'You know it's ridiculous,' cries driver towed from McDonald's lot after 8 mins

A DRIVER was shocked after a towing company snatched her car from a McDonald's parking lot after just eight minutes.

A Dodge Charger owner caught the entire parking interaction on camera, including the towing "spotter."

A driver complained after their car was snatched after eight minutesCredit: Inside EditionInside Edition reported the towing company used a spotterCredit: Inside Edition

Katie Taylor parked her Charger outside a McDonald's parking lot in Brooklyn, New York in 2019.

She walked off the restaurant's lot - a tow truck lifted the car within eight minutes.

Taylor ran back to the car, hoping to pay a small fee to get the vehicle back.

The tow operator asked for more than $200 to unhitch the vehicle.

"Please stop; this is my car," Taylor, an Inside Edition producer, said as her red sedan was nearly pulled from the parking lot.

The operator told Taylor she had to pay $217 cash to get her vehicle back.

"You know that's ridiculous," she responded in the video.

The interaction was part of an undercover investigation from the news magazine.

Moments before Taylor's car was wiped, another producer's car was snatched by the same company.

It took them just three minutes to grab the other producer's vehicle.

I called cops when my car went missing from outside my door – towing company wanted to charge me but it was their error

The towing company was able to snatch the cars quickly because a person was lurking inside the restaurant, the publication reported.

A so-called "spotter" was monitoring the parking lot for drivers who violated the parking lot rules, Inside Edition said.

The company said in an interview that it was their contractual obligation to maintain the business' parking lot rules.

A nearby sign said tow trucks can remove cars when drivers leave the restaurant's premises "for any reason, or length of time."

The manager for the Brooklyn-based McDonald's didn't respond to the publication's request for comment.

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

McDonald's restaurants operate on a franchise model.

The company does not set a ubiquitous standard for parking at all of its stores - individual restaurants can apply their own parking rules.

Restaurant's located in areas with dense populations and limited vehicle spaces are likely to have more stringent parking rules.

But Inside Edition said several people had previously reported getting towed from the Brooklyn store.

The publication looked into the parking lot after receiving a tip that several drivers were towed in succession.


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