The practices of Curtis Auto Repair and Towing, located at 81 Columbus Road, have been subject to complaints since 2019, according to a previous Post report.
Councilman Ben Ziff, D-At Large, said he has heard complaints from friends about Curtis Towing but has yet to hear any as a councilmember.
Recently, two students accused Curtis Towing of unreasonable practices when it came to retrieving their cars. One of the students, Maya Meade, a junior studying journalism, alleged she was wrongfully towed.
Curtis Towing declined to comment on the matter.
Meade’s car was in a parking space behind the Bobcat Fan Store, previously UniversiTees, located at 30 N. Court St., while working in the building. She said she discovered her car was missing when she tried to leave at the end of her shift. Meade and other Bobcat Fan Store employees share a parking space in the call-to-tow lot behind the store, which is paid for by the store’s regional manager.
Upon discovering her car to have been towed, Meade spoke with her managers and called Curtis Towing. After getting into contact with the company, she was told she had to pay $181, cash only, to pick it up that evening.
Chloe Workman, a junior studying journalism, reported a similar experience. Workman received a call from her roommate letting her know her car was being towed as it was happening.
This allowed her to speak with the Curtis Towing employee over the phone. The man she spoke with told her she could come to get her vehicle right then for $45, or he would tow it and she would be required to pay $181.
“I tried to hurry up and get back down there so I could pay him the $45 and just keep my car,” Workman said. “Well, he failed to mention that it was cash-only. And so I hustled over, and I brought my card out and he was like, ‘Oh, it's cash-only.’”
Workman was unable to convince the employee to stay long enough for her dad to arrive with the $45 in cash, she said. This forced her to go pick up the car from the towing lot and pay $181.
“I literally was just bawling my eyes out,” she said. “And he had no sympathy at all.”
Meade, on the other hand, had no choice but to travel to the lot. The Curtis Towing employee she spoke to told her to give him a call when she was at the lot and he would meet her there, she said. She followed his instruction, but ended up waiting nearly an hour before any employees arrived, despite calling multiple times, she said.
While she was waiting, another man showed up to retrieve his vehicle, Meade said. This man was very upset, as he was also towed from a parking spot that his company pays for Uptown, Meade said. The man asserted neither he nor she would be paying the tow fee.
When the employee finally arrived, Meade said the other man informed him they would not be paying and if he forced them to pay, he would call the police and report the vehicles as stolen, given they were towed from call-to-tow lots without a call.
“It's very sketchy that it’s cash-only, and who just has that much cash lying around?” Meade said. “I think the worker kind of got scared because … he started to shake and stuff, and he wrote ‘void’ and we signed it and we left.”
Meade said she is glad that ultimately, she did not have to pay the fee. However, she knows that many others are not so lucky.
“It really sucked when it happened,” she said.