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Towing company that hauled legal cars gets license yanked (NY)


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A Bronx towing company that lined its pockets for three and a half years by hauling away legally parked cars from fast-food restaurant lots has lost its license, court records show.

809 Collision’s license was revoked last month when an administrative-law judge ruled in favor of several motorists who had filed complaints with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Judge Faye Lewis found the company regularly performed unlawful tows, inflated fees and refused credit-card payments from its victims, most of whom were legally parked in fast-food restaurant lots.

“It’s a scam,” railed Johanna Paniagua, whose husband found their Acura missing after parking it at a McDonald’s on Southern Boulevard in November 2014 and going inside with their two young daughters.

“They came out and the car was gone,” Paniagua said Monday. “They thought it was stolen.”

They eventually spotted a sign listing 809 Collision as the lot’s tow company.

The company demanded $408 in cash to release the car, despite it being legally parked and the family producing a receipt proving they were in the McDonald’s.

“We had to empty out our bank account,” Paniagua recalled. “It was very humiliating.”

Paniagua was one of 21 people whose claims against the company were part of the administrative case. Four of them had parked in the same McDonald’s lot, while others were towed from Burger King, White Castle and Little Caesars locations across the Bronx.

Another driver claimed an unidentified 809 Collision worker threatened him with a gun in a clash over his car being towed from the same McDonald’s. He filed a complaint with police.

Victims also blasted the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website.

One 83-year-old motorist wrote in 2016 that an 809 Collision worker threatened to tow his car after its engine started smoking and he was forced to pull over.

“My car was obviously smoking and he was pretending he couldn’t see that,” the driver wrote, saying he had left the car for less than five minutes to look for an auto shop.

He said the tow-truck operator lifted the car and refused to let it go until he coughed up $135 in cash.

“I was basically robbed by them,” the driver said.

Messages left with phone numbers listed for 809 Collision went unanswered.



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