The Problem Solvers have been getting emails about their cars getting towed without notice, even with the law in place.
While the new law adds some major safeguards for drivers, it does not mean you can just park anywhere.
“The Towing Bill of Rights is a bill that was a complete overhaul of the towing laws here in Colorado. Basically, it’s intended to help drivers who are parking on private property,” said state representative Naquetta Ricks. She sponsored the law regarding nonconsensual towing in the state.
“I get one to two emails every week about people experiencing towing,” Ricks said.
The Problem Solvers have also been getting emails from viewers. The law went into effect on Aug. 10.
A main feature is that towers are now supposed to give drivers 24 hours written notice before removing their cars, but there are some key exceptions.
“Those exceptions come in if you’re parked in a fire lane, if you are parked in a disabled parking spot, and also in residential parking where there is designated or paid parking. So you cannot park in somebody’s private space on private property,” Ricks said.
That last point seems to be the caveat tripping a lot of drivers up. When parking in lots, be sure to look around and make sure spots are not permit-only or reserved unless you have a pass or permit to park there.
“If I have paid for my parking, then I am entitled to park there and I should not see somebody’s random car in my space and then have to wait for them to be notified 24 hours? That’s unfair. So just like the case of a disabled parking space, or a fire lane or handicap space, you cannot park in somebody’s paid designated parking spot,” Ricks explained.
Some drivers have still been wrongfully towed since the law took effect. If you feel your car was removed illegally recently, there are ways to try to get your money back.
“Prior to this, there was no recourse, basically you could report it and there was no action being taken. They were just collecting data. So now, they do have some authority to act. Most tow truck companies are refunding consumers or drivers if they complain and they know they have violated the law. So just give it a little bit of time.”
Ricks is also reminding drivers they only have to pay 15% of the cost of the tow to get their vehicle back, capped at $60 if you agree to pay the full amount later. Towers also have to let car owners retrieve items out of the car upon their request, provide pictures of the tow and release a car from being towed if a person approaches them before they remove the vehicle from the property. If towers refuse to provide photographs of the tow upon request from the vehicle owner, it is presumed the tower did not have authorization to tow the vehicle.
The Public Utilities Commission is handling tow complaints for the state. It said since the law took effect, it saw a slight uptick in weekly complaints the first week.
The commission said it typically sees two to three complaints per week but from Aug. 10 to Aug. 18, there were 32 cases or roughly four per day.
The commission is hoping to better educate the public about the new law and how the complaint process works. It typically takes them up to four weeks to review complaints and could take longer if a company is found to be in violation.