• Report: #230123

Complaint Review: Hockaday's Top Notch Towing

  • Submitted: Fri, January 12, 2007
  • Updated: Tue, May 01, 2007

  • Reported By:Durham North Carolina
Hockaday's Top Notch Towing
213 S. Hoover Rd Durham, North Carolina U.S.A.

Hockaday's Top Notch Towing ripoff Unprofessional and Unfair Durham North Carolina

*Author of original report: Ex-Resident

*Consumer Comment: HUH?

*Author of original report: I respect your opinion

*Consumer Comment: I think you lose on this one.

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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

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/12/2007 09:49 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/hockadays-top-notch-towing/durham-north-carolina/hockadays-top-notch-towing-ripoff-unprofessional-and-unfair-durham-north-carolina-230123. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Antoinette - (U.S.A.)

I had lived in that apartment complex for two years prior to the incident. I no longer live there but my cousin does. I was visiting her when my car was towed. I did not have a pass because I did not know that I needed one. I did not notice a sign at the entrance.

Since I lived there for two years, I don't pay much attention to the signs in the front. Later, as I was leaving the apartment complex, the tow truck man pointed the sign out, which was in a dimly lit area (though the apartment complex has since fixed the light there, I guess because they had received other complaints). And, I had been visiting my cousin there for 6 months prior to the incident and never been towed, nor had I even seen the tow truck there before. (They are supposedly there 3 nights a week).
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#2 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Where was your parking pass/sticker/whatever? Are there any signs near the entrance indicating that cars can/may be towed?

How long have you lived there?
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#3 Author of original report

I respect your opinion

AUTHOR: Antoinette - (U.S.A.)

Thanks for the comments, Marc.

I appreciate your point of view as someone who is "in the business". However, you seem to make the assumption that the world is out to "get over" on tow truck men.

I did not know that I was not supposed to park there. I wasn't trying to "beat the system". I do feel that, whether or not I knew the parking lot was a tow zone, since I was parked there, I should have been subject to being towed. That's not what I'm arguing. Semantics make the world go round. We can't all go around assuming that everyone is always incorrectly choosing their words. The driver continued to change his story whenever it suited his whim. If there was a law, it should have been final--not two days of the run around.

Finally, I work with inmates and, while I'm not being paid to put smiles on any of their faces, I would never disrespect them. I am an employee of the state, not the inmates, but no one would justify me calling them "baby" or "dear", yelling at them or dismissing them irreverantly.

Thank you again for your perspective.
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#4 Consumer Comment

I think you lose on this one.

AUTHOR: Marc - (U.S.A.)

It's really a question of semantics. If I have touched the tires with my lift and the customer comes out, they are charged a "drop fee." If I've hooked the car to the lift any further than that, it's full fee. That's the contract and most likely the law in your area. The reason he didn't stop when you yelled at him is that he only deals with the registered owner of the car, by law and common sense. Anyone could have yelled down at him, and believe me, that happens a lot. People use a thousand excuses as to why they parked where they shouldn't have, but bottom line is the property owner is our customer, not you. You are a problem for him. Like any business, we are obligated to follow the procedures we contract for. Was he sarcastic to you? Sure he was. He's not your whipping boy and we're not prone to taking too much crap from people that know they are wrong in the first place. It just goes with the job. If illegal parkers weren't a problem, there would be no towing rules at all in the lot. You got caught, baby.
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