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Car recently towed at local Wendys

My car was recently towed...
My car was recently towed by my local Wendy's fast food restaurant. I ordered food there during my lunch hour. When I went outside it wouldn't start, the battery was dead. So I got a ride to work and left it there. It had been sitting there for 4 hours because my battery had died, and I had to get back to work soon. I did not notify any employees, because I wouldn't be too long at work. I left at 5:30pm. I returned at roughly 9:30pm. My car was gone. I went inside and asked if it had been towed, and they replied that it was literally just towed away within 5 minutes ago. They said the horn wouldn't stop going off, so they towed it. The doors were locked, the battery was dead, how can the horn go off? I googled it, and it says its possible that during cold weather the horn could go off, but it was around 85 or 90 degrees today. I also saw on google that wendy's has a contract with local towing companies to tow vehicles, and wendy's gets a share of the profits. I called the towing company, I have to pay 205 dollars, and it goes up 30 dollars each day at midnight. I have 1 hour and 12 minutes before it goes up to a total of 235 dollars. Please respond soon. I want to know if there is any legal action I can take to get my vehicle back. Assuming I have a good case, and the court fees cost less than 235, I would like to take this to court. So I need to know, how do I structure my case? What arguments should I make? Or do I have no case at all?


Wow, i did not pick child custody lawyers.  I do not know what category this goes under, please redirect it.  
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
7/1/2012
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 119,606
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Verified
You need to start by paying to get the car released. Then you need to go back to the Wendy's and see if there are any towing signs posted telling customers that cars parked there over a certain time would be towed and if there are not, then you have grounds to seek to sue Wendy's for towing your car. If there are signs posted regarding towing, then I am afraid as you were on private property and it was posted that they can tow you and they are not liable to you.

Had you asked the manager and informed him of the problem (you said you did not notify anyone) then you would have had an argument that the manager gave you permission and knew the car was dead and was waiting for a tow. However, without any notice to the manager and permission, I am afraid that is going to be a problem if the lot was posted.

If there was no sign posted saying you could be towed, you would have grounds to sue them for unauthorized towing of your vehicle without posting the notice to patrons that the car would be towed and you need to take pictures of the area to show there were no signs as your evidence.


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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
So what would you recommend I do? There are no signs posted saying that vehicles may be towed in the parking lot at Wendy's. The managers excuse for towing my vehicle was that it was honking, despite the fact that it was dead, and the doors were locked. I find that a little hard to believe. What should I mention in court? Will the fact that there are no signs posted saying "vehicles will be towed if left unattended" likely result in my victory in the case?
Customer reply replied 5 years ago
I am trying to contact the towing company to get my car, but they will not answer the phone. They are going to charge me 30 dollars at midnight. Im trying to pay the fine to get my vehicle back. Can they legally ignore my calls to make an extra 30 dollars?
First, you should pay to get the car out. If they are not opened or have nobody at the lot, then you will have to pay the extra $30 I am afraid. Second, if there are no signs, the manager's claims are likely not going to hold up in a court as an excuse for having it towed without any notice that cars in the lot can be towed and you would need to tell them you want reimbursement for the tow or you will file suit in small claims court.

I am afraid that if the lot is posted, then they would have the right to tow your car from their private property if it was left there and you were not in the store.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
To conclude: Got my car out for 205. There are no signs, I will take pictures and video in the morning. Does the fact that there are no signs make it likely that I will win this case and be reimbursed? I just want to know if the odds are in my favor.
Also, would it be considered relevant in this case if i found proof that Wendy's has a contract with the local towing company that towed my vehicle? Wendy's would have an incentive to tow my vehicle, further decreasing their credibility, correct?
Are there any flaws with my argument? (No signs on the lot stating my car may be towed, therefore wendy's owes me money for unauthorized towing)
This will likely be my last question.
The fact there were no signs does give you the odds in your favor. The contract with the towing company is a part of your evidence that the manager had incentive to tow you without warning. You would tell the manager since they did not post the towing notice you demand they pay your tow costs and if not you will sue him personally for lying about your horn and for towing your car without any reason.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Will wendys likely bring in witnesses to say that the horn was honking? Like employees?/

Also, if the towing company did any damage to my car, do I seek reimbursement from them or wendys?
They can try, but again, you would have to present the mechanical evidence showing the battery was dead and as such the horn would not just honk and before you do anything in getting the car repaired you need to have your mechanic inspect it so they can testify to show that it would not have been honking as claimed.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
The horn honking is my only weakness. I don't find it likely, but if they bring witnesses like employees, that say it was honking, will that likely tip the case in favor of wendys?

Your mechanic can testify to prove with the dead battery that could not happen. It is not likely that the horn honking would be the only thing that wins the case for them.
Law Educator, Esq.
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Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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