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Predatory towing stirs controversy in Charlotte

Towing has been a long-time controversial topic in Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Towing has been a long-time controversial topic in Charlotte.

The city keeps booming — more people moving here and parking can be hard to come by in certain neighborhoods.

But whether you’re new here or a local, like the woman WCNC spoke with, you could get duped.

"I went across the street for 5 minutes — got a to-go order — came back and there was a boot on my car," said Chamblee Small.

She says she was given two options: pay cash or credit. She felt flustered, and panicky because she didn't know the rules.

"It made me feel stupid. I had no idea what the rules were," Small admitted.

Companies in Charlotte have a history of making headlines for predatory towing and the city has made a point to be more transparent about the rules. The ordinance says signs must be posted, with one-and-a-half inch high RED letters, on a white background, which read "tow-away-zone" or "towing enforced."

A phone number must be provided to retrieve your car. Between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. the owner of the private lot must sign a written authorization for removal of your car, and the wrecker driver must show it to you, including the reason for the tow, the make, model, year, color, VIN number and license plate number. CMPD must be notified and your car can’t be removed until you’ve has been given a complaint number.

Booting services must accept cash, or at least two major credit cards and debit cards

"The more everyone is informed the better off the community will be," said Small.

Towing companies say another new addition is fine amounts are now included on the posted entrance signs.

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