Tow truck driver adds a needed bit of common sense to the matter of vehicles being towed.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 17th, 2018



There have been a lot of silly statements made about the couple that parked their car -n the parking lot on Brant just north of Caroline. (It isn’t fair to call it the No Frills parking lot – they don’t own it – they are just tenants).

The couple admit that they saw the sign but parked anyway and wandered off to shop elsewhere and returned to find their car gone and had to pay $300. To get it back.

There have been dozens of comments on that story. One from a tow truck driver makes a number of important points.

Folks…I have been in the towing industry for many many years. I do not and have not ever worked for Classic Towing. I thought as a member of the towing community I would break some of this article down for the general public.

1) Who should i contact to right a wrong or inquire how to solve a potential corrupt scam……*YOU parked on private property and left the premises, YOU were in the wrong. There is no scam.*

John - No frills - laneway

People who park their car and then leave the parking lot get towed.

2) It seems a huge scam as the tow truck driver said he takes 50 cars out of there a day…..*So he gives people a 15 min grace period in case they just ran somewhere then takes min 10 mins to hook up a car…lets say 15 mins to get to their pound location…another 15 to unhook the car and write an invoice…another 15 mins back to the parking lot. That’s 55 mins…Impossible he tows 50 cars a day…I highly doubt the driver said that*

3) A $20 warning ticket would have sufficed. I would have learned my lesson….*WHO is going to write the ticket? and what lesson is to be learned if this is as you say “A huge scam”*

4) Once I came back and couldn’t find my car I obviously saw the other signs that cars will get towed. In their defence it is clearly marked by signage…*So its the shady tow truck drivers fault YOU are not aware of your surroundings?*

Tow signs in No Frills

The signs are displayed in several locations in the parking lot.

5) Is there anything that can be done? Some investigation into how the towing company and the plaza owner are potentially preying on customers. It just seems so corrupt…*YOU left the property…YOU are NOT a customer while eating dinner off the property…how are they preying on you if you illegally parked on private property that is clearly marked with the signage in this article*

I could go on for hours…but at the end of the day us tow truck drivers have a job…TOWING CARS. The owner of private property has EVERY right to remove cars that shouldn’t be there…the tow company was hired to do a job. If you think for one second this is the only private property that has cars towed think again. There are many plazas, apartments and condos, businesses etc etc….Remember folks…us horrible preying scam artist vultures in tow trucks..may one day be the guys that save your life or get you out of a bad spot.

Our tow truck driver adds that: “In order to be able to tow accident scenes in Ontario tow truck drivers go through police screening. Yearly.

Tow truck - no markings

Tow truck sits at the entrance to the parking lot – waiting.

He adds: Being labelled a piece of garbage isn’t pleasant. A lot of people don’t understand or have any clue the things we have to do and see on a daily basis. We continuously get beaten down. I am not saying ALL tow truck drivers are great awesome decent guys…like any industry there is always bad apples….but…Classic Towing is one of the biggest companies in Canada, I find it difficult to believe they are involved in anything illegal, scam or shady.

The tow truck driver asked that we not identify him.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

28 comments to Tow truck driver adds a needed bit of common sense to the matter of vehicles being towed.


    I`m sure that you follow all the rules all the time.
    Glad that we live in a democratic country where we should have a little more tolerance and kindness.


    You have forgotten that many are customers of the shops in the plaza. They often do banking, No Frills, Dollarama but hey, at the end of their strip mall visit…perhaps that they would just like to cross the street and grab a coffee at Tamp…supporting local business. Maybe you don`t support that either.

    • Krista

      It’s so cut and dry. If you leave the lot at all you are no longer a customer. And there are tons of signs around the lot that say just that and spell out the rules. Supporting local businesses is great but why do some people feel entitled to get free parking while visiting those other shops while others simply follow the rules and pay the couple dollars for the parking the city has to offer… the money goes to our city. SUPPORTING our city.

      Its funny. The people that cause such an uproar about this are the ones that are in the wrong… not reading signs, trying to cheap out of paying for parking… all of these people know what they are doing is wrong but don’t think they will get caught. No downtown parking is free unless after 6pm or on weekends and it’s not just Burlington that it’s like that. Guess you are one of those people that feels entitled and are better then the rest of us who follow the rules, pay the couple dollars to support our city while going to support local business

  • Karen

    After reading all this, no way am I EVER shopping at that plaza again, I agree that you shouldn’t park there and walk off, however if you shopped there and wanted to pop across the rd to the the bank or some other place for a few minutes you should be allowed to as you already made purchases there in the plaza, some exceptions should apple in my opinion. Anyway my concern would be a tow truck driver making a mistake and taking your car when you are actually shopping for over an hour or so in No frills or several of the stores there in the plaza, how do they know where you are???

  • Rob

    How do you, or your car, become ‘authorized’ to park there? Where’s the sign for that?

    • Krista

      There are so many signs for that … you can park there if you are a customer of the lot. But as soon as you leave the property you are no longer a customer there. It’s pretty simple

  • Perry Bowker

    “Bylaw officers can’t write a ticket.” Nonsense. The sign clearly references “City of Burlingtnon bylaw…”. Therefore a bylaw officer can enforce the bylaw. But they must be directed to do so, and this would require the property owner to ask them to do so. Which would mean a ticket, payable to the City. Or the property owner could install a couple of parking machines, like in other private lots in the area. But in this case, easier to just arbitrarily haul cars away, I guess.

    • Susan

      If the issue is people parking there and leaving and taking up all the spots designated for CUSTOMER parking..why would the owner install parking machines? It is not about making money its about having parking spots for the people using the stores in the plaza! as for bylaw officers..i said they dont..not cant. you have to call them, file a complaint with vehicle and licence plate etc then they put your complaint in a pile that is prioritized by “importance”. YES i checked. The city of burlington and halton police are fully aware that private property owners have had to turn to having cars towed.

      • Phillip

        Really? When I was there last Friday at 6:45 pm, the lot was more than half empty but Classic had two trucks there. This wouldn’t happen unless it was about boosting towing revenue.

        • Krista

          Regardless what time it is Phillip it’s still someone else’s property. The people that park in this lot Shouldn’t expect to be able to get free parking for going downtown. Everywhere in Burlington has paid parking, the people that park here and cause issues are the ones that are trying to cheap out of paying like everyone else who ladies to go downtown. This is private property the lot owner can do whatever they want that includes bringing in a tow company until the message finally gets across that people have to stop being so damn lazy and cheap and park in the parking that Burlington has to offer. In the same area there is a paid public parking lot. But everyone decides to use his or her property instead because it’s free

          It doesn’t matter what time of day it is it’s still not public property and for people to park that aren’t customers. If those stores are closed then the lot should be empty it’s as simple as that.

  • Susan

    Philip…as the driver said….like ANY industry there are some bad apples…for the record have you been in an accident in Halton Region? I have….only 3 months ago actually. The rates for accident tows are set by the region and police not the towing company. I had no idea until it actually happened to me. Also…do you know their overhead? do you know what it costs the tow companies just to be in business? Offices, office staff, pounds for cars, cost of trucks, paying drivers, maintaining trucks, insurance…just like you all say “who decides how much to charge for impounding a car..this is too much” who are you to decide how much is ok for them to charge to cover their expenses? Maggie…you tell a story from a different city and then you decide that bylaw can ticket cars on these properties. Well they do not! and yes! i looked into it because this story has my attention.
    Lonely taxpayer…there are plenty of pictures in the other stories the gazette has written of the signs and they are very clear about the parking rules.

    • Phillip

      Susan, your posts indicate that you have “a lot of skin in the game”. Do you work for Classic or the property owner?

      • Susan

        haha no actually to both…i have no skin in the game…i am however a fan of the gazette. These posts though really got my interest because it seems that everyone is blaming the property owner and the tow company yet no one is blaming the people who are actually parking on private property.
        guess its just the usual play the blame game…not my fault..poor me…wah wah self entitled people who think they can do whatever they want.

  • Lonely Taxpayer

    Just a small note to add to the towing expert…

    The No Parking sign clearly indicates unauthorized cars can be towed.

    The No Parking sign makes NO mention however that the driver parking must shop at any of the stores at the plaza.

    This means a person can park in the lot, walk directly into No Frills and come directly out and STILL get towed.

    It would be your word against the pound holding your car.

    Plus the last time MY car was towed (in Toronto) it was damaged in the pound and I had to fix the damage out of my own pocket.

    Personally – I will NEVER park in that lot. Too expensive a risk.

    • Susan

      Private Property
      Plaza Customers Only

      If you do not agree with the terms rules and policies or fees
      do not park on this property

      Zero Tolerance Policy In Effect On This Property

      Plaza consists of storefronts facing parking lot. All other businesses
      exempt from plaza parking.
      All businesses attached to Scotia Bank are not part of plaza. Designated
      bank spots provided, applying same rules as plaza.
      If you walk off property with intent to shop upon return, you will be towed
      If you shop, then walk off property, you will be towed.

      This is the EXACT wording on the multiple signs posted throughout the lot. I think its pretty clear!! The towing prices are also on these signs.

    • Krista

      If you go into any of the stores and shop then you won’t get towed.
      The other article has their other sign that explains it point blank
      If you leave the property and even if you “plan to shop upon your return” you get towed
      If you shop and then leave the property you are no longer a customer there, you get towed
      If you just park there and leave you get towed. Going downtown is fine but you have to pay for parking just like everyone else. You can’t park in that lot (that isn’t yours) and cheap out of paying to go downtown

  • Maggie

    Even though I don’t drive and am therefore not effected I have been following this story. One thing that has come up is the choice of ticketing vs. towing. It has been stated that the owner can’t ticket, only a by-law officer and they won’t because this is private property. I realize this is Burlington and every city is different but I was witness to a situation in Hamilton a year or so ago that makes me question the accuracy of the assumption that by-law officers can’t issue a ticket on private property.
    I was having dinner with a dining group I was involved with at a small restaurant on James N. It was in behind a bank (I forget which one). The bank owned the property, including the parking lot, which rapped around the building, including in the back. The restaurant was supposed to have parking in the lot for it’s customers. The regular deal was the owner would give passes to be put on the patron’s windshields. None of our group had ever been to this restaurant before so were unaware of the policy and the owner was very busy that night with multiple groups that he forgot to tell us of this arrangement. Naturally as patrons of the restaurant the drivers assumed they could park in the lot. Imagine the surprise when someone looked out the window and saw a parking enforcer ticketing their cars. They rushed out and tried to explain that they were patrons of the restaurant and therefore should be allowed to park there while enjoying their meal. He wouldn’t listen. All he could see were cars without permits parking there and proceeded to give all drivers a ticket, even after the restaurant owner went out and tried to explain that yes these were in fact his customers and they had a legal right to be there. This officer would not budge. Fortunately the restaurant owner had enough regard for his customers to collect all the tickets which he paid at his own expense. There are two points to this. One is that common sense should prevail. Two is that bylaw enforcers can issue tickets on private property as opposed to towing as a solution.

    • Krista

      It’s private property yes they can give you a ticket but lots of people don’t know that you don’t have to pay it. You could rip it up and give it back to the bylaw officer. There is nothing they could do… just to inform you

      • Beth

        Krista – it depends on who writes the ticket. If it is from a private company (say IMPARK), yes rip it up. However, if it is from the City it will end up in the Province’s database and be there when you go to renew your license plate. CBC Marketplace did an episode on tickets from private companies but didn’t realise that there are different laws in different cities about parking and its enforcement. I own a parking lot in Hamilton and I’ve heard this argument regularly from people lately.

        In Hamilton, the Hamilton Parking Authority employs commissionaires with the ability to ticket people with city tickets on private parking lots. The owner of the lot has to complete paperwork allowing the city to ticket on their property and display signs indicating “Authorized Parking Only” and the appropriate by-law. The City uses the revenue from these tickets to pay for the commissionaires, the parking lot owner doesn’t get anything from the tickets besides deterring people from parking without paying.

        I don’t know how it works in Burlington with respect to enforcement by the city. It may be that towing is the only deterrent available to the property owner. Parking lots cost money. Snow clearing and salting, taxes, paving, maintenence, lights, insurance – they’re not a free thing. Offering free parking is a big incentive to a potential tenant and will increase the rent that tenant will pay, but that free parking has to be available for the tenant’s customers when they arrive. If those spaces are filled by others, the tenants don’t make money, so they can’t then pay the property owner and it becomes a cycle.

        So be careful of ripping a ticket up.

  • Sarah

    I think what this tow company is doing is awesome! People who think that they can park DOWNTOWN of any city for free, now that’s the scam! Maybe finally I will start to shop there. That parking lot is known for being crazy and impossible to find a spot. Everyone has a job to do and every tow truck driver that I have ever come across has always been very polite and helpful. I guess these people that are being to ignorant and get caught need to blame someone other then themself.

  • Lynn Crosby

    Phillip I had the same thought. It seems it may hurt the tenants to potentially turn away customers. Not something a landlord would normally want to do.

    • Krista

      I completely disagree. What would in fact lose customers is arriving to the lot only for it to be full of people who seem to think they are better then everyone else and don’t have to pay for parking downtown. Now I can’t shop in those stores because they take up the spots … that is what will hurt business. Actual customers of the lot don’t get towed. If you are going elsewhere. Park in the parking Burlington has to offer and pay the couple dollars. Or get your vehicle towed. Pretty simple.
      When the weather gets nicer and people park there and leave, the lot is full and stores only have a couple customers each… the business suffers. Without these guys doing their job there won’t be spots for actual customers to park.

      You guys all keep being ignorant. This happens everywhere it’s PRIVATE PROPERTY

  • Krista

    THIS is what people need to read to educate themselves on how this works. The people getting towed out of the lot are ones that are trying to cheap out and not have to pay for parking. As soon as you enter the lot there is a sign that says “private property “ and that vehicles will be tagged or towed. The businesses in this lot and ANY OTHER LOT for that matter lose business because of people trying to cheap out and not pay city of Burlington to park in the parking lots and spaces provided throughout the city. The property owner clearly was trying to look out for the businesses on his or her lot by setting simple rules. If you aren’t a customer of the lot then you can’t park there. It’s no different then a home owner being angry about some random person using their driveway to park their vehicle on. ITS SIMPLY NOT YOUR SPACE. So the owner of this lot clearly hired this towing company to take care of the issue and by the sounds of it it’s working. Attacking the drivers that are sitting there doing THEIR JOBS is not right the people leaving the lot and ignoring all the signs are to blame. Might I also add that if you see a tow truck, park there anyways and still leave the lot and go for dinner elsewhere like the couple that wrote the letter … what do you think is going to happen? How do you people know that the tow truck drivers are sitting there waiting for people to leave. Ever think that maybe they don’t like dealing with angry people all the time? Threatening them and calling them prices of garbage? Maybe they sit there so people that come into the lot see them and it changes their mind of parking there. At the end of the day that’s what their job is.. the trucks aren’t small by any means and you can clearly see them when you pull in the parking lot. Heck you can spot them while you drive down Brant street!
    As someone who has been towed before for being ignorant and not reading the signs I know it sucks but at the end of the day I only had myself to blame! I simply didn’t want to pay for parking and didn’t think it would happen to me. But it did and I don’t blame a tow truck driver who is doing his or her job! It was me that parked there.

    Classic towing it’s sad that you guys have to be treated by all these ignorant people just for doing your jobs to provide for your families. My family has used you guys multiple times and you have always been so professional and helpful. You guys keep up the great work and keep these parking spaces open for actual customers so I can actually find a place to park when grocery shopping!
    Last time I was in that parking lot I seen so many people see you guys sitting there and left the lot and parked elsewhere BECAUSE they knew they shouldn’t be parking there. So as far as I’m concerned THANK YOU FOR PARKING THERE AND KEEPING SPACES OPEN FOR US ACTUAL CUSTOMERS

  • Oxy Moron

    I couldn’t agree more.
    Last Saturday morning I drove to No Frills to pick up a few things. It’s not my favorite store in the whole world but it is extremely convenient for a fill-in shopping. Saturday morning was bitterly cold and damp. It was very unpleasant walking across that lot.
    The parking lot seemed almost full. By this I mean, while there may have been spots at the far north end, from the perspective of spots close to the store for the purpose of wheeling a shopping cart, there were none in the first 3 or 4 rows. I ended up parking at Brant Street. I have to believe that, absent parking enforcement, the lot would have been completely full. So I was grateful to find a spot at all.
    To those complaining about the fine, I say, you are having the wrong conversation. You are trying to set an amount that makes it palatable for you to ignore the warnings. Your car doesn’t belong there at all! We are fortunate to have a downtown that still supports retail and offers free parking. Let’s keep those merchants healthy by allowing those who wish to to patronize them.

  • Phillip

    I don’t fundamentally disagree with the comments made by the driver; however, the towing industry has a very negative reputation for overcharging for tows. Nothing he has said changes that image. I am self-employed and one of our goals is that no customer or visitor should feel unwelcome. This plaza and by extension the retailers in it are winning any friends with this policy. I wonder if the landlord’s longer term goal is to close this plaza for development?

    • Phillip

      Mea Culpa (I really do have to proofread more carefully). Line four should read, “are not winning”

  • Donna Z

    Terrific article Sir/Madame. Appreciated hearing from a different perspective.

  • John Skardzius

    While I can understand the motivation for aggressively towing, I call into question how the enforcement is arbitrated. I recently picked up a few things at no frills, went to the post office. I had planned to grab a latte at Tamp just down the street but opted for a Tim’s stopover instead. Would my car have been there upon my return had I visited Tamp? Who would have made that decision? On what criteria?