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Drivers Towed on 4th of July Could Get Refunds

Equity Office Properties, owners of the MarketPlace/Metro Center, where 53 cars were towed on the 4th of July, are now offering some drivers refunds of their towing charges.


A whopping from the MarketPlace/Metro Center parking lot on the 4th of July.

Though the City of Foster City and representatives from the shopping center at Leo Ryan Park would be allowed on the 4th of July, and that parking would be limited to one hour, a significant number of complaints were made by angry drivers, including many to CBS' ConsumerWatch program.

Several of the 53 towed drivers say they are especially angry because they were not, in fact, parking in the lot and then walking over to for the festivities - they were actually patronizing restaurants and businesses within the shopping center, and did not know they could be towed.

Others say, the supposedly "prominent signs" the shopping center placed around the lot warning drivers of the one-hour time limit .

Now, there may be some relief for those angry drivers. 

ConsumerWatch reported Friday that, due to the volume of complaints, Equity Office Properties (EOP) - the company that owns MarketPlace/Metro Center - has agreed to offer refunds to some of the drivers whose vehicles were towed.

EOP said that drivers that can show proof that they were patronizing MarketPlace/Metro Center businesses on that day should contact the company, and may be offered a refund.

Shawn Kung of Foster City told ConsumerWatch that he had been treating his family to lunch at one of the eateries in the shopping center on the 4th of July, and returned to the lot to find his car towed.

Kung said his car was towed all the way to Redwood City, and that it cost him $435 to get it back, because the towing company contracted by the shopping center added on extra holiday charges.

ConsumerWatch reports that those seeking a refund should send a written request, along with proof of having patronized a MarketPlace/Metro Center business at the time of tow, to: Allan Shapiro, Metro Center, c/o Equity Office, 2655 Campus Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403.

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Jeff R. July 29, 2012 at 01:08 AM
What many of us don't realize is that retail property owners have contracts with tow companies that give the owners part of the tow fees, so this becomes a profit center. Many retail properties have vehicles towed long after the stores have closed, just to keep the money rolling in. I used to have dinner at Turtle Bay on some July 4th evenings, then watch the fireworks from in front of the restaurant. Now, I have no interest in going near Metro Center shopping center--they closed the restaurant, whose space still sits empty many months later and they tow FC residents/customers. No thanks.
Allene July 29, 2012 at 05:54 AM
I thought the tires were marked for one hour intervals? I too loved Turtle Bay...Can't help but think there is some monetary gain for Equity renting for their closure...or something about rent we are not priveledged to know...I do know the cops were there in front of Turtle Bay a lot of times for red curb parking illegally...I once saw a F.C. police car parked in front of the red curb then Longs. Officer came out carrying photos from Longs? Hope it was case related to park in the red zone...?
Allene July 29, 2012 at 05:57 AM
I also realized towing started at 8:30 A.M. until 10:00 P.M..
Glen July 30, 2012 at 07:30 AM
The "lady" who was in charge of the towing was scribbling down on a clipboard the time cars entered the lot, license plate number, model, and make. Our "time" and plate number was wrong but got towed anyway. The 'lady' wouldn't give us her name or name who she worked for. When we got our car out of hock, I couldn't find any chalk marks on the tires. When we went to the D&M office, they had to unlock the door to let us in and locked the door behind us as we were being extorted our fees. During that time they asked us whether we were from Foster City or Redwood City. Were they towing from there as well? Someone made a year's salary in one day. Jeff R. confirmed my suspicions about D&M kickback$$$$ to EOP. What can be done about this unethical behavior?
Allene July 30, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Towing companies are ruthless, rude and mean. Look at the job they do.No fun dealing with them...They roam the apartments in Los Prados ready to tow anything. I imagine they were pretty threatened July 4 by angry car owners. Locking you in and others out was pretty scary..

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