Report: #187670

Complaint Review: McDonald's Restaurant, T And J Towing

  • Submitted: Thu, April 20, 2006
  • Updated: Fri, May 20, 2011
  • Reported By: Kalamazoo Michigan
  • McDonald's Restaurant, T And J Towing
    West Kalamazoo Ave
    Kalamazoo, Michigan

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I think there is something entirely inappropriate, although probably not illegal, taking place at this McDonalds. I acknowledge making mistakes that resulted in my vehicle being towed, but let me explain the scenario and you decide.

I went to downtown Kalamazoo to pick up guests who were coming on an Amtrak Passenger Train. Due to long term construction Amtrak is using a parking lot across the street that has no signs labeling it as Amtrak's. I parked in this lot and went in to check on the arrival of guests. They were not arrived and I thought I was in the wrong parking area so I moved my van to nearby McDonald's. I re-entered the Amtrak station and heard that the train was now 20 minutes late. I went back to McDonald's. I waited in line, bought a drink, and then crossed the road back to Amtrak. The train arrived 30 minutes late and I noticed my van was gone. It had been towed about 4 minutes earlier.

I walked 1 mile to the tow company, T & J Towing and paid $118 to reclaim my van. I was fortunate someone was available to take payment then.

It was cold and raining that day and I was dodging the rain, and maybe that is why I did not notice any towing signs. There were no signs in the center area of the lot where I parked. Had I pulled into one of the spaces on the perimeter I probably would have seen a sign. I think McDonalds has an obligation to improve their signage. I AM ONE OF MANY WHO HAVE BEEN TOWED FROM THIS MCDONALD'S. The McDonald's area supervisor (it is company owned, not franchised) told me this location tows aggressively and tows an enormous of vehicles a week!

I spoke with an employee at the business located between the Amtrak lot and McDonald's. This business has a tow sign at every parking space. The employee told me they tow "next to never" and without my asking he added, "McDonald's next door, every day."

One tow company, T & J Towing, has exclusive tow priviledges at this McDonald's. I believe T & J closely monitors the lot. Apparently they have the right to tow if you leave the McDonald's property at any time while your car is there. At $118 per tow they and the state can make a lot of money, ($78 to tow company and $40 to the State of Michigan)

I cannot imagine why McDonald's Corporation would allow their customers to be alienated in this way. If McDonald's invested in more parking lot signs and a sign in the restaurant I really believe the tow company wouldn't have nearly as much business and McDonald's everywhere would benefit from the goodwill.

In the future I will be vigilant for tow signs at all businesses. Once a tow company has exclusive rights at a business and has one of their tow company signs up they can be very aggressive in their interpretation of who should be towed.

Kalamazoo, Michigan
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/20/2006 10:21 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Sioux Falls.... Moron??

AUTHOR: roomlinx - (United States of America)

My Rebuttal to Scott in Sioux Falls. So what you are saying is that if I buy a drink from McDonalds and then go next door to do some shopping McDonalds has the right to tow my car even though I gave them business. WRONG!! The lot is a "common access" It is not a home of private residence. A business needs to post signage such as no skateboarding. You Sir are ignorant. What I don't understand is why would the towing company and the state and not the city or McDonalds get any of the money? It would have to be a pretty good ding in McDonalds revenue for having peoples cars towed. Can't be too crowded in there.
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#2 Consumer Comment

handicapped parking and towing?

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

To Brownsong

While I agree that towing gets crazy in some places the OP does have a point that due to construction parking may have been a little confusing. I do have a problem with what you said esp about people being towed if they park in a handicapped parking place even for a minute.If a person parks in one of these spots without a handicapped parking pass then they deserved towed! I am handicapped with a lung and heart problem that on some days walking and breathing are very hard. Nothing annoys me more then to see someone either without a handicapped pass in a handicapped parking space or someone waiting for someone in one of these spots. If you are dropping someone off who is handicapped do not take a space to wait for them watch from a distance. If you do not have a handicapped parking pass do not park in one of the few handicapped spaces available even for a second and if you do do not whine about the ticket or tow you may get.

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#3 General Comment

You were robbed

AUTHOR: brownsong - (USA)

You were scammed through and through. This is a widespread form of money making by towing companies. They will sit and watch a handicapped sign and tow anyone who parks there even for a minute. They contract with business owners and give them commissions. There have been news reports about this scam. It may be legal, but many scams are legal, simply because no one has stood up to them and fought to change the law. It is wrong, when everyone knows that a few signs would solve the whole problem. Greedy greedy greedy.
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ask where parking was for amtrak

AUTHOR: Harold - (Canada)

if what you say is true about the company "sitting in the bushes" waiting for someone to leave the property, then yes "innapropriate/unethical" but not illegal. you played right into their hands though. ignorance "i didn't see the sign" is no excuse. a company only needs one visible sign about towing in any one area.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Yes, you were responsible for being towed

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

Why should a business owner have to put up a sign at every parking space to say "Customer Parking Only?

Businesses invest a lot of money putting in a parking lot and then the upkeep of said lot.

If too many noncustomers park there, then there is no room for customers
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