Residents frustrated with local towing company

Want company to do better business

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 2:55pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) - A local towing company is under fire from a group of frustrated residents living in the LSU area. Some say it's time their business practices get a little better.

Spencer Drury's car has ended up in the Riverside Towing impound three times. "It's only about making money, and making quick money. You see them operating. They're going 90 to nothing to get as many cars as they can," says Drury.

When his sister's car got towed by the company back in May, it was the last straw. "You paint us into a corner and expect us to just come over here and hand over the money. Can you run your business a little better?"

Drury says he did what any frustrated student would do. He started a Facebook page. "It's called Make Riverside Towing Pay because we pay repeatedly," says Drury. "In the first few weeks, I had 2,000 people. It was like, 'oh my god, we have a place where we can voice our opinions here.'"

Since it's launch in May, the page has racked up more than 4,000 supporters. "Roughly 10% of the student body is a member of the group. It's affecting the whole campus."

Complaints keep piling in. "He towed my car car right in front of me," says Landon Guy. "No car, no phone. I was at the mercy of strangers."

"The rudeness. It is instantaneous," Spencer says, giving examples of complaints that keep showing up. "Only cash and no change. That's kind of sketchy to say the least. I'm going to get out $240 because ATMs come in $20 increments, so I come back and they tell me they can't give me change. Where's my extra $12 going? That needs to go in goodwill in an accounting book."

The Facebook page isn't the only place where Riverside sees bad reviews. The Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau gives the company an F on their website. "The company has a record of unanswered complaints," says Jim Stalls with the Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau. "They did not respond to the Bureau to allegations made by the customer."

In the last three years, concerned citizens have filed 19 complaints with the BBB against the company, according to stalls. None of them were answered. Right now, there are four pending complaints that need to be answered by the towing business.

"It's a frustration dealing with a company that doesn't feel like they need to respond," says Stalls. Stalls says there are other companies in their 12 parish jurisdiction that don't respond to complaints, but he says the majority of companies do.

The accusations don't end there. State Police and the Louisiana Public Service Commission have also recieved a number of complaints. LPSC mainly deals with the rates. They send all other complaints to State Police. As a result of state police investigations, Riverside Towing has been fined several times.

"I don't understand why it's allowed to exist and I think it's a tragedy," says Guy.

Drury says he's written letters, sent emails, and made phone calls to local lawmakers. Although some lawmakers have responded, they've directed him the Public Service Commision and the Attorney General's office. So far, his complaints have gone unanswered.

"Our argument isn't whether towing is illegal. It's the manner in which they do it."

It's a battle some say is far from over. "I want them taken down completely. I think something has to be done about it," says Guy.

Riverside Towing employees say they run their business by the book. They say the company has years of video documenting every car they've ever towed and the confrontations that come later. Employees say many of the complaints are biased and untrue. Instead, they believe there's no one better to do the job.

Check out the Make Riverside Towing Page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=119288624767784

You can also see the letters sent from Spencer to several different agencies and lawmakers about Riverside Towing attached below. Also attached is a response from Senator Dan Claitor.

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