It’s a traumatic experience to return to where you parked your car, only to be greeted by an empty space. Your car might have been towed, or it might have been stolen. You need to act quickly to ensure that the necessary action is taken. So what do you need to do?
Checking the Signs
Look for signage that dictates any parking restrictions for the area. This signage might not be located right next to where you parked, so you should walk down the street until you spot the necessary information. The signage will have a telephone number to call. This might be a number for the appropriate department of the local council, or it might be for the towing company that is authorised to remove improperly parked vehicles.
Stolen or Towed
If you can locate such signage, call the number immediately to find out where your vehicle has been taken. If no signage can be found, or if the towing authorities are not in possession of your vehicle, you should call the police to report the vehicle as missing.
Retrieving the Vehicle
You will need to go to the appropriate impound yard to retrieve the vehicle. Find out if you need to make an appointment first, but it will generally be possible to do so immediately. You will need to provide photo ID to retrieve the vehicle. You will also need to pay a hefty release fee to retrieve your vehicle, and this amount will vary depending on which authority has impounded the vehicle. For example, small towns might charge less than if your vehicle was impounded in a large city. It just depends on which council oversees the process.
It’s in your best interests to pay the retrieval fee as soon as possible, even if you plan to dispute the towing at a later stage. There are usually a certain number of days when the vehicle is held for a flat fee, and additional storage charges might be imposed if the vehicle is not retrieved within this timeframe. Query this fee and timeframe with the towing company or the local council.
Disputing the Towing
If you wish to dispute the towing, you will usually need to do so with the local council. Find out their process for this, and you will generally need to fill in a specific form. Your options for successfully disputing a towing are limited. You might be entitled to a refund of the towing fee in extenuating circumstances, which are generally limited to medical emergencies (for which you will be required to provide proof). Incorrect or missing signage can also be grounds to successfully dispute a towing.
While traumatic, it’s important to take quick action if you discover that your vehicle is not where you left it.