KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People living in a Kansas City apartment complex were upset and shocked to find out their cars were towed with no warning.

This happened at the Marcato Apartments located off 26th Street and Troost Avenue last week.

Kelly Jander said her car was towed by Downtown Towing and Recovery based in Riverside, Missouri, despite having a valid and visible parking permit.

“The day that my car was towed, I received a message in the afternoon, they were going to send a tow truck through and to make sure you have your stickers visible. I wasn’t worried,” Jander said. “I have lived here two years.”

Jander said in total, seven cars were towed. Five of those cars belonged to residents of the apartment.
She also said the tow company required a ‘cash only’ payment to return her car.

“Even though they knew I lived here, it didn’t matter. It was an inconvenience and if I didn’t know my rights, wouldn’t have argued on my own behalf. I knew that I didn’t have to pay by cash,” Jander said.

The managers at the Marcato Apartments tell FOX4 they do have a partnership with Downtown Towing and Recovery to monitor the parking area for illegally parked cars.

But managers also say the towing company violated the agreement when it failed to follow protocol, which should have resulted in tickets for 24-hours, first.

This is not an isolated incident. FOX4 is also learning of this happening to people living in Parkville Townhomes Monday night.

“They just came and towed a bunch of cars in the middle of the night. Everybody woke up and there were a bunch of cars missing,” said Justice Stone. “I talked to my apartment complex and it was like a miscommunication with them. This has never happened.”

There are also similar complaints by people on the Better Business Bureau website. The business also is not accredited by the BBB.

“From a city perspective and a state perspective, as far as regulating tow trucks, I think there are a lot of loopholes, tow companies are utilizing for their benefit. These actions are occurring every day in Kansas City, on private properties,” said 3rd District Advocate, Charles Johnson.

Johnson said he plans to speak to councilmembers about introducing laws to help regulate the tow industries and to protect people like Jander.

“I don’t think it’s right. As a city, we have to protect our citizens of issues like this,” Johnson said.

A spokesperson for Downtown Towing and Recovery declined all of FOX4’s requests for comment.

The Marcato Management said they have since terminated their agreement with Downtown Towing and Recovery and are in the process of refunding tenants who were towed.

The Better Business Bureau tells FOX4 they have investigated other companies in the past for illegally profiting from towing cars.

While state rules vary, a local spokesperson for the BBB says if you believe your car is wrongfully towed, you should first call the non-emergency line for police, include information on who towed your vehicle and detail where it was taken.

In most cases, if you can prove your car was wrongfully towed, they say authorities can help get your car back.

If a company is refusing to return your vehicle, you are urged to contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and file a report.

You can also file a report/complaint with the BBB.