[VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

HGEA
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:25 pm

[VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby HGEA » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:30 pm

Hi,

I want to tell my situation because I fell many times were done wrong and I don't know where to assist in order to resolve this.

The story

I live in a building outside the skirts of the city, it's a busy area but mostly residential. A few weeks ago I parked my car on a Friday in a parking space that did not belong to me (and that has not been use in the two years I've been living here) for a couple days while I waited for my institute to let me put it back -The car is a project for the school (motor mechanic student here) and during school holidays I could not leave there-.

Next Monday I had a look on the car to make sure everything was alright and I wasn't disturbing anyone -checking for notes on the windshield, essentially-, on Saturday I went to pick up the car to move it out and to my surprise it wasn't there. At first I panicked really bad thinking it has been stolen, ran down to ground level to ask the security guard if they have access to the cameras as I was going to report the car as stolen. Security told me they believe the car had been towed and ask me to double check first with the towing company.

Ring the company and they said "yes, we have your car here. It was towed on Tuesday". I ask them why and by whom, they claim for privacy reasons can't disclose that information. I said I want my car back and they tell me "Ok, if you come and pick it up today it will be $800", when I asked where is my car they refuse to tell me for security reasons and claim "I can't tell you where is your car until you pay me". It was very late on a Saturday and without chance to resolve the matter I decide to call the next day.

Ring the next day. Same guy tells me the fee is now $835 if I pick up the car that Sunday. I explain to him that I'm working and in order to arrange the pick up the car I need at least a close train station. They offered to deliver the car but the fee would be $1040. Decline the offer. Guy says to me "come to Carrum Downs train station and I'll puck you up and take you to the depot after you've made the payment" (this after struggling to make him understand that on a Saturday evening, without a car, and address and only relying on public transport it was going to be impossible for me to get there).

Go to Carrum Downs, guy pick me up, reprimand me for getting there without making the payment. He drives like 15mins and we finally reach to the depot. I ask to see my car and the guy says "No, you wait outside I'll bring out the paperwork". He brings the paperwork out, I ask to see my car again and he says again "No, I give you your car once you have signed this contract and pay the fee". I give up, sign and pay (understand this was on a Sunday night, 40 kms away from where I live, in a pitch black street, with no means to get back home if I refuse and with other 3 or 4 dudes standing in the door); ask him for a copy of the contract and an invoice, he says "no, this is for our private records and write down your email here so on Monday someone will send you the invoice". Worth mentioning not even once they ask me for proof of ownership.

Facts and questions

I emailed my Building Manager about the case, he said that the Owners Corporation installed the service a while ago and send a sign (only 3 in the whole car park, placed near the access door, with ambiguous terms and no other info) claiming the issue have to be addressed with the Towing Company. That there's no liability for them (later I found the Towing company have enter into a contract with this company for other buildings, asking for exclusivity in the towing). Is an Owners Corporation engaging a contract with a Towing Company for this cases violating Section 140, Part 8 of the Owners Corporation Act 2006?

No one placed a sign on my car, tried to contact me, leave a note, nothing. As mentioned I last saw my car on Monday evening and it was towed on Tuesday. The spot has never been use, I was causing no damage to the spot, I wasn't obstructing any paths, the car was there for less than 14 days, I've cleared with the police to see if an infringement notice was requested and they said no. Is the towing company acting unlawfully in contravention of Section 90c, Road Safety Act 1986?

Is the towing without my consent and the other actions following it also a violation of section 70c, Road Safety Act 1986?

Is it legal they request for payment before giving me the address? Feels like extortion.

Is it legal once on site they make me sign a contract and pay before allowing me to even see my car? I fell that's extortion and coercion.

What if I was unable to pay due to insufficient funds (I had to put the amount on my student credit card), isn't the threat of unlawful possession categorized as theft of private property? I rang other three companies saying I needed a car removed from my spot and they all refused, hence pretty certain this towing company knows what they did is illegal.

Is the fact they send the invoice 10 days later after request a breach of the Competition and Consumer Act Schedule 2- Australian Consumer Law, Section 100(1) and Section 101(3)

Is $835 a reasonable amount to charge for a car towed on Tuesday and collected on Sunday? (there is no mention of fees at all in any of the signs)

Is it reasonable, or legal even, to tow the car 40 kilometers away to a private depot instead of the nearest public road available?

Advise

I feel devastated for this. Honestly it's affecting my sleep and everything. $835 may not be much for some people, but for a student that can only work 20hrs a week it's a huge amount of money. That's more than my rent, more than half of what I pay for the car, that's 9 months of registration. I understand I parked in a spot that does not belong to me, I honestly thought no one was using it (as of today, 2 weeks later, there is still no one parked there or using that spot), moreover, I thought some other remedies were going to be put in place. I was happy to move my car if requested, or to come into an agreement with the Building Manager or owner if there's one for that spot. But the shock of thinking my car was stolen, then knowing it was towed just like that the next day and that hefty fine. Feels bad.

Is there anything I can do about it? If so, what would be the organisation to reach? I send them an email saying why I considered the towing was unlawful and they, as expected, have not replied at all. I really it's such a predatory and harassing tactic and knowing they engaged with the Owners Corporation for exclusivity in the towing services just makes me feel bad about how many other people may have suffered all of this without warning and these guys just unlawfully profiting and car-napping cars without warning.

Sorry for the long post. Really need it to just express myself about it.
Last edited by HGEA on Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hardy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Hardy » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:49 pm

You need to report this to the police. Make a complaint. Insist on charges being laid. Seek compensation in that proceeding.
It is theft of motor vehicle.
The police would have helped you get the car back for free.
You can sue the tow company and the person who is holding the car, or start a case in the small claims tribunal.

HGEA
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby HGEA » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:28 pm

Hi Hardy,

Thanks for your reply. I understand the police will be then the first point of contact, will do that tomorrow.

On the email I sent to them I clearly said that I was looking for compensation of the money I had to pay only (the $835). As mentioned they haven't reply and I highly doubt they will.

No one is holding the car anymore, as mentioned on the first post, after forcefully signing the contract and making the payment without being allowed to see my car they gave it back to me. I had to pay, there was no other way to come back from that place on a Sunday at 7 pm.

The police will be first, but if unsuccessful for some reason, what would be the other organisation I need to assist for help? Straight to the Small Claims Tribunal after the police?

I ask this question because on the Dispute Resolution Centre and VCAT apparently it's not compulsory for the other party to even show up (unless you pay extra on VCAT). And I really feel these should be addressed. I understand I was parking in a spot that does not belong to me, but the measures taken seem something you would do as a last resource after everything has been said and done to no avail, moreover given the circumstances.

Hardy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Hardy » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:25 pm

If they didn’t want your car parked there they could have chosen legal remedies instead of illegal remedies.
You need to claim the money back in a magistrates court or small claims tribunal. There is also a chance of seeking compensation order in the criminal proceedimgs that the police would commence if they had any brains and guts.

Spidicus
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Spidicus » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:21 pm

Hardy wrote:they could have chosen legal remedies instead of illegal remedies.


Just curious Hardy, what are the legal remedies available?

I'd be interested in the legal remedy of someone parking in my driveway (on my land, not across the driveway or crossover), what action can you legally take to have their vehicle removed?

Hardy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Hardy » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:50 pm

You can tow it to the street and leave it there for them to collect.

Gravy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Gravy » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:11 pm

Must it be towed by a professional?

I'm just wondering if the property owner may move the car themselves, providing they have the means to do so without damaging it. Coz it'd be cheaper.

Hardy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Hardy » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:24 pm

You can move it any way you like. Provided any damage is accidental (e.g. you don’t force entry) the owner or the owner’s insurers can worry about that. Hard to imagine the owner having enough evidence to sue someone for the costs of repairs. You need to make sure you do the bare minimum neededto move the car off your land. While the car is on your land you are in possession of it - see s.73(14) http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/ ... 2/s73.html

margpowell
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby margpowell » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:18 pm

I do not quite understand. In parking on someones private property are not you in tresspass? Tresspass is dealt with under the summary offences act.
I have had to install at large expense, parking bollards to prevent people parking illegally on my private titled property.
Police won't generally help if someone parks in your privately titled carspace..which to me is similar to entering someones house and sleeping in their living room without pernission. so what are people supposed to do...I dont care if the space was unoccupied for 3 years...if one day someone wanted to use their private propety and you were in it you should suffer the consequences. No sympathy here.
If you buy a property with a separate carspace on the title ( and you pay for that too...it even increases your rent) why is it not considered the same any other tresspass. You have a car...you pay your reg, insurance etc...pay for your carparking too.

Leroy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Leroy » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:17 pm

Hi Marg, not a lawyer, but to me seems that accessing private property is not necessarily trespass like you suggest? for example I parked at a private hospital to drop off a kid this morning, not trespass, and very much under the auspices of the road rules "public is invited to drive" concept. This is what makes road rules apply even on private property - I can't run you over in a Woolies carpark just because it's private property, I still have to follow the road rules.

I think that putting up a gate/bollards takes that away in your case, because the public is now not invited to drive to your title...

If your space is on your title and not part of a body corp you can tow them away with impunity.

Opinions people?

Hardy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Hardy » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:56 am

Any moving of the motor vehicle is probably theft of motor vehicle.
http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/ ... 2/s73.html
You won’t find a tow truck driver who will touch it.

Gravy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Gravy » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:28 pm

margpowell - if a person were to trespass on your land (car park) it would require a member of Victoria Police to charge them with an offence under the Summary Offences Act. Even if a person parks their car on your land and it amounts to trespass, you don't then have a right to distress damage feasant as a remedy. As already discussed in this thread the vehicle may be removed from your land but not then taken away and held for payment.

Leroy
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Re: [VIC] Towing from Private Property (Residential)

Postby Leroy » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:03 pm

Hardy, just my 2c, don’t agree with the ‘won’t touch it part’, pretty sure the company with the red towing signs (just seeing them in more and more places) will grab anything, and hope people will pay up to recover the car. Just this week Literally watched them hoist a residents car on the sole instruction of the owners Corp, no breach notice, no order from VCAT.


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