Tow companies target cars with expired tag stickers

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Russell Brown was visiting a friend at Foxcroft Apartments in Tampa. He was there just a couple of hours. He had no idea that there was a tow truck driver outside – on patrol.

“I was shocked,” Brown said. “I was like, ‘I know there is no assigned parking here. I know I didn’t park in a handicapped spot.’ I was like, ‘What did I do wrong?'”

It was the sticker on his tag. Brown’s registration was paid, but he forgot to change that pesky yellow tag on his license plate.

It didn’t matter to Professional Towing. It cost Brown $170 in cash  to get the car back. No one at the apartment complex would talk with 8 On Your Side. No one at Professional Towing would talk either.

Brown said he was told the company towed eight other cars from the same complex, all for expired tags.

At Professional Towing’s Nebraska Avenue lot, two sisters were trying to get their car back. It had also been towed from another apartment complex, also for expired tags. In that case, the owner had to fly in from Venezuela to pay $1,200 to help her sister get the car back.

There are a lot of angry people, but Kyle Cockream, of Hillsborough County’s Public Transportation Commission, said it’s not illegal. Apartment companies can tow for anything they want to because it’s private property. And, get this, they don’t have to post the rules.

That doesn’t make it right.

“Probably a better idea and a better business practice and a more ethical practice is for these apartment complexes to let residents know what those rules are, what the parameters are,” Cockream said.

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