More truckers accuse tow companies of ‘targeting’ them

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More truck drivers are turning to FOX 46 for help, complaining of overly aggressive towing practices, as they try to bring food, water and cleaning supplies to the Queen City.

“We’re here, we’re trying to get these essential items to the locations that’s in need at this point,” said Whitney Hitchcock with K&M Logistics out of South Carolina. “And they’re taking advantage of a lot of companies charging high amounts.”

“Don’t put your hands on me,” a worker with A 1 Towing Solutions is heard telling K&M’s driver on video, even though the driver never appears to touch anyone.

The driver was on his way to an Amazon distribution center in Charlotte to deliver needed Clorox supplies, Hitchcock said, when he stopped to get gas at the 7-Eleven on Little Rock Road. The driver went inside to pay with an Electronic Funds Source check – a common practice among truckers – which involves contacting the trucking company and getting a transaction number.

During the early morning hours, the process took a while, Hitchcock said.

“He got into the truck,” she said, “and at that point a few moments later he felt something outside of his truck.”

She says A 1 Towing Solutions did not care where the truck was going or what was on it. They put a boot on the truck, which was parked at the fuel pump, and demanded $3000 to have it removed.

“To have to spend $3000 just to keep your unit from being towed,” said Hitchcock, “that was a tremendous hit for us.”

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Off-camera, A 1 Towing Solutions accused K & M of “using the Coronavirus as an excuse.” A man who answered the phone, who again would not give his name, said the driver was sleeping for more than three hours.

“I’ve been away for one hour,” the driver is heard saying on the video.

Hitchcock disputes that the man was sleeping and showed a 7-Eleven parking pass saying they had permission to be there.

Police were called but said it is a civil matter.

The incident occurred last month, a week before Mecklenburg County announced its stay-at-home order.

FOX 46 reached out to 7-Eleven but did not immediately hear back.

The man who answered the phone at A 1 Towing Solutions said if K & M can “prove” that the driver was not sleeping they would “consider” a refund.

Hitchcock says they have filed a complaint with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. His office is investigating five complaints statewide, with some prompted by a series of FOX 46 investigations.

Hitchcock feels like truckers are being targeted because booting a truck can fetch around $3000 and having it towed can be double that.

“You feel like they’re specifically targeting trucks,” asked FOX 46’s Matt Grant.

“That is correct, yes,” said Hitchcock. “Here in South Carolina, we haven’t experienced anything like this.”

Last week, A 1 Towing refused to issue refunds for two trucking companies that were parked at a Home Depot.

In both cases, posted signs warned the lots were private and vehicles are subject to tow.  

Home Depot Statement:

Asked about truckers being towed at their lot, a Home Depot spokesperson says the company will “look into this more” and released the following statement:

“For months now, we’ve been posting notices on trucks and had signage in the lot in accordance with local ordinance, which we recently updated. We regularly work with FEMA during disasters and have not received any special requests, so we were not aware of any trucks that were carrying relief supplies.”

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