You fell victim to predatory towing tactics. You call the police, but they say it is a civil matter, and won’t help you. They tell you that your only choice is to take them to civil court. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, if the predatory towing companies have their way in Florida, after July 2019 you will no longer be able to take them to court.
HOW PREDATORY TOWING COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO CHANGE THE LAW
Florida Statute 715.07 allows for people to fight back against predatory towing companies by suing them in civil court. This is possible by a provision in the statute that makes the companies liable for your towing costs, court costs, damages, etc. This law has been on the books since 1976.
Instead of abiding by the law, predatory towing operators have come up with a different idea: they are going to change the law in Tallahassee. As we speak, the Florida legislature is considering a towing lobby sponsored bill to remove all the protections that the law has afforded to the people. And the bill appears to be clearing every committee without opposition.
WHO WOULD WANT TO TAKE AWAY PEOPLE’S ABILITY TO FIGHT BACK WHEN THEY ARE VICTIMIZED BY PREDATORY TOWING PRACTICES?
The answer to this can be found in the public records. Senate bill 1792 (which is the bill that intends to make it easier for towing companies to prey on people) was introduced by Senator Joe Gruters from District 23 in Sarasota. Its house counterpart was introduced by Representatives Stan Mcclain, from Ocala, and Mel Ponder, from Okaloosa.
WHY WOULD A POLITICIAN WANT TO MAKE ITS CONSTITUENTS AN EASIER TARGET OF PREDATORY TOWING PRACTICES?
The answer to this question is not as clear. Politicians are supposed to represent the interests of the people. It is hard to fathom why anyone who represents the people would back a bill that would make it so that people are easier to victimize by towing companies. After all, people are already getting crushed by these predatory companies with the current law in place.
Why would anyone want to legitimize predatory practices against the very people that he or she is supposed to represent? The answer to that is lobbyists. Tracking the progress of these bills gives you a direct look into how special interest groups have taken control of our democracy.
WHO IS BEHIND THESE PREDATORY CHANGES?
The following is a list of the players who are in the open about pushing this bill. There are probably many more players who are in the shadows:
- David Custin (Lobbyist) – Beach Towing Services (Miami Beach towing company)
- Sam Brewer – Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida.
- Jase Diaz (Lobbyist) – Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida.
- Mike Seamon (Lobbyist) – Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida.
Unsurprisingly, the only people in favor of this change in the law is the towing lobby. What is surprising is that with only the towing lobby in support, these bills are swiftly making their way through each committee. The very committees that are supposed to be in place to protect the will of the people.
What’s even more outrageous is that the change in the law is literally to make it so that towing companies who tow illegally cannot be sued. When was the last time that we as a people wanted to change the law to protect bad actors? And why is the towing lobby behind this change, if it proclaims to be a good citizen of our communities?
The answer is simple, towing companies want to continue to victimize you, and they want to be able to do it with impunity. The sad part about it is that they may be able to do it, with the help of your Florida legislator.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
Let the representatives and senators know that you do not like the idea of being preyed upon by predatory towing companies, and that you don’t support these bills.
The Towing bill (Senate Bill 1792) is coming before the Infrastructure and Security Committee on 04/02/19. The people who can vote on that committee are:
- Senator Tom Lee – (850) – 487 – 5020
- Senator Keith Perry – (850) – 487 – 5008
- Senator Aaron Bean – (850) – 487 – 5004
- Senator Janet Cruz – (850) – 487 – 5018
- Senator Ed Hooper – (850) – 487 – 5016
- Senator Travis Hutson – (850) – 487 – 5007
- Senator Linda Stewart – (850) – 487 – 5013
- Senator Annette Taddeo – (850) – 487 – 5040
Give them a call, let them know that predatory towing companies don’t need a change in the law, they need to start following the rules.