Connecticut Tow Truck Company Faces Serious Allegations of Extortion Following Attempted Tow
Controversial "Drop Fee" charges are featured in nearly all complaints filed against Waterbury Towing & Recovery, Inc. and makes up major portion of the company's revenue, raising serious questions.
According to the complaint, submitted to the state agency a few days ago, a tow truck bearing the markings of Waterbury Towing & Recovery, Inc, and one of its drivers was in the process of hooking up the Mercedes Benz C300 in a parking lot at Harris Circle in Waterbury, when the owner – a new resident of the complex who was in the process of moving into one of the apartments that very same night -- rushed outside after someone told him his car was being towed.
It turned out the parking permit sticker had broken loose from the vehicle's windshield and landed on the dashboard, most likely as a direct result of the day's scorching heat, which had reached almost 100 degrees.
The vehicle's owner said both he and the truck driver calmly picked up the parking permit sticker from the dashboard and snapped it back to the windshield.
But seismic shock and outrage soon followed as the tow truck driver categorically refused to release the vehicle, insisting on a so-called "drop fee" of $93.59 on the spot. "He said 'you either pay me $93.59 right away or you'll be charged up to $400, along with storage fees'," said the owner, who likened the threat to extortion and is currently seeking the tow truck driver's arrest on that charge. "He literally used the threat of higher fees, which generate fears, to extort money from me. That's extortion, pure and simple."
Eventually, a witness stepped forward and paid the relatively small amount to secure the vehicle's release. While releasing the vehicle, the tow truck dented the car in the rear, according to witnesses. Now, both the owner and the witness said they want the tow truck driver arrested on extortion charges, among others. "It's extortion…pure and simple," thundered Regina Perigini, who paid the money.
Meanwhile, Waterbury Housing Authority -- which manages the sprawling housing complex -- has confirmed that the vehicle at the center of the controversy is duly registered with management as an authorized vehicle and had the required sticker parking permit at the time. The agency, through a voicemail message to the tow truck's owner, requested a refund.
As it turned out, Waterbury Towing and Recovery, Inc. has one of the worst records throughout Connecticut, in fact, amassing multiple charges and complaints, according to a media investigation of the company.
Even the State Attorney General's office was alerted two years ago of the company's suspicious conduct after one of its tow trucks was alleged to have illegally towed away an authorized vehicle from a handicap spot with "a clearly marked placard."
The Better Business Bureau (BBB), which maintains detailed profiles on company conducts, rated Waterbury Towing and Recovery, Inc. a resounding "F" and listed it as "unresponsive"
Central to the growing public call for Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicle to yank the company's license is the company's highly controversial, signature, "drop fee" charge of $93.57 found in nearly all of the complaints filed against the company – suggesting it relies on the controversial drop fee policy, which critics charged is not state law – as its main source of company revenue.
A spokesperson for Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection said the matter is under investigation.
Page Updated Last on: Jul 29, 2018