We were recently contacted by someone towed by Cortez Towing, Inc., from a private apartment complex in San Bernardino County.
An initial investigation revealed the tow truck driver was apparently out of his truck looking for cars to tow. He supposedly gave the apartment manager a form to sign for a tow, but did not provide any photo or proof of the violation. He then towed the vehicle from a handicapped parking place.
When a tow truck is looking for cars to tow, instead of being called by someone else to do a tow, some may call this predatory towing.
It was later determined the vehicle was lawfully parked in the handicapped parking.
According to documents obtained from the towing company, Cortez Towing seems to have wrongfully towed the vehicle, and also violated Vehicle Code section 22568 which has strict requirements for what written authorization is required before this type of tow occurs.
The authorization was defective. By law, a defective authorization can automatically entitle the vehicle owner to damages of four times the towing and storage fees.
The initial investigation also suggested Cortez Towing is unlawfully conducting business in California. The corporation's ability to operate may have been previously suspended by the State of California.
If you were towed by Cortez Towing you may be entitled to damages because:Damages can include the value determined by a judge or jury for conversion of your vehicle, statutory damages for violation of the Vehicle Code, and punitive damages.
- You were the victim of a predatory tow.
- Cortez Towing does not have a legal written authorization to tow your vehicle.
- Cortez Towing is illegally operating.
If Cortez Towing, the DMV, or anyone on their behalf mailed you a notice of pending lien sale of your vehicle, you need to take certain action to stop the sale. Attorney's fees may also be recovered in this situation from Cortez Towing.
Please note that many towing companies have similar names.
This is the company you need to be on the lookout for, operating in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in California:
Cortez Towing, Inc.
9410 Mission Boulevard
Riverside, California 92509
To pursue a claim you will most likely be in small claims court.
Be prepared, as the tow company will be sending a representative who likely has been well coached and is experienced defending towing issues.
Virtually all towing plaintiffs in small claims court miss claims not mentioned in the Vehicle Code. Paying $200 for a tow and only hoping to recover $400 for double damages is not a great claim.
In our exclusive Small Claims Towing Kit you will get:
- How to stop a pending lien sale for free.
- The surprising law you've never heard of which causes a towing company to fofeit all towing and storage fees - in addition to the Vehicle Code penalties.
- How to max out the $10,000 in damages allowed in small claims court.
- How to get from the DMV the actual name of the towing company's owner and the right business address so you aren't quickly bounced out of court by making a mistake. (Good luck searching the DMV site trying to get this information.)
- Exact code references and information you need to prove your claim. It is a California towing laws summary and handy reference to owed penalties.
This is information you are not going to find anywhere else or by searching the Internet.
The focus, going further than this page, are private property towing laws in California.
All for less than ten bucks. It's a great deal and you can get it here.
California Towing Laws
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