Denver, CO

Denver Couple Claims Wrongfully Towed Vehicle Led to Lost Wages

Synthia Stark
Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

In Denver, Colorado, a couple was shocked to learn that their parking space was empty. Their parking space was located in their apartment’s private garage in Denver. 

The couple had a valid parking permit, valid vehicle registration, and were parked in an unassigned spot. There were many unassigned spots in this parking lot, so it’s a surprise that their vehicle was towed. The couple wants the company to reimburse them for the wages that they had lost while their car was gone.

According to Sarah Sersch, one of the people affected, Sarah first thought that their car was stolen but then noticed that there were some drag marks on the ground. The couple ended up going on Wyatt’s Towing website and realized that the car had been towed at 4:55 AM that morning.
Screenshot of a page from Wyatt's Towing

If we take a look at Wyatt’s website, they have two facilities, one in Denver, Colorado, and another in Englewood, Colorado. The website also states the following:

“Wyatt’s family of companies serves thousands of property owners across the front range of Colorado by helping manage their parking lots. Most parking issues can be resolved with active monitoring and selective towing. By managing the parking, you increase the value of the property and increase the happiness of your tenants. We look forward to working with you to develop a customized plan to improve your parking situation.”

According to the couple, they had a valid and visible parking permit but the towing company has suggested the opposite. Sarah then contacted Wyatt’s for the photos they took. Wyatt’s responded that Sarah would need a court subpoena.

Somehow, Sarah managed to obtain the photocopies from her property manager, and the wife reported being able to see the valid parking permit in the windshield.
Photo by Lauren Sauder on Unsplash

In the end, both Sarah and the partner were able to get the car released back to them for free, but they still lost some money. For example, Sarah’s partner had to miss a full day’s worth of work since the partner’s work gear was inside the car and they both had to pay for an expensive Uber ride to retrieve their car eventually.

In the end, Sarah filed a complaint with Wyatt’s asking for reimbursement for lost wages and the Uber fare. According to Wyatt’s, she would need to receive a response within 48 hours, but according to Sarah, it’s been a full week since the towing first conspired.

Sarah ended up doing lots of online research, like reading other peoples’ reviews of the same service. Sarah also filed a complaint with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The Transportation Section of the PUC is responsible for overseeing towing carriers that operate on a for-hire basis in Colorado.

Logo of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies - Public Utilities Commission

If we take a look at their website, we see that they are responsible for:

“…The safety and insurance oversight of passenger carriers, household goods movers, and towing carriers that operate on a for-hire basis in Colorado.”

According to Doug Dean, the Director of Colorado Public Utilities Commission:

“The property manager does not have to be there when the tow takes place. The property manager or owner can designate someone, and frequently it’s the tow company themselves, to act as the agent. That designation has to be in writing in order for it to be a valid tow.”

From the sounds of it, the driver of the tow truck might have acted as the authorizing agent, which some people may not like. However, the PUC has to look through the couple’s file carefully before making any decisions.

Doug also reportedly mentioned:

“We have a staff of investigators who go out, inspect their records and all the information they have on tows. We take enforcement actions against companies up to and including putting them out of business.”

For now, the PUC is looking into their file, and this means it may take some time before we know the outcome. For now though, if you believe that your vehicle has been wrongfully towed, it’s best to file a complaint with the PUC so that they can do a proper investigation. The people of Denver, Colorado deserve to know what their options are, especially if something like this happened to us.

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Mental Health Professional | Crisis Responder | Science Writer


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