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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 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM
This is the same property company that didn't renew the best restaurant in Foster City's lease. Happily, it's the same property company who is losing it's main tenant in the office buildings on either side of the mall. I think that's called Karma.
Jennifer van der Kleut July 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Jeff - which restaurant?
Jeff R. July 27, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Turtle Bay--ten years and arbitrarily kicked out.
Allene July 28, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I would like to know how many of the towed cars were local Foster City cars. I find myself wishing the drinking, fighting and people standing in front of you at 9 P.M. so you can't see after being there all day to be a bit reprehensible. One man comes and spends the day from Livermore with his family coming during the day parking at CVS Pharmacy. The paper towels from the Porta Potties in front of CVS were thrown behind the sink not in the can next to CVS. The wooden Ryan Park sign was torn...I was always proud of our town for hosting this Holiday. When I see the gangs coming in I do wish they would go home, drink and tear up their own park signs. The kind I resent are the "Princes of Entitlement" people parking all day so busineses can' t do business. Kudos to CVS for the Porta Potties. I used to drop by and thank the CVS Managers for letting us use their flushing facilities. Show your receipts or credit cards for dining or shopping. I saw the signs...Maybe a neon portable flasing light from Public Works needs to be rented to Post Towing in Progres signs...Go home people and tear up your parks and signs...Leave mine alone...
Jane July 28, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I am local. I know all-too-well that the July 4th celebration is a pain for the residents of Foster City. However, this was a case of over-zealous towing. I stopped at Safeway for 30 minutes or so, and my car was towed. ILLEGALLY. The tow truck company employees were rude and threatening. A woman with a clipboard got in my face and called me a liar. After two weeks of arguing with Equity Properties and presenting receipts that proved I was only there for 30 or 40 minutes, I was issued a refund. I will never get back the ruined holiday or the time wasted trying to right a wrong. If my car was towed while I was in Safeway for 30 minutes, how many others were also wrongfully towed?
Jennifer van der Kleut July 28, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Jane - what an ordeal! Sorry that happened to you. Thanks for sharing.
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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