What to Do if Your Car Is Towed in Orlando
The city of Orlando’s towing practices are governed by the laws of Orange County. Towing from private property that you didn’t request is referred to as a trespass tow and has very specific rules and regulations. Read on for the important information you need to know if your car is towed in Orlando.
The Scene of the Tow
If you come back to your car and find that your car is in the process of being towed, you have the option to pay a drop fee to get your car released to you. This fee must be half or less of the amount it would be to tow it to the company’s storage lot, so you’ll save a substantial amount. The tow driver must allow you at least fifteen minutes to get payment (you can pay via cash, credit, or debit card). Make sure you get a written receipt to prove you paid.
If Your Car Is Already Gone
If you’re staring at the blank space where you left your car, the first step is to locate the towing sign that gives you the name and number of the company who towed your car. Tow companies are required to notify the sheriff’s department within a half hour of arriving at their storage facility with your vehicle, so call the sheriff’s office if you don’t see a sign.
When you have the towing company’s number, call and ask the following questions:
- Where is my car?
- What is the exact amount of the fees I owe, and how will future charges accrue?
- What methods of payment are acceptable? (These may include cash, cashier’s check, money order, credit cards, and debit cards.)
- What documents do I need to bring to claim my vehicle?
You have the right to pick up your car within an hour of notifying the tow company that you’d like to retrieve it. It’s best to do this as soon as you can, as storage charges will accrue each day and many storage facilities are only open for limited hours.
Many people don’t realize that they don’t have to pay the full fee to get their car back. Ask the towing company for a written bill detailing all of the charges and bring it and two additional copies to the Orange County courthouse to post a bond. You will be given a clerk’s certificate. When you show this to the towing company, they are legally required to release your vehicle immediately.
If you notice violations of county codes (such as no signs posted or paid spotters monitoring parking lots, which is illegal in Orange County), you may be able to get some or all of your towing costs refunded. You can find the official Towing Complaint Form on the Orange County Government website here.