On January 9th, 2007 at 12:18am, Mr. James Hockaday, of Hockaday's Top Notch Towing Inc., initiated the process of towing my silver 2005 Ford Focus ZX3 from the Greens of Pine Glen parking lot. I contend that Mr. Hockaday's business practices towards me were unfair and unprofessional.
I came out of an apartment building to find Mr. Hockaday's tow truck backed up to my car and his partner around the driver's side of my car. From the balcony, I shouted, Hey! Stop! That's my car! Mr. Hockaday had not started pulling my car yet. I ran down three flights of stairs and, while crossing the parking lot, continued to shout, That's my car! When I reached Mr. Hockaday, he ceased pulling my car and only the back two tires were on the ramp of the tow truck.
I asked what he was doing and he told me that I did not have a parking pass on my car, so I was being towed at the expense of $150. I contested that the price was unfair, as he had not even completely removed my car from the parking space. He reiterated that the price was $150 and, after two phone calls, I said that I needed to go to a BB&T bank machine. He said that he needed to put my car on the truck and that he would drive me to the bank machine. While in the truck, I again protested the amount and he informed me that if I had come out of the house and caught [him] before [he] started pulling the car, then it would have been only $75. I stated that I did try to stop him before he started pulling the car; yet, he continued to do so. And, I felt that I should only have been charged the $75. He said that it was not up to him, that he were just fulfilling a contract with the apartment complex and that if I had further complaint, I would need to speak to the property manager of the apartment complex.
For the duration of the ride to the bank machine, I continued to assert that I should only be charged $75, to which he continually responded that I needed to handle any disputes with the property manager. Upon reaching the bank machine, I paid $150 and received my car.
I called him at 12:59am to confirm that, if I felt I had been unjustly charged and should receive a $75 refund, I needed to speak with Ms. Marilee Mahan, property manager of the Greens of Pine Glen. He, again, told me that I should talk to Marilee tomorrow and that he would talk to Marilee tomorrow.
At 10am on January 9th, 2007, I spoke with Ms. Mahan and explained the events of earlier that morning. She called Mr. Hockaday while I was in the office and expressed to him that he knew since the start of his contract with the Greens of Pine Glen that she was not to be involved in any disputes and that he needed to handle all complaints himself. This was the first exposure of his dishonesty. Mr. Hockaday knew all along that he was supposed to handle my complaint and I feel that he purposefully tried to give me the run-around so that I would discontinue the dispute. When Ms. Mahan got off the phone with him, she told me that I needed to speak with Mr. Hockaday directly.
I called Mr. Hockaday at 10:13am to, again, state my case that I deserved only to be charged $75 for the services rendered on the basis that he informed me that if I had come out of the house and caught before [him] started pulling the car, then it only would have been $75. I yelled for him to stop before he had started to move my car. His partner was still standing on the driver's side of my car. (I doubt that would be a safe place to stand if he was moving my vehicle). And I continued to yell stop as I ran down the sidewalk and across the parking lot. When I reached him (at which point you finally stopped pulling), he only had my back tires on the ramp of the tow truck. If he had been pulling my car all along, he would have had more than my back tires on the ramp. At first, Mr. Hockaday argued that my car was halfway on the truck; then, by the end of the phone conversation, he were asserting that he only had a foot left before my car would have been completely on the truck. This was not the only part of his story that he continued to change throughout our phone conversation. When I maintained that he had not pulled on my car before I alerted him that said car was my vehicle, he changed his mind and said that it would have been $75 if he had not done anything to my carthat if he were just blocking me in then I could have paid $75. I stated that this could not be his policy, in that, if there had not been a car in front of me, I could have driven off without paying him anything. Then, he said that as long as I was hooked up the fee was $150. After arguing that he initially told me that if I had come out of the house and stopped [him] before [he] started pulling on the car, then I would have had to pay $75, he contended that he didn't hear mewhich he did not say until his other defenses were proven thin. This is a seemingly impenetrable defense, as Mr. Hockaday could always say that he did not hear the owner of the car until he has blocked them in, hooked them up or started pulling on their car (whichever he decides at that moment). I do not believe that he, or his partner, did not hear me screaming from the balcony, or as I ran down the side walk, nor that he or his partner did not see two women (myself and my cousin) running towards both of them until you had my tires on the ramp.
After realizing that I would not cease my dispute after he frivolously sent me to the property manager and used circulatory reasoning and inconsistent business policies, Mr. Hockaday's professional demeanor became sour and rude. He repeatedly called me baby when I made it a point to call him sir. He shouted at me several times, You got caught, baby! Then, his final act of un-professionalism was to tell me that I was wasting [his] time and he hung up the phone on me. I promptly called him back at 10:27am and, after identifying myself, I asked to speak to his manager. He yelled at me, I'm the owner! I'm the big boss! (finally, admitting that he was the one to handle the situation) and, again, told me I was wasting [his] time. Then, he hung up on me for a second time. I currently have three jobs in which I interrelate with people on a regular basis. I have had to interact with people who were disappointed or displeased with a service. It is never a waste of a business professional's time to address someone's concern. If I had responded to any of my clients in the manner that he spoke to me, I would have to face severe disciplinary action. It is apparent that he uses his position as owner to make up rules as he goes and to disrespect others, assuming that there is no one higher to whom they can complain.
I believe that Mr. Hockaday knew that he was wrong and has since tried to detour me and talk his way out of the situationculminating with him being out right rude to me. His account of the morning's events are inconsistent, his policies are arbitrary and his business rapport is deplorable. I wrote him a letter detailing my case and asked him to resolve the matter by 5:00pm on Thursday, January 11th, 2007. I called Mr. Hockaday at 5:45pm on January 11th and asked if he had any response to my letter and he said, I'm not going to do anything, dear. Goodbye. And he hung up the phone on me for a third time.
Silver Ford Focus
Durham, North Carolina