Vehicle owners who had their cars improperly towed in May will soon be able to claim a $305 refund for what it cost to retrieve their automobiles. But the six who attended Thursday's hearing on the matter say that's not enough for what they call a "criminal" mass towing at a First Friday event.
Tow Guys probably will not be fined for towing 47 vehicles from vacant lots near the downtown arts event. The company was cited multiple times for violating 18 regulations, included towing in areas without "no parking" signs, failing to notify law enforcement, improper authorization of property owners and poor records maintenance, among a long list of others.
Although it faced up to $10,000 for each of the 324 counts, the company will instead be issued written warnings, or in the words of angry vehicle owners: "a slap on the wrist."
The Nevada Transportation Authority, who heard the settlement Thursday, probably will vote to approve it at its Sept. 15 meeting. Once approved, the vehicle owners can submit a refund request to Tow Guys within 30 days. If they aren't reimbursed, they can file a complaint with the Transportation Authority.
"I'd be happy to get my $305 back, but it's just a slap on the wrist," Jerry Perkins, 43, said of the settlement for Tow Guys that netted about $15,000 from owners who paid to get their cars back. "I believe it was orchestrated and planned. You do not just tow 50 cars in a couple hours unless it is planned."
Perkins said he thinks the Transportation Authority should send a stronger message, and while he would like to see Tow Guys be forced to close its doors ---- then he wouldn't get his refund.
He said that although he was able to get his car back that night, coming up with the money was a hardship.
He said he knows several others were not able to retrieve their vehicles right away, and at least one person lost their car over the ordeal.
Ana Carrillo, 28, said she couldn't retrieve her car until the following day and had to borrow money for rent and groceries.
"I'm glad to get my money back, but they need to be punished way more than this," she said, noting that her car was returned damaged and without its antenna and a hubcap.
Neil Gilfillan, 52, said he plans to call a few attorneys to ask whether further legal action would be worth it.
"If an individual person did this, me, I'd be in court paying a fine and possibly going to jail," he said. "While I'm happy to get my money back, I don't feel it's enough."
Contact Jessica Fryman at email@example.com or 702-380-4535.