Turns out, judge tossed $800 Capitol Hill tow

Remember that guy who got nailed with an $800 bill after his truck was towed from a 13th Ave E apartment complex? The holidays and snow and such conspired to bury this one, but a judge let him off the hook — on a technicality:

The judge didn’t rule the bill was too high (there’s no legal limit on what a tow company can charge). But rather that the tow-away sign in the lot was obscured by a tree. And also that Citywide hadn’t given Swanicke the proper forms.


And the predatory towing company behind the rendered “service?” — their business is supposedly better than ever:

“I got 41 new contracts in one day from your story,” Quadeer said outside the courtroom after the verdict. He was referring to property owners who, he says, hired him after reading how much he charges.

They want you to gouge people, I asked? Quadeer shrugged.

“They are so mad about the parking problem that, yes, they feel we are best positioned to deal with it.”

We haven’t seen any new tow signs on the Hill — you?

16 thoughts on “Turns out, judge tossed $800 Capitol Hill tow

  1. Parking in restricted spots, blocking driveways and turning 2 ways streets to 1 lane has become a huge problem on the hill, especially after parking enforcement staff go home for the day, that anything will help.

    Not sure if the economy has resulted in a reduction of parking enforcement staff or what, but the streets are a mess.

  2. don’t park illegally and you won’t get towed. If the hassle of not having your car available isn’t enough of a deterrent, than perhaps LARGER fines will be.

  3. It’s one thing to park illegally in a popular parking lot, it’s another thing to park in a vacant lot and get fined a ridiculous amount. Society is bullshit though so who cares, right?

  4. Thanks for the good story. I love the graphic of the eagle lifting the car. I hope Quadeer was lying about getting 41 new contracts, but in case he wasn’t I encourage folks to man up. April Fool’s Day is just around the corner….

  5. But….this guy actually admitted he knew he wasn’t supposed to park there. Nonetheless, I think there needs to be some limits set on tow prices. If not, the tow companies should be forced to post the maximum tow fine right on the tow-away warning signs.

  6. I’m pro tow!

    Adding parking to the north sides of the streets in areas west of Broadway has not alleviated the problem. It’s just induced demand. The RPZs end way too early and don’t address the influx of club goers who drive into the hood and take away the limited residential parking access that exists.

  7. Seems like the comments so far must come from the towing company as city folks realize the problem is not being towed or ticketed, but being charged $800 that is the problem. I parked my car yesterday on Capital Hill and paid for 1 hour but stayed 1 hour and 10 minutes and got a $40 ticket. This I knew was the penalty, but when they can tow your car and charge whatever they want is really the problem here.

  8. It s nobody’s fault but your own that you are not able to properly manage your time.

    By your own admission you did not pay for enough time to cover your fees. Do you need grown ups to explain how the whole system works?

  9. I think you missed the very simple point. I am willing to pay even on a slight oversight because I know the penalty and do not fault city for this. It is when the cost is at will that is the problem and charges are not consistent. I will pay and have no problem with that, which makes me think you are having difficulty with concepts and understanding and just reacting, and that is a whole other problem I have no interest with dealing with.

  10. Unfortunately there are corrupt tow companies who will tow a car even when it isn’t in violation. If you really think tow companies should be able to charge what they want, I hope you get a bill for $1,000,000 for getting your car out of the lot plus daily interest.

    How about $500,000 jaywalking tickets?

  11. I think I understand your point, but the issue isn’t that you’re willing to pay the fine, but that the (private) parking lot wants you to not park there at all. Therefore, the towing charge is punitive and extremely high so that people will not feel like it’s worth paying the penalty, especially when they don’t know how high it might be.

    That said, the signs need to be clear and visible, so I think the judge did the right thing. I also like Jim’s suggestion about posting the amount of the fine on the sign – so I guess I am in favor of high, but clearly disclosed, fines.

  12. When this story was first reported, the location was given as 13th Ave E between E Thomas St and E John St. There is really only one building in that block which has parking spots in front of the building, so I think I know where this fellow parked illegally.

    Yes, there is a tree there, but it really does NOT obscure the “you will be towed” sign to any degree. I wonder why the judge agreed that this was an issue. Also, the guy did admit that he knew he could not park there legally….shouldn’t this be enough evidence to not dismiss the case?

  13. D,

    Why the f*ck is this about you? I don’t give a dam how much you are willing to pay for a penalty.

    It’s not your property to park on! Period. End of story. It’s not your choice.