Towing companies tend to get a bad rap, but one in the Hudson Valley is more than worthy of public scorn, according to a new lawsuit from the New York Attorney General’s Office.
The suit, filed Tuesday, June 7, in Dutchess County State Supreme Court, accuses Bobby’s Towing in Poughkeepsie of a host of wrongdoings, including illegally towing cars, overcharging for fees, and falsifying tow tickets.
It also alleges that owner and operator Robert Scores has a history of harassing customers with racist and derogatory comments.
“Mr. Scores repeatedly violated the City of Poughkeepsie’s Towing Ordinance by charging more than $85 for towing fees, failing to wait the required 20-minute grace period before towing, overcharging for storage fees, and charging administrative and other service fees that are prohibited,” the AG’s office said.
“He actively patrolled streets looking for cars to tow even if private property owners did not call for a car to be towed.”
The Attorney General’s Office began looking into the company after numerous customers filed complaints over what they described as “aggressive and racist” behavior.
Investigators concluded that Bobby’s Towing routinely towed vehicles even when owners were present and willing to move their cars, the AG's office said.
The company has a habit of towing cars that are temporarily idling, and falsifying tow tickets with untrue justifications for the tow and the cost, according to investigators.
Scores also regularly told consumers to illegally report tows to their insurance companies as roadside assistance in order to be reimbursed, investigators found.
The Attorney General’s Office wants several concessions from the company, including a court order preventing Scores from operating a tow truck business unless he obtains a $100,000 bond.
The lawsuit also seeks reimbursement and restitution for vehicle owners, including any lost wages that resulted from the company’s wrongdoing.
“We are slamming the brakes on this unlawful and predatory behavior that hurt too many vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Letitia James.
“For too long, Bobby’s Towing bullied New Yorkers who depended on their cars to go to work, take their children to school, get groceries, and run errands. No one should have to pay hundreds of dollars to get their car back when they didn’t do anything wrong.
“Today, we are taking action to stop Bobby’s Towing from harassing any more New Yorkers in Poughkeepsie’s streets. There is no place for predatory businesses like this in New York.”
James encouraged anyone who may have been harmed by Bobby’s Towing to file an online complaint with her Poughkeepsie Regional Office or call 845-485-3900.
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