May 6, 2020
Authorities in North Carolina have filed the state’s first price-gouging lawsuit against a towing company accused of employing predatory towing and booting practices during the coronavirus pandemic.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement Tuesday a temporary restraining order was issued on Charlotte’s A1 Towing Solutions and its owner, David Satterfield, for allegedly violating the state’s price gouging statute.
The order bans them from conducting their towing business until a court hearing.
The lawsuit filed Monday says the company charged drivers more than $4,000 to release their trucks after improperly towing and booting them.
Dimetrius Wingo said he was delivering water.
“That’s all we haul: medical supplies and water,” he said.
He told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke he parked in the Home Depot parking lot on Albemarle Road on March 30.
He says the store gave him permission to leave his truck overnight, which is common.
"I came back the next morning and all the trucks were gone," he said. He thought, "Where is my truck and who stole it?"
He told Action 9 that A1 Towing Solutions had towed it and he had to pay $4,200 to get the truck back.
“We’re out here day and night trying to make sure everybody has what they have and then you have a company like this that doesn’t even care,” he said.
He says someone -- probably the company -- put up a warning sign in the Home Depot parking lot the next day.
Stein told Stoogenke multiple truck drivers complained about A1 Towing Solutions.
The Attorney General says the company:
- Targeted drivers delivering food, water, bleach or medical supplies
- Forced drivers to pay exorbitant amounts – up to $4,400 – to get trucks their trucks back or the boot off
- Booted the tractor and trailer so drivers had to pay twice
- Charged high fees for using a credit card
- Threatened to charge more if drivers didn’t pay immediately
- Charged fees for DMV filings which allegedly don’t exist.
“Look, most people out there are doing right. They’re trying to provide a product, they’re trying to provide a service, that helps people. Unfortunately, there’s going to be a few greedy people out there and when they are, we will come after them,” Stein told Stoogenke.
Stein is seeking a permanent injunction and refunds for drivers.
Stoogenke called the business to gets its side of the story, but no one answered by 2 p.m. Wednesday.