Max Smith, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - It's a way many people get errands done: sending a spouse across the street to one store, while the rest of the family runs into another. But in many places around the D.C. area, that can get you towed.
Hundreds of drivers in Montgomery County have complained to the Consumer Protection Office about "predatory towing," which is when tow truck drivers, or their spotter, wait and watch for someone to break the rules, and then immediately tow their car away.
It is legal for businesses and apartment complexes to adopt practically any rules they want about parking in their private lots, as long as the rules and consequences are clearly posted.
Montgomery County doesn't limit towing, but it does limit the cost to $168 if you pick up your car within 24 hours.
Kayla Libicki, 18, tells Channel 7 her dad parked outside a Bethesda Staples so she could run in. In the meantime, he walked over to a grocery store. Ten minutes later, she says the car was gone.
If you feel you've been towed unfairly, you can submit a complaint to the Office of Consumer Protection or pursue it in Small Claims Court.
Other parts of the area, such as Fairfax County, have similar rules for towing, requiring the tow company to document why your car was taken away.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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