By Sean Cruz
Portland—There will be rejoicing in the land when and if the 2009 Oregon legislature passes Representative Chuck Riley’s patrol towing reform bills.
As reported by The Oregonian’s Rick Bella, Representative Riley will finish the job begun in 2007 by Senator Avel Gordly (SB 431) and Attorney General Hardy Myers (SB116). See story, here:
The City of Fairview is the first Oregon municipality to act on the authority to ban patrol towing granted to all Oregon cities as a result of the 2007 legislation.
Contact your City Council, urging them to ban patrol towing in your town.
Representative Riley’s draft legislation addresses the commission-based foundation of Retriever Towing’s business model, the root cause of most patrol towing abuses, and the predators are already starting to howl.
Mr. Bella notes that the patrol towing reforms will be opposed by commercial property interests as well as by the towers themselves, the sole opposition to the 2007 bills, which passed both House and Senate on unanimous votes.
It was pressure from the commercial property interests that prevented the passage of the complete ban on patrol towing in Oregon that Senator Gordly sought in 2007, for there are big dollars at stake, and they will be back in 2009.
Retriever’s and Sergeant’s contracts with commercial property owners and managers, deferring on-the-spot decision making to drivers working on commission, is the other part of the predatory patrol towing problem.
In exchange for this authority, Sergeant’s and Retriever provide their “services” to the owners and managers for free, getting 100% of their revenue from their fleets of towjacking thugs.
The commercial property owners demand the service, and they demand it for free. They will carry that argument to the 2009 legislature, and future campaign contributions from this powerful lobby will hinge on how the votes come down.
Representative Riley gave notice during the 2007 House Consumer Protection Committee hearings that if the industry did not shape up before the 2009 session, he would take them on and seek a ban on the practice, and he is delivering on that promise.
The general public still has a role to play in this argument.
Contact your legislators and Representative Riley and voice your support, here:
Stay informed on the issue. If you are able to attend any hearings, do so. Your legislators will be happy to help orient you around the Capitol.
If you are wrongfully patrol-towed, the Attorney General’s office is waiting to hear from you, ready to hear your complaint. 2007’s Senate Bill 116 and 431 empowered the AG to promulgate and enforce involuntary towing regulations on its own authority.
Register your complaint here:
The Attorney General now has the statutory authority to promulgate and enforce regulations regarding involuntary towing, including the price thereof. Many predatory patrol towing practices are now subject to civil sanctions, including prosecution under Unfair Trade Practices statutes.
Sean Cruz writes:
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