Q&A - Towed From Business Parking Lot
I was recently towed from a business lot in Kelowna and my car was impounded. The lot is quite large and services multiple businesses. There are no signs when you enter the lot to indicate that it is a private lot. The parking spots have small signs on the curb of the sidewalk that say "[Insert business name here] parking only." There is one sign on the opposite wall of a separate building that has a tow company name and number.
I was at another business in the same building. I parked at 10:25 and my car arrived at the tow lot (4 km away) at 11:00. I did not see the "customer parking only sign" and was towed immediately. The owner of the store refused to tell me where my car was, and the tow truck operator hung up on me when I called to ask where my car was located. Once I figured out where it was, the tow truck owner/operator refused to give me my car after I confronted him about his lack of signage. I finally received my car back after a 187.00 fee, which I believe to be inconsistent with the fees set out in the Warehouse Lien Act.
I have read through the motor vehicle act, but it only specifies that owners of rural land have to wait 72 hours to tow. The motor vehicle act has numerous regulations for tow truck operators when the police are involved, but nothing for private companies. I have also read through the Warehouse Lien Act and have not been able to identify the standards.
I have called the city of Kelowna and they do not have by-laws that govern private towing companies. I have called ICBC and they do not handle towing companies.
I am hoping that you can provide some advice on the rules and regulations for tow truck operators and for private property within city limits.