Digital Towing and Recovery / Unethical business practices
On Tuesday, August 26, 2009 at approximately 9:00 pm I parked in the parking lot for "The Motford Shops" at approximately 1603 Montford Drive Charlotte, NC. When I parked my car there was a man sitting on a brick wall dividing the parking lot from another. We walked past the man and went into the Roasting Company at 1521 Montford Dr, Charlotte, NC. When we returned to the car, the man who was sitting on the wall informed us that we could not leave because there was a boot on my car. He said that it would be $50 to remove the boot now, or the car would be towed and I could get it in the morning for approximately $125 more. The man was dressed in street clothes and the situation appeared to be a hustle. As such, I informed the man that I did not have $50. He said that the tow truck was on the way and I could then wait. He said that this was a private parking lot that was prominently marked and that I could not park there without being a patron to the shops. My boyfriend explained that we were getting dinner and then picking up food for a friend at the only shop that was open in the plaza. The man said it didn't matter, that we would still have to pay for the tow since we did not go there first. While my boyfriend went to check the legitimacy of this operation at the shop I witnessed him calling the tow company and reporting my car. My boyfriend then returned, and upon finding that this was a legitimate company from the store clerk, offered to pay the $50 boot fee. The man then refused payment and said that since the tow truck was already called and we had initially said no that the car would have to be towed. This was a blatant lie as payment was never refused; I just mentioned that I did not have $50 on me. Also, we went to see the sign that was posted at the front of the parking lot, which stated that boots would be removed anytime upon payment. My boyfriend pointed this out to the man, who once again refused payment to remove the boot. It was not until the tow company arrived, and I notified the driver that I wanted him to be a witness that we were offering payment to remove the boot, and that payment was being refused. At this point the man back peddled and accepted $50 to remove the boot. I then asked him for his business card and name, but he refused to give me this information. My complaints are: (1) The sign was not posted so that at night time, when turning left into the parking lot it could be viewed prominently. There were other signs in the lot, on individual spots on the building side of the parking lot. However, I parked on the street side and there were no signs there. As such, I did not see ANY signs informing me that the spot that I parked in was illegal. (2) I think that this company used unethical business practices by witnessing an unsuspecting person parking and not informing them. If they really wanted people not to park in the lot they would have informed an unknowing person to move their car, rather than wait until we walked off and then immediately boot the car. In this light, it appears rather that they want people to park in the lot so that they can capitalize off their mistakes, especially when the $50 was offered, and not accepted. It seems a bit like entrapment to me. (3) Upon returning home, I called the company to explain to the manager my concerns and I was spoken to very rudely and hung up on.
Overall, I have received the impression that this company is not in business to earn an honest profit, rather to capitalize off unsuspecting people.