Anyone who has attended a Towlawyer seminar has probably heard Michael McGovern and I warn about the risks and rewards of private property towing. Private property towing is contentious and most everyone seems to dislike private property towers. Therefore, our message is simple: if you want to succeed in private property towing, you have to be perfect. You have to dot every “I” and cross every “T” every time. If you don’t, you have given an angry consumer an opening to sue for civil violations or, even worse, an opening for a prosecutor to prosecute for criminal violations.
For those of you that have attended a TowLawyer seminar, you might remember Michael McGovern’s notable way of teaching the possible risks of wrongfully perfecting tow liens. It goes something like this, Mr. McGovern approaches a tow operator sitting in the front row and, much to their surprise, temporarily takes one of their personal belongings like a hat, pen, notebook, etc. and informs the owner that he is not giving it back. The tow operator usually exclaims something like “you can’t do that!” Mr. McGovern then smiles and asks: “why not? What that’s called?” Most every tow company in the room says “stealing” or theft or the like and then McGovern (correctly) compares his action of stealing the hat, etc. to a tow company wrongfully holding or refusing to release a towed vehicle without a legal right.