out 10 minutes of typing and another 5 minutes for reading your rant. Can I get a refund on that? I thought it wan't a just rant and it was a little drawn out. Much like my reply. =D

  • Sh
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    I hope this makes u feel better... Comp USA in North Richland Hills in Texas is going out of business... and I know more stores are to come... lol... For those that don't agree with you, just remember what goes around comes around...

  • Ic
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    Hey, isn't comp usa a private company and not a shopping center??? How would you like it if i came and parked in your garage and walked across the street? It's the same thing.

    I'm a frequent shopper at comp usa and i have seen the ample amount of signs posted in the parking lot. I have no problem with following the rules and you shouldn't either.

    Love,
    Shopper

  • Ic
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    there was a lot of things that they left out in this letter... i was there and i witnessed everything... here's a revised letter... there are two sides to every story... and i can't believe no one intended to question compusa instead bashing on them... shame on all of you who thinks this woman is right because she isn't...

    Please BOYCOTT COMPUSA for their BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICIES AT THEIR ALA MOANA STORE.

    Here's my story: On Friday, my daughter, a college senior home on spring break, went to COMP USA at Ala Moana in her rental car to purchase ear buds to use with her IPOD for her flight back to DC later that afternoon. She arrived at the store before it opened, and so with some time on her hands, headed across the street to get a cuppa joe and something for breakfast.

    **her daughter claims that she comes every weekend and wanted to say "hi" before she went on her flight... when confronted on who she came by to say "hi" to... she changed the story and said that she came by to buy some ear buds... now why would they leave that out???

    Another woman, Lily, who is a Chinese immigrant from Taiwan, also did the same thing. She was there to buy school and computer supplies for her son who attends UH and hopes to become a doctor. Lily is a cook in a Waikiki restaurant and speaks broken English. She's middle-aged, about 5 feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. She arrived before the store opened, too, and so went to the Vietnamese sandwich shop across the street to get something to eat before the store opened.

    **wat does lily's weight have to do with any of this??? she admitted to the store manager that she went across the street to meet a friend.

    I live in Manoa where we enjoy a GOOD NEIGHBOR policy for parking as a common courtesy for area businesses. We shop at Safeway, stop at the bank or the ATM, hop across the street to Starbucks, or head down to Manoa Valley Theatre all without fear that our cars will be towed. My daughter was clearly unsuspecting of CompUSA's aggressive tow policy at their Ala Moana Street Store when she slipped across the street for coffee.

    **living in Manoa and living in Downtown are two different things... why would they compare Manoa to Downtown??? everyone knows how BUSY downtown is and getting by with FREE parking is everybody's dream.

    When Lily and my daughter returned to shop when the store had opened, their cars were GONE. Towed by an unscrupulous bully who runs 24-7 Towing in Waipahu. (More about him later.) They were told they would have to go to WAIPAHU, nearly 20 miles away, to claim their cars and would not be able to do so until NOON! We were later told by the police that the noon pickup policy is against the law. If they are actively towing, they must be open for car pick up. This was not the case at 24-7 Towing.

    **20 miles??? give me a break... it's only 12 miles... talk about over exaggerating.

    Lily made a big scene in the store. She raised the roof. Understandably. She had come to spend money and instead had the unlucky circumstance to be towed for the privilege. She had no way to get Waipahu--and a cab ride would be more than $100. The store manager called the police when she complained loudly about their BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICY inside the store. The manager didn't want the other customers to hear about the towing incident. The police officer arrived and escorted the little woman out of the store, where she joined my crying daughter who awaited me at curbside for a ride.

    **$100??? I know a few cab drivers and was notified that it would only be about $40... and about the store manager calling the police... I guess they forgot to mention that lily was trying to ATTACK the manager but the parking lot attendant was holding her back... Why are they leaving out all the bad stuff that they did??? Go figure.

    I can assure you, Lily was no menace or threat to society. And she did not deserve to have her car towed or to be publicly humiliated by the uncaring COMP USA store manager who accepts no responsibility for his BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICY. I wonder if he gets a kick- back for every car he refers to 24-7 Towing? 24-7 Towing charges you $195 (CASH ONLY) to get your car back, but the police officer suggested to us that this unscrupulous company often tries to get more. (That's nearly three-day's wages for poor Lily the cook.) Seeing my daughter's obvious distress, the officer called the tow company himself and informed them that were required to be open before noon and reiterated the agreed-upon price to the tow company over the phone so that my daughter and Lily would not be cheated yet again. 24-7 Towing has a reputation for bad business practices as we would later learn from the second police officer to come to our aid in Waipahu. Yes... Our sad story gets worse.

    I picked up my distraught daughter (who did not make a scene in the store., but stood crying at the curb) and as a good Samaritan offered the little Chinese lady a ride to Waipahu, too. On the 40-minute ride to Waipahu we learned about her young ambitious son and the computer supplies she had hoped to buy for him that morning. Now she would have to use the cash to pay to the tow service instead. She lamented that she would not have the money to buy groceries and would have to go without food for the rest of the week. As it turns out, her spontaneous trip to the sandwich store before COMP USA opened was the most expensive Vietnamese sandwich she has ever eaten.

    **it's funny how lily said that she went to go meet a friend across the street and then changed her mind after we told her that that is why we towed her car... she said that she was gonna buy her son a computer with only $200... HELLO... computers don't cost no $200... what a crock of ###.

    We did not have the cash in hand to get the car out of hock and had to detour to a bank to get some money.

    We only thought we were having a bad day until we got to 24-7 Towing. The officer at COMP USA had called from the store to tell him he had to have the compound open, but when we arrived, there was only a locked gate with an obnoxious sign advising people they were being videotaped to be later used in court, and a phone number. We called the phone number and were told we would have to wait 30 more minutes for the owner to get there. He knew 45 minutes earlier that we were coming and the police officer at COMP USA had advised him to have the office opened, and still, he had not opened the tow compound.

    24-7 Towing is located on a dead-end street in a rundown neighborhood side street in Waipahu. It is not a place, as a woman, you feel especially safe, even in broad daylight. We locked ourselves in the car and waited. Lily and my daughter chatted in Chinese. When the owner drove up, we got out, showed him our money and our picture IDs and asked him to please get our cars. We were not rude or unruly. He was apparently angry that he had to come in early. He went inside the gate, locked it with a heavy padlock, and gruffly told us we had to wait outside while he did the "paperwork". We waited and waited. He never returned. We called him and asked for our cars and to please come to the gate. He hung up on us. That's when we called the Waipahu police station (not 911) to explain our situation and to ask for help.

    **wow... why u gotta put Waipahu down like that??? it may be rundown but that's what some people call home...

    My daughter had a flight to catch and needed to return the rental car. We had told the 24-7 Towing guy this information, too. We didn't have time to waste. We called more than once to the police station to explain and complain that we couldn't get our cars. The police then tried calling the tow company and instructed them to open up and give us our cars back. The three of us waited some more inside our locked car with our cell phones. I honked once to see if we could get him to come back to the gate to talk to us. He never came. In our next phone call to the Waipahu police station, we requested an officer to come to the scene. We needed their help. This was going nowhere. The officer said he could not dispatch an officer to the scene from his station and we needed to place a call to the emergency 911 line. So we called 911. Twice. To get an officer to come help us get our cars back.

    The officer showed up and the 24-7 Tow company employee finally came outside. He verbally abused us in front of the officer and told us we had been unruly and trouble makers. Every other word out of his mouth was an insult to us. The man washing his car at the apartment next the compound told us he would be our witness if we needed, and that we had not ever been unruly in the whole time we had sat in our car. The police officer told us the 24-7 Tow company has a long history of bad business practices, and had recently been in a physical altercation because the owner is so rude to the customers that come to get their cars. The officer also confirmed with the tower, without us even asking him to, that he was only to charge us $195 and not a dollar more. The officer told us his rude behavior had gotten him assaulted just recently and they had history of complaints about him. After observing how we were being treated, the officer told the tow guy "a jerk and an a**-hole" in front of us. I thought it a well-deserved description. We all agreed. Even the neighbor washing his car. The towing employee then took Lily's money and let her get her car. It was a 5-minute transaction that he had made us wait over an hour to complete.

    But he reserved his most obnoxious behavior for my young daughter (who is 5' 3" and weighs under 125 pounds). He refused to give her the car because it was a rental, and by law he did not have to release it to anyone but the registered owner. He told us he would accept a fax from the rental company but then refused to allow us to go get the contract from the rental car and refused to bring us the contract from the car. We turned to the officer and literally begged him to help us get our car back. I begged the officer to help us. The officer said he was within his rights to refuse to give us the car, but that he was really being an "a**hole and a jerk" and he could now understand why the guy had been beaten before. He explained politely and apologetically that legally, there was nothing he could do for us. The tow guy was really relishing his power trip and continued to hurl insults at us and abuse us verbally. I asked the officer what I could do about this and he recommended we file reports with the Better Business Bureau.

    We asked the officer to please stay with us because we were now afraid to be alone in this neighborhood with this obviously aggressive and abusive person. He stayed while we called the car company. The car company called the 24-7 Towing person while we waited on the line to see if he would accept a fax from Thrifty, which is a common practice when tow companies nab rental cars. The 24-7 towing company man refused. The Thrifty sales person called the towing guy, "a real jerk." Thrifty had to dispatch a driver with authorization to come to the compound to get the car and told us to wait for him to arrive.

    We were afraid to stay at the tow yard alone, and left to wait safely inside a local Jack-in-the-Box. We waited another 40 minutes for Daniel to arrive. We told him we were too scared to wait at the tow yard and could he meet us down the street. He did. We gave him the $195. He got the car and drove it off the tow yard and down the street to where we waited. Daniel was a big bruiser of a guy and he didn't take any lip from "the jerk." He handed us our keys and the change and wished us on our way.

    The whole ordeal took us nearly 3 hours- it was almost noon before we finally got our car. We had left the COMP USA store at about 9:15 a.m. We were both very visibly shaken and distraught. My daughter cried and cried. I got angrier and angrier. I decided to write this message and send it to as many friends on the internet as possible. I called the assistant store manager and complained bitterly. I got the name of Ken Elton who is the manager. I will be calling him on Monday. I got the name of the Division Manager Louie Santos and intend to contact him on Monday to complain as well. I will demand that they change towing practices and their towing service. I seriously doubt my calls will have any effect as COMP USA, because by their very aggressive tow practices, they have already illustrated that customer service and convenience is clearly NOT A PRIORITY with them. I just want them to know the kind of people they are snagging with their AGGRESSIVE TOW PRACTICES. And I question why any REPUTABLE company would want to do business with the likes of those losers at 24-7 Towing. If they do continue their AGGRESSIVE BAD NEIGHBOR TOWING PRACTICES, then I seriously recommend they choose a better-run business closer to their downtown site that doesn't charge usury prices.

    **"they have already illustrated that customer service and convenience is clearly NOT A PRIORITY with them"... customer service and convenience is a #1 priority for our SHOPPING customers... as for those perpetrators who's abusing our FREE parking... they're just inconveniencing our customers by taking up FREE parking.

    And that's why I want you to PLEASE, PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS SITUATION and PLEASE, PLEASE BOYCOTT COMP USA for their BAD NEIGHBOR AGGRESSIVE TOW POLICIES.

    Lily, my daughter and I made a USA store again. As long as I live, I will never shop with COMP USA. We encourage all of you who believe in GOOD NEIGHBOR PARKING POLICIES to do the same.

    Nobody deserves to have an experience like that because they left their car in a lot to buy a sandwich or a cup of coffee before the store was even open for business.

    Both Lily and my daughter "broke the parking lot law" by parking at COMP USA and leaving the premises. That's true and COMP USA was certainly within their rights to have the cars towed. There were signs clearly posted, just like there is at Safeway in Manoa. The perpetrators both clearly intended to return when the store was open to make their purchases and leave, and were not all-day parkers trying to avoid parking fees, whom I suspect is the target of COMP USA's AGGRESSIVE BAD NEIGHBOR PARKING POLICIES.

    Instead they are snagging unwitting customers trying to kill a little time before the store opens for business.

    24-7 Towing absolutely deserves to be run out of business for their rude, abusive, intimidating and unscrupulous business practices. People who know me know I am not easily intimidated. But this man was mean. Mean and ugly and verbally abusive to the 3 of us when had no cause to be, except spite. I ask again. What kind of customer service oriented company would want to be in a business partnership with the likes of this horrible man?

    Please pass this along to everyone in your email lists.

    It's important. And please don't shop at COMP USA anymore. Take your business elsewhere!

    Mahalo
    Charlie - mscharlie@hawaii.rr.com

    **is compusa wrong? yes or no

  • Ic
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    Sharon, Sharon, Sharon...

    "I hope this makes u feel better... Comp USA in North Ricland Hills in Texas is going out of business... and I know more stores are to come... lol... For those that don't agree with you, just remember what goes around comes around..."

    Are we even on the same planet... what does compusa in north Richland hills closing have to do with any of this... try hooked on phonics and then reading again... and by the way... I DON'T AGREE

  • Mr
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    You should not even park there when your not supposed too it's private property duh!!! And how you gonna boycott compusa anyways? With complaints?

  • Em
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    For the people that actually walked off the lot and got towed.

    In my humble opinion, if you walk off the lot regardless of your intentions when you come back, that it is lawful for them to tow cars. Why? You are not a customer of the store during the time that you are not shopping in the store. And how do those guys possibly know and how can you guarantee that you're actually going to buy something when you come back?

    Here's a fair warning, if your going to park at ANY stores lot, make sure you are actually GOING IN the store and not WALKING OFF the lot. If it's closed, DON'T PARK THERE BECAUSE IT'S STILL CLOSED!

    Thank you.

  • Co
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    While I agree that CompUSA was within its right to tow (and that we're getting only one melodramatic side of the story), I think the policy issue from CompUSA's standpoint is much less black-and-white.

    Think of the van-cam fiasco a few years ago to see how complex the question of policy enforcement can be. Anytime you speed even 1 MPH over the posted limit, technically you should be ticketed. After all, you're violating the law. The van-cams provided a financial incentive for the enforcement agency to ticket as many violators as possible.

    Same thing is probably happening at CompUSA -- the tow company provides free or low-cost parking control and makes its money by towing cars. You can't blame them for trying to tow as many cars as legally possible.

  • Ga
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    I agree with the complaints. Compusa Should have 1st put a note on the car that it was Illegally parked. Then after a few hours after the store opened, if car was not moved, then tow. If it is true that they were there before opening hours, Compusa was not deprived of the use of the parking spot by other customers. If these people were in fact waiting for the store to open, then they would have been there soon after it opened, conducted their business and left. Problem solved. If not, then a few hours of Patience by Compusa would have saved them from a complete Public Relations Blunder.

    Next: Compusa now should make a public statement that they will no longer utilize this Towing Co. anymore due to their unscrupulous business practices. I will be Boycotting Compusa until I hear that they are addressing these issues.

    ps: Why doesn't Compusa chain their 2 driveways if their so worried?

  • Fo
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    First, I want to state that I am a former employee of CompUSA and specifically a former employee of Mr. Ken Elton. To say that we've had a falling out due to differences in the way customer service should be handled is putting it mildly. I'd like nothing more than to see him removed from his position at the store - he is the anti-Aloha Spirit.

    While I don't necessarily agree with the reason for boycotting CompUSA, I have been witness to poor customer service at that location both as an employee and a customer. As such, I do not shop there and if I choose to buy something at CompUSA, I'll drive in to Pearlcity from downtown to do so.

    Charlene while I empathize with you, your complaint really seems to have been written in the heat of the moment. I think if you were to reflect on that days events, you'd see that CompUSA shouldn't be the target of your anger but rather 24/7 Towing. Since your complaint seems empassioned with anger, it is hard to take seriously because you color the letter with emotional rhetoric. Some of the points you make do not need to be mentioned - Lily's weight, the scary condition of Waipahu, Lily being unable to buy groceries for the week. It takes away from the legitimacy of your complaint.

    You'd probably have better support had you focused your complaint on the treatment you received from them (24/7 Towing) and then asking that CompUSA consider changing the company that tows cars off their lot.

    ..and even then, CompUSA was still within their rights to have those cars towed. Oh, and their 'aggressive towing practices' are no more aggressive than anyone elses.

    In a post a few above mine, someone states that they were there to witness the events at the store. If indeed, Lily went across the street to meet a friend and your daughter went across the street for a coffee and possibly neither were intending to shop at CompUSA, then I'm sorry but having the cars towed was their fault. Not CompUSA's.

    Again, I think you have a legitimate complaint against 24/7 Towing and I think you should persue a calm, logical and well thought out campaign against them. It's okay to be angry and use that anger to help drive your point home but not at the cost letting that emotion get the better of you.

  • Ic
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    LATEST NEWS... i just found out that Ms. Charlene Aldinger is getting sued by Bishop Museum because she was on company time making all of these accusations... HAHAHA... also... her daughter finally admitted that she really didn't go get a cup of coffee and that she really went to the immigration center... HAHAHA... what were u thinking, charlene??? like sharon (one of the agreeing commenter) said, "what goes around comes around"... and you know what... it came around and took a huge chunk outta your ###... HAHAHA...

  • Ic
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    ps: Why doesn't Compusa chain their 2 driveways if their so worried?

    We do chain it over night... but we do have employees who work at 5a... chaining our driveways is not the point... the point is that they abused the parking lot and their paying for the consequences... boycott all you want because we're boycotting customer's like you who only listen to one side of the story... good riddens!!!

  • Ga
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    Aggressive bad neighbor towing practices!

    PS: Why doesn't Compusa chain their 2 driveways if their so worried?

    Good Ridden's to YOU. Your the one closing stores. Your the one loosing out by the Boycott and the lost business. It's just that same attitude again.

  • Fr
      29th of Mar, 2007
    0 Votes

    Take it easy Gay Feyerman.

    Like IcanNOTbelieve stated... the lady is making false accusations. Like most liars, her story has changed and changed which brings me closer to the truth. If you want to boycott CompUSA cause you believed what Charlie said then thats fine. But from what it sounds like, Charlie is not to credible.

    Did you go to the same school that Charlie's daughter went to? Its losing not LOOSING.

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