Originally on Fox 46

April 8, 2020

The complaints keep rolling in.

“Predatory towing has been a problem. It’s not new to this particular crisis,” said Tyler Hayes with C.R. England, a refrigerated trucking company based in Utah. “But it looks like it’s really taking off as a cottage industry in Charlotte.”

Attorney General Josh Stein is now investigating five complaints of tow truck companies booting and towing truckers who are transporting food and critical supplies.

All five complaints are in Charlotte.

So far, FOX 46 has recovered more than $6,000 for truckers. But some companies, like A 1 Towing Solutions, refused. They insist they are doing their job and point to posted warning signs.

Stein is looking into the company after it towed at least two trucks from a Home Depot in Charlotte. The owner of Y-Fly Express says he was contracted by FEMA to haul water and had been given permission by a manager at Home Depot to park in the lot overnight. A 1 Towing Solutions demanded $4000 to get his truck back.

“For months now, we’ve been posting notices on trucks and had signage in the lot in accordance with local ordinance, which we recently updated,” said Home Depot spokesperson Christina Cornell. “We regularly work with FEMA during disasters and have not received any special requests, so we were not aware of any trucks that were carrying relief supplies.”

After talking with FOX 46, Cornell says Home Depot will “look into this more.”

“We’re scrambling to get food moved around to where it’s needed,” said Hayes, who is now the latest victim of Charlotte’s aggressive towing practices.

In the early morning hours last Friday, a driver for C.R. England parked at a 7-Eleven on Statesville Road after the check engine light came on, Hayes said.

The truck was booted, then towed, when the driver couldn’t come up with the money fast enough. The company had to pay Carolina’s Towing $5000, according to receipts.

“The manager of the 7-Eleven where he was parked actually came out and told the towing company that our guys were not parked illegally at all,” said Hayes. “And the tow truck driver just, he refused to even give his name.”

FOX 46 reached out to 7-Eleven Monday about another towing complaint and again on Tuesday about this one. The company did not respond.

Calls to Carolina’s Towing went to a voicemail that was full.

“This is egregious from a human standpoint, said Hayes. “When you’re booting a truck that someone is clearly in, if it really was an issue…just say, ‘Hey move your truck.’”

“This is clearly profiteering,” he added. “And this is the last thing we need to see at this point in time.”

If you feel like you are the victim of price gouging or a scam related to COVID-19 you are urged to contact Attorney General Josh Stein’s office at (877) 5-NO-SCAM or online at https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/