'Changed the amount,' cries driver after 40 cars towed

FORTY cars were towed during a major event, one towing company attempted to charge $120 more than the legal limit for retrieval.

A towing company maintains they never charged over the legal limit - but video evidence says otherwise.

Nearly 40 drivers were towed during a Cinco De Mayo event after they parked in a private lot despite several signs prohibiting public parkingCredit: WOWTVictoria Miller was able to film a towing company quoting her $120 over the legal limit to get her car backCredit: WOWT

Nearly 40 drivers in Omaha, Nebraska were devastated to find their cars towed away during a Cinco De Mayo celebration.

Three towing companies patrolled a privately owned lot a block away from the festivities and told NBC affiliate WOWT there was ample warning for drivers.

The lot owner requires drivers to have a permit to park there and has several signs at every entrance warning drivers not to park their vehicles during the event or they'd be towed.

Scott Brown, a tow truck driver with one of the companies removing cars, said a majority were parked there illegally.

"Those who were towed did not have passes and they were not supposed to be there," he said.

"They were properly towed with permission."

Brown confirmed that he towed around eight vehicles from the lot, though the two other companies towed more.

He estimated that nearly 40 cars were removed from the lot.

Victoria Miller, one of several drivers who had their car towed, took responsibility for not seeing the sign.

"It was my fault," she said.

'Just wrong,' fumes mom hit with $450 fee after car was towed - she found a way out of the fine but ended up in court

However, she was very skeptical about the retrieval price she was quoted by Evolution Towing.

On camera with reporter Mike McKnight, she called the towing company's office to ask about the retrieval fee.

A woman's voice was recorded saying $320.

The City of Omaha has ordinances in place saying towing companies can't charge more than $200 to customers, and can't charge more than $15 per day that a vehicle is stored in the lot.

A fee of $320 would be illegal, as it's $120 more than the legal limit.

After WOWT got involved, Miller said the price dropped to $187.

"They changed the amount a couple of times when we started getting [6 News] involved and everybody else," she claimed.

What to do if your car is towed

Wrongfully or not, retrieving a towed vehicle can be a hassle.

If your vehicle is towed after parking in a "No Parking" zone or other legitimate reason, there are a few steps to take to get it back.

Steps to take when your car is towed:

Try to figure out why your car was towed. Did you not see a posted "No Parking" sign? Did you miss a car payment? Did you return to a lot where you have unpaid citations? Finding the reason can narrow down the phone numbers to dial.
Locate the vehicle. Most states, cities, or counties require towing companies to leave some form of contact information via a posted sign or sent by mail.
Recovery dates and times depend on the company that towed the vehicle, but those times will be posted to the website or can be recited by a representative.
Pay the fees. Be careful to be as prompt as possible, as some tow yards may charge storage fees by the day.

If you feel your vehicle was wrongfully towed, contesting the action can be done with the following steps:

Be prompt - many states have a small window of time where it's acceptable to file a complaint against a company that wrongfully towed the vehicle.
Gather supporting documents: photos, emails, receipts, police reports, and witness statements if applicable. The more evidence, the better.
Get familiar with your local laws, as laws for towing companies vary per state.
Try speaking with the towing company. Sometimes it may have been a simple oversight, and the matter can be resolved quickly.
Contact the Justice of the Peace in your area, as they may have more insight or resources to help. They are often utilized for towing cases.
Talk to a lawyer. Many lawyers have free case consultations, and depending on the case, it may be worth it to utilize a lawyer.

Source: Oregon Department of Justice, National General, Rak Law Firm

McKnight called the number Miller called and was told that the retrieval fee would be $320 "cash," too.

Kevin Simp, a city prosecutor, said that the price hike would indeed be illegal - but more people would need to come forward to testify against the towing company.

The outlet contacted Evolution Towing, and while they did not wish to appear on camera, the owner said if anyone was charged the $320, he would make it right.

The U.S. Sun has gone to Evolution Towing for comment.


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