Ordinance amendment stops predatory towing in Provo

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

PROVO, Utah -- After a year and a half of debates, the city of Provo has amended an ordinance to combat predatory towing.

Property owners, or their agents, including a resident, must now request for an illegally parked vehicle to be towed.  The tow company can no longer initiate that.  Mayor John Curtis says that removes the profit incentive and can cut down on predatory practices.

Tuesday night's council meeting was packed.  Many BYU students listened as Mayor Curtis presented the plan and said towing practices in Provo have created a public relations nightmare.  Some don't want to do business downtown and some students don't want to live in the city because they've had to pay more than $200 to recover their vehicles that were towed.  And while many admit they're at fault for parking illegally, they say they've been towed for minor infractions and during quick visits and they feel the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

Now, the responsibility falls on the property owner and they want the tow companies to initiate any action, the only way is to enter into a contract with the tow company that requires following a series of rules.  Property managers musts have adequate visitor parking, 24/7 access to a temporary parking permit, an appeals process, bolder signage and a cap of $175 for tows and $60 for boots.

Tuesday's council meeting drew a number of public comment including different opinions from tow operators.

"This ordinance needs to happen.  we need to make the change to protect the public and protect the city of Provo," said tow company owner Robin Roberts.

Mike Lamont with University Parking Enforcement had a very viewpoint.

"This legislation is unreasonable and inappropriate," said Lamont  "Not only does it violate over 300 contracts I have in Provo but most importantly it violates property owners constitutional rights."

The council disagreed and will implement the amended ordinance February 1st.
It'll be reviewed in a year to determine whether it's successful.

21 comments

  • Jana

    I wish Sandy would look at doing something similar. I had my car towed 10 minutes after parking it. It was in the lot for less than 3 hours and I paid over $200 (cash only) to get it back. The company told me that the rates were set by the state. Apparently not if Provo City is putting a cap on it.

  • Jennifer Elsdon Larson

    So Provo makes it practically impossible to shop downtown for lack of parking, then tows people who try. Nice way to kill small town shops. Maybe you should just plow them all over and put in another Wal-Mart.

  • Brian Michael Owens

    Just wait till property owners start evicting for “minor infractions” because their right’s have been infringed. Simple solution, Don’t park where you shouldn’t and you wont be towed or booted. This is ridiculous that people would park where they shouldn’t and then complain when they get into trouble.

    • Andrew Gregory

      Brian the issue is not everyone, I would even say a minority of them, park illegally. I got booted once when I lived at Alpine Village when I parked above ground and not in the parking garage. At first glance it looks like I was wrong but I wasn’t because I was using one of the stores. I was on a date and I was getting yogurt at the shop I was parked at. In the contracts it said that parking was reserved for patrons of the stores and no people who lived at Alpine. Well I was both but at the current time I was more patron than I was a tenant. That was most definitely not my fault and I should have never had to pay for that.

      • Brandon

        I lived there as well and everyone knows that parking was off limits plus you could have parked in res parking about 20 feet away. Just because you justify it in your stupid head doesn’t mean its not a violation. Its people like you that cause the parking problem in Provo.

  • Marina

    Very viewpoint! Such opinion! Wow! (There are a lot of grammar, capitalization, and other such mistakes. The third paragraph is particularly confusing. Just read it over once before publishing, k?)

    In all seriousness, I’m really glad something has been done about this. When I lived at Alpine Village, they let people park in visitors’ parking until 2 AM. Once, on the way back from a road trip to Denver, my fiance got me home at 1:57 AM. He, being a kind, chivalrous young man, helped me carry my luggage up to the third floor to my apartment. He ran back downstairs, at 2:03 AM, to find his car booted. The parking enforcement had been lying in wait to pounce exactly at 2 AM. The hood of the car was still hot. He had to pay the $50 anyway.

  • Kelly Wilkins

    EVERYONE HATES the towing companies. They should be there to help the community protect itself against idiot drivers. All they have done is ruin many lives.

    Here here!

  • Consistent Visitor to BYU

    YEESSSS!!!! My brother went to BYU, and my family and I got towed or ticketed (not exaggerating) 6 times during his 4 years there as I went and visited. One time I ran in to get his visitor’s pass, and by the time I went back outside my car was already being towed. I had to pay something like $80 just to get it down. Another time I had to park over a mile away in winter because there’s just no parking, and when I got back I STILL had a ticket for parking more than 12″ from the curb. Even though there was a snow bank, I was apparently supposed to carry a snow shovel. In my rental car… Yes! I always thought it was just Provo, and it made me resent the place. This ordinance makes me realize it’s the companies that are scum, and not Provoites… Provoans… Whatever you call people from Provo.

  • MC

    Finally! I’m so sick of this practice of preying on broke students. Yes, there needs to be reasonable enforcement of sensible parking regulations, but Provo is way out of hand. Apt. complexes do not provide enough visitor parking and then tow trucks come roaring through the lots every 15 minutes, all hours of the day and night. Nearly every time I am at the local laundromat, reps from a tow company come in harassing us to check which cars are ours so they can tow the rest. This is in a huge parking lot with a couple of cars parked in front of the open businesses and dozens and dozens of open spaces. No business is being disrupted by cars parked there that shouldn’t be, but still these losers troll for easy tows instead of using their resources responsibly. Makes me sick. I’ve given them an earful every time they come in harassing us and treating us like criminals, acting like they are providing some sort of community service. Ever heard of parking tickets? Yeah, it works to deter illegal/irresponsible parking, but doesn’t encourage a bloated, aggressive industry of competing predatory towing companies.

  • Chad Blackwelder

    I work for PJ’s, a towing company that has already been doing what the Mayor and Provo city has been asking for, for the better part of a year now. In fact, above and beyond. We have the cheapest pricing county wide, and most consistent than any other company to date. These so called illegal tows most of you mention, were not illegal. Unethical? Immoral? Petty? Out of control? Maybe, and most likely YES!!! If they were illegal, these companies would have been shut down long ago.

    It will be “call in” only for boots and tows, if, IF… the property owners don’t hire a company that has been approved by the city and both agree to follow a few logical rules. Our company has no problem with these rules. We will still get to tow and boot with a contract, without having to be called for each individual violation. These rules aren’t that hard, and I think they are a good idea. I stood up last night and voiced that after the Mayor used our business model in his presentations an example of how not all towing/booting companies are the same.

    We are looking forward to working with Provo City, residents and property owners, to help smooth this ongoing process out as we have been in compliance with these new rules since we got into the Parking Enforcement industry. We as a company, hope this will weed out the companies that give us a bad name by proxy, by putting them out of business. If you have any questions or concerns about this law, give us a call… and we will do our best to help explain how we can help students and property owners through this transition the best way possible.

    • ayon

      Chad, Thank you for being a good sport. I think the problem here is University Towing has abused and brought shame on all towing companies in Provo. Sorry you have been lumped into this. But let me tell you who was illegal and was towed. I parked my car in a 45 minute zone….someone immediately chalked it(all on camera). was only there 12-15 minutes and was towed. They tried to claim it was there for 2 hours in their documentation. I called and said we have camera proff from that business. They then buckled when I said I will sue and use the surveillance tape. Then they wanted me to poick up my car at their yard. I said OK I am suing unless I have it brought back to me in 15 minutes. It was back in 10. The driver didn’t say a word to my and I called out to him saying he was a low life POS. He then said it was not him that did it. I said oh really….i have you on camera right here. 2 days later I called in with the complaint to their office and wanted him fired. His boss said he was doing his job and did not break the law regardless if I had proof or not. I replied saying it was enough to get my car back in 15 minutes wasn’t it and he hung up on me. The bottom line is the business model for him is changing and he will no longer be able to do what he has been doing. They also did this to my friends truck and I was with him. They put a boot on his work truck. He is a welder and he had it off in 5 minutes. The company tried to sue for the cost of the “missed opportunity for ransom” and boot replacement. He did neither because he had video proof and had a lawyer. These guys only care about their pocket book. I wold hope that you will have business integrity with the new laws.

  • Matt Bloomfield

    Had my truck booted after 15 minutes in my wife’s reserved stall while moving stuff from her apartment to mine (boxes in back of the truck) in a half empty lot. It was student housing and BYU semester wouldn’t even start for another week. University Parking really is a bunch of money hungry animals, much like their owner displayed in the meeting. Hooray for predator towing being eliminated.

  • tashamoon

    I’d like to know how these regulations are unconstitutional… Haha.

    And thank you, PJ’s, for doing the right thing all along! Your example is making our city better.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.