Valley man's car towed despite having proper parking permit

When Adrian King stopped by his sister-in-law's house for her birthday party, he already knew the drill.

"We had to place a pass in the windshield to authorize our parking there," King said.

That's because the HOA only allows parking on the street with prior approval and a permit, otherwise you could be towed.

Since his sister-in-law made arrangements weeks in advance for her guests to all have passes, King thought his pickup truck would be safe.

But after a few minutes inside the party, he came out to find that the truck was missing.

"Well, I thought it was stolen at first," he said.

Not exactly. King, a disabled veteran, says a towing company loaded up his truck and hauled it off, illegally.

He explained, "They told me they would not return my vehicle unless I paid $200 cash."

Lots of haggling and a few police calls later, King was eventually able to get his truck back -- without paying a dime.

Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, we've got these steps you'll need to take.

Obviously, you have to make sure that you really are legally parked.

You may want to even take a picture when you get out of the the car, if it is an area known for towing.

If you have a permit, display it in an obvious area.

Contact the tow company immediately. If they refuse to release your vehicle file a police report.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) says if your car is towed without cause or agreement, it is a crime and the driver could be arrested.

You will also want to file a complaint with the DPS Commercial Enforcement Bureau .

Be sure to include the police report information.

If the business receives enough complaints it could trigger an audit by the state and possibly put them out of business for good.

E-mail me with any consumer problem, or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

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