From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2008
CONTACT: Arturo Ballesteros
(512) 463-0120 office
(512) 810-1294 cell

Hinojosa, Gonzales Request AG Action on Unlawful Towing Companies

McALLEN -- State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa has asked the Texas Attorney General's (AG) office to investigate two towing companies in Hidalgo County that are believed to be illegally towing vehicles. In a letter sent to the AG, Senator Hinojosa asked the AG's office to begin strict enforcement of laws designed to protect consumers from rogue towing companies.

South Texas news outlets have run stories on fraudulent towing practices, including posting signs where none are authorized and charging exorbitant fees to release vehicles.

"Illegal towing has been a problem in Hidalgo County for some time. News outlets have reported on towing companies that post their own 'No Parking' signs without any authorization, and then tow cars away. With the fees charged by these towing companies, these towing companies are basically holding people's vehicles hostage. These astronomical fees are like ransoms," Senator Hinojosa said.

State Representative Veronica Gonzales joined Senator Hinojosa in his push for increased scrutiny of illegal towing by the AG. "Towing abuses in Hidalgo County have gone on for far too long. I am hopeful that with General Abbott's assistance we can put an end to illegal towing practices."

Hinojosa's letter specifically asks the AG to pursue legal action against towing companies engaging in deceptive practices. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has regulatory oversight of the towing industry and together with the McAllen Police Department, is investigating claims of illegal towing practice in Hidalgo County.

Senator Hinojosa cited the holiday shopping season as a perfect time to ramp up efforts to stop unlawful towing.

"The economy, as anyone can tell, is not in the best shape. During the next several weeks, when Hidalgo County families are doing their holiday shopping, losing a few hundred dollars to an unscrupulous towing company can mean fewer gifts under the Christmas tree. This is an issue of consumer protection, of protecting our pockets from thieves who are out to exploit hard-working Texans. I will be working with the AG to make sure we stay focused on this issue until we eliminate illegal towing," Hinojosa concluded.

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