SILVER SPRING, Md. 9WUSA9) - A company that won't talk to WUSA9 sent a powerful message in the mail: a $173 refund check to one of dozens of illegal towing victims identified by a WUSA9 investigation.
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The undercover WUSA9 probe identified more than 50 illegal tows from a popular Silver Spring shopping center at Georgia Ave. and Colesville Rd.
"$173.63, so I got my $173 back," said towing victim Brie Jackson looking at the freshly issued check. "I should have never been charged."
Jackson, who works at a CBS station in South Carolina, alerted WUSA9 on Facebook after she was towed from Downtown Silver Spring while visiting relatives.
"Since you guys got involved, I got this check in the mail," Brie Jackson said showing the check written by G&G towing. "I'm glad that you guys did listen and that you took action, because now, they won't be doing it to anyone else."
When WUSA9 confronted Downtown Silver Springs' property company, Peterson Companies, officials agreed the towing did not comply with state and Montgomery Co. laws and suspended tow truck operations.
G&G Towing, the contractor that did the actual towing, hasn't responded to interview requests and ordered our cameras off their property.
"Sorry for the confusion," said Downtown Silver Spring's Daniel Figueroa. "This is not how we operate."
Figueroa is the property manager for Downtown Silver Spring which authorized G&G Towing to haul customers from their private meters after over parking.
"We're working with Montgomery County to identify all the victims and issue them refunds," Figueroa said.
Montgomery County Consumer Affairs officials say they are notifying victims by mail they are entitled to refunds by using police records of tows from Downtown Silver Spring's private meters.
There were no tow warnings on the meters and the small signs that did warn about towing didn't mention repercussions for over parking at the private meters.
Although Maryland law requires visible tow warnings that are at least 24 inches by 30 inches, the signs at Downtown Silver Spring were about half that.