Towing Issues/Proper Signage
My car was towed from a grocery store's private parking lot. I thought I was alright to park because they didn't have a sign at the entrance that I came through. I parked right next to the entrance.
Upon returning to my car three hours after parking and finding my car missing, I see a nearby sign that says "Private Parking". The sign had a bunch of other text on it but it was illegible due to graffiti. I then noticed that there are these signs throughout the parking lot so I read one, it stated that I could be charged a $63 or be towed.
After getting home I did some research, and read in VC 22658 "1) There is displayed, in plain view at all entrances to the property, a sign not less than 17 inches by 22 inches in size, with lettering not less than one inch in height, prohibiting public parking and indicating that vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense, and containing the telephone number of the local traffic law enforcement agency and the name and telephone number of each towing company that is a party to a written general towing authorization agreement with the owner or person in lawful possession of the property. The sign may also indicate that a citation may also be issued for the violation."
1) They don't have signs at all the entrances
2) I measured, and most of the text on their signs is less than 1 inch.
Despite the fact that they do have these signs posted throughout the parking lot, do I have a case because of the two infractions that I stated?
well, as I am a tow truck driver not a lawyer or judge, I have to say that it would all depend on the evidence you presented when you tried to get your money back..
First of all, I am wondering why you parked in that lot and got towed. Did you park there and go elsewhere?
Sometimes "education is expensive"
Now as to the signs with graffiti, I really hate to say that but it does happen and there really is no way to control it or keep it from happening. And the signs do get stolen, torn down by irate customers, or just get old and fall down, so if they are missing there might be a reason.
Now back to the graffiti on the sign. I would say that the place has the signs up for a reason and to control parking, but it might be that they really do not enforce the parking rules much. But they are there (or were) there for a reason. And you found out the penalty for parking there.
Exact size of lettering and such is in the vehicle code (VC 22658) so that the signs are uniform in size, shape and colors, otherwise some company might put up tow away signs the size of a post card. (it has been done in other areas)
Back to issues, signs at each entrances, are good, but there are some parking lots which have separate entrances and exits. I have seen and heard of people going in the exit, and then complaining they did not see the signs. But I do not know what your method of entering the parking lot was and I do not care to get into a fight about it.
As to the case, you always have the right to contest the fines and reason that you were towed, even if you were wrong in parking there by going somewhere else. That is your right, and you can exercise it in small claims court by filing the papers and paying the fees.
But do not forget that you do not have to just single out the tow company because they took your vehicle and made you pay. They were only doing the job which they were directed to do by the property owner, management, or leasing firm.
Yes there is someone else in the picture besides the "big bad tow company" who is involved.
As I said before, evidence is key here and I am not sure how you are going to fight it. Yes pictures are good in court, and you will have to have accurate pictures showing the sign and the measurements of the letters if you decide to go there.
BUT REMEMBER ONE THING...
If you do go to court, and you decide to take the sign down and take it to court, then you are stealing private property and opening up the property to others who park there and can not see a sign or whatever.
That means you could be a party to other lawsuits !!!
Hope this helps you decide what to do.