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Predatory towing targeted by bill aiming to crack down on shady practices

towing company mobile home park
Posted at 4:42 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 21:25:07-04

DENVER — When there's a new neighbor in the Berkeley Village Mobile Home Park, residents make sure to warn them about the car situation.

"If they catch you slipping, it's gone." That was the first thing Avel Rodriguez said his neighbors told him when he moved in. He would soon learn that his neighbors were right.

"It was true. My car got towed. A couple of friends got towed ... that car got towed," Rodriguez said, pointing to a car nearby.

It's one thing some neighbors have in common at Berkeley Village, according to Lydia Ramirez.

"My sister got her car towed maybe five weeks ago," Ramirez said.

Anyone who takes a stroll into the neighborhood this time of year would see that there are more tow warning signs in the neighborhood than Halloween decorations.

Parking without a permit attached to your windshield is just one of many rules that will land your wheels in the tow yard, neighbors say.

"I mean, that was my fault because I didn't have my sticker," Rodriguez admits.

But one resident told The Denver Post that her son did have that sticker. It wasn't on the windshield, but visible on the dashboard. She told The Post that the car still got towed.

It's instances like those that motivated state Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, to sponsor a bill aiming to fortify a towing task force and to establish guidelines for contracts between towing companies, mobile home owners and homeowners associations.

"We do need to protect people from the kind of practices that we're seeing ... and I'm outraged by some of the stories I've heard," Fields said.

The bill, HB21-1283, passed the state House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis. Fields said new legislation to build off this year's bill may be introduced next session.

"This is a bill truly about consumer protection and making sure that we don't have these predatory towing companies just waiting for someone to take advantage of," Fields said.

In a statement to Denver7, Rep. Edie Hooton, the Democratic Boulder lawmaker who passed the bill in the 2021 legislative session, said the bill "expands the membership of the Towing Task Force to create a seat for the Attorney General's Office and a representative for mobile homeowners."

The bill will also direct "the Task Force to consider a dispute resolution program for predatory towing."

"It also directs the Public Utilities Commission to do a full review of their regulations regarding towing companies," Hooton said.

At the very least, consumers disputing a tow can ask the task force to review the situation instead of heckling with a tow company.