I parked my car outside of an apartment building located across the parking lot from the Dragon House club located at 101 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, Ca. 90802. This was at approximately 1:10 am on Sunday morning 3/7/10. I and two friends of mine had stopped to use the restroom at a local business & ask for directions to get back to Orange County, as we had been lost for some time & needed to get home because all 3 of us had to work in the morning. The first thing we noticed was there were NO signs out front of the apartment building or anywhere in plain sight stating, “No parking, tow away, or parking permit only, or resident only parking, etc.” We figured the parking lot behind us that we had just drove through was for the Dragon House, so we knew that the car would be safe for a few minutes while we got directions, etc & were on our way. We first walked over towards the Dragon House club & noticed there was loud music coming out of the club & there was a bouncer outside that looked like he was collecting a cover charge from people coming in the door, so we started walking towards a gas station down the street, but noticed it was dark & looked closed for the night. We then noticed across the street a bar named, Clancey’s Irish Pub & knew they were still open & would have restrooms & someone to point us in the right direction back to Orange County. We were in Clancey’s for approximately 15 minutes & gone from the car for approximately 20 minutes. When we arrived back to where the car was parked it was gone! Immediately I was afraid someone has stolen my car as it was a nice 1 year old $40,000 luxury vehicle. We quickly walked over to the Dragon House & asked if anyone had seen my car being stolen or broken into & the bouncers told us that it had been towed! We asked why & who towed it & they said they didn’t know why or who called the tow in. They gave us the tow company’s name, A & A towing, & their phone number, (562)989-2375. We called the company & they verified they towed the car & that a Mary Carter of the Dragon House called the tow in. The dispatcher at A & A towing told me it would be $288 to get my car back & I argued with the dispatcher that they did not legally tow me & the dispatcher stated that we had parked at the end of the Dragon Houses parking lot & were in violation. I explained we parked in front of an apartment building in the visitor parking section & that there were no signs whatsoever for parking, tow away or the Dragon House. The dispatcher said I would have to take my argument up with Mary Carter at the Dragon House. I then got the address for the towing company & let them know I would be over there shortly to talk to them about getting my car back. I then talked to the bouncers & asked to speak to Mary Carter & they informed me that she had already left for the night & wouldn’t be back until next friday & there was no phone number to get ahold of her to talk to her about this situation. I then waved down a taxi driving by & gave him the address of A & A towing & asked him to take us there immediately. All 3 of us then starting explaining to the taxi driver what happened & he explained that this company, A & A towing has been illegally towing vehicles for years. He said that they have a contract or deal with the owners of the Dragon House & they look for certain vehicles (expensive vehicles assuming the owners have money to get the car back)parked in the vicinity of the Dragon House club & one of the owners or managers calls A & A towing & has them tow the vehicle & make the owner of the vehicle pay the tow amount before getting the vehicle back. A & A towing then either splits the tow fees with the Dragon House owners/management or gives them a cut of the fees collected!!!! Needless to say we were all outraged upon hearing this story as we already knew that the Dragon House & A & A towing were not following the legal tow procedures according to the city of Long Beach. Once we got to A & A towing the taxi driver warned us these people at A & A towing were very crooked, scandalous, & dangerous. It was $21 in cab fares to get there & I paid the cab driver & he wished us luck & told us to be careful. We went into the office of A & A towing & I asked for my car back & the person told me I needed to pay $288 to get my car back & I refused & stated that they towed my car illegally & explained why. She then said that it was called in by Mary Carter of the Dragon House & we were parked at the end of her parking lot & we were in violation. I then explained that we were in front of the apartment building, there were no signs, & explained according to the laws that only the owner of the apartment building, the property manager, or an employee of the apartment building or property management company could call & have my car towed. She refuted & said that I had to take it up with Mary Carter at the Dragon House & if I wanted my car back they wanted $288. I then also explained to her what the taxi cab driver explained to me about their illegal business practices & that I was going to pursue this through the proper legal channels so they didn’t do this to people anymore. The office employee then started spouting profanities at us & told us to leave the property or they would call the police & she walked away to the back of the office somewhere out of sight. We then walked outside & starting discussing what we were going to do & I stated that I was not going to pay any amount of money to get my car back & that I was going to legally pursue this & have this towing company properly reprimanded. While I was talking to my friend about this situation my other friend starting calling friends to have them come pick us up & drive us home. A few minutes later she finally reached one & he stated he would be on his way shortly to come get us. A few minutes later while waiting outside of A & A towing we noticed another couple show up in a cab & go into the office & speak to the office employee & we heard them arguing with her as well stating they were illegally towed as well. After a few minutes they came out & said they paid the money to get their car back & they knew what the towing company was doing was illegal but they needed to get their car back to drive home & go to work the next day. I asked what their situation was & they started to explain to me & then the garage opened & the tow truck driver was moving my car around to get this couple’s car out. I then walked up to the tow truck drivers passenger window which was open & said to him, “Hey that’s my car & your company illegally towed it & I would like it back”. He then started screaming profanities at me, calling me a crook & telling me to get off the property or they would call the police. I then walked back over to my friends & after he brought the other couples car out & they left he started screaming at me again telling me to leave & cursing at me. I then yelled to him that I was going to go through the proper legal channels & get my car back & I was going to pursue this issue legally & have this company & its employees reprimanded accordingly. He then started giving me an obscene gesture along with obscene comments. He was still in his tow truck a few feet away. I then waved goodbye to him & we all started to walk off the premises. He then backed his truck up about 30-40 feet away from me down the alleyway. He then started revving his engine & took off right towards me, charging me in his large tow truck & screeched to a halt only about 1 foot away from me!!!! I was very alarmed & he then backed up again screaming obscenities all the way. My friends & I left very quickly looking behind us the whole way to the gas station down the street a few blocks away. Shortly later our friend came & picked us up & drove us home. Later I then spoke to an officer at the Signal Hill police department that said to me that the towing company, A & A towing has not been following the proper legal towing procedures & that I needed to do my “homework” to get my car back & fill out the proper forms & print out the laws to get my car back without paying any of the tow fees. I also explained to him that I wanted to come down to the police station & fill out a police report. I am in the process of doing that today. This is an unacceptable practice that A & A towing & the Dragon House club are doing & I am going to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law, criminally & civilly to make sure A & A towing & the Dragon House never do this to anyone again!!! If this has happened to you please do your homework & go to the link below to read about the proper towing laws, as the apartment buildings property management office closes every night at 6:00 pm & there were no employees of the apartment building or its property management on the premises at the time we were parked in front of the apartment building. NO ONE from the apartment building or its property management called the towing company that night, signed for the tow, or witnessed the tow. What A & A towing & the Dragon House has done is absolutely illegal & I encourage anyone that this has happened to to take legal action against both companies as I am doing. Here’s the link for the parking/towing laws for the city of Long Beach: dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc22658.htm Don’t let A & A towing & the Dragon House get away with this!!!!!
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