Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) announced on Thursday that he is introducing legislation to fight predatory towing.
“For far too long, innocent drivers across this city dealt with over-zealous towing operators that illegally targeted vehicles, often over-charging drivers and only accepting cash,” the assemblyman said in a prepared statement
The legislation — titled the Predatory Towing Prevention Act — “will improve the current outdated and inadequate law against illegal towing practices and empower the City to act swiftly and decisively against predatory towers,” he added. It will be introduced before the end of the current Legislative session, according to Kim spokesman Tony Cao.
Kim's announcement comes after a legal victory against All Automotive II, Inc., a Brooklyn-based company known for its shady towing practices. Although the enterprise was fined $30 million and ordered by the court to give $182,000 to its victims, it likely will not be able to do either because it filed for bankruptcy.
To combat predatory towing in the future, the bill aims to do several things: raise the consumer protection bond to a minimum of $50,000 and maximum of $250,000; end the usage of "spotting" techniques; require towing truck operators to receive written permission from the manager or owner of commercial or private property before a vehicle can be towed; and empower the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs to revoke repeat offenders' licenses.
According to Cao, “at least one or two” members of the state Senate have expressed interest in co-sponsoring the bill there.
"This bill adds important checks and barriers for those who seek to perform this service and seeks to protect those who are most vulnerable: honest consumers," Sateesh Nori, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society Queens Neighborhood Office said.