North Texas Daily

Texas Impound is a predatory towing company

Texas Impound is a predatory towing company

Texas Impound is a predatory towing company
October 13
10:00 2020

This article was updated on October 15, 2020, at 12:30 PM to reflect changes in some language for clarity purposes.

Every night, I sit out on my balcony to unwind after a long day of course work. For the holidays last year, my family gifted me an outdoor patio set consisting of a small table with a glass top and two comfortable black wicker chairs. My dad figured it’d work great in my first apartment and he was right. 

From my balcony I usually see tow trucks prowling around my complex looking for another vehicle to snag away, like vultures scavenging on a carcass. 

As the tow trucks skulk by, the company name “Texas Impound LLC” can be seen printed on the side. 

Texas Impound is a member of the SouthWest Tow Operators Association, whose founder Dan Messina publicly admitted to committing workers’ compensation fraud.  

The owner of Texas Impound is Gary Philips, who has attempted in the past to steer public opinion of his business away from controversies. 

In a 2014 article, Philips said he was the only towing company to follow new regulations for posted tow signage: “I’m the only company that has updated signs in Denton.” 

The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) implemented the new regulation requiring “tow signage to state ‘Towing Enforced’ in bold white 2-inch lettering with a red background, information related to who is authorized to park in red 1-inch lettering on a white background, that ‘unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owner or operator’s expense’ and the days and times of towing enforcement.”

Philips was only presenting half of the facts and did not spend $15,000 on new signs until after Texas Towing Compliance, an online watchdog group, alerted that signs owned by Texas Impound had not been updated to comply with the new regulation.

Texas Impound also did not follow TDLR guidelines by charging the owners of vehicles, parked in places without updated signs, a drop fee that can be paid in order for the vehicle to not be towed. 

Texas Impound continued to neglect TDLR regulations on drop fees, in a 2019 violation where one of its tow truck operators“failed to advise the owner, authorized operator, or authorized agent of the owner of a vehicle, that he or she may offer payment of the towing drop charge.”

Following this, Texas Impound was cited for an administrative penalty fee of $1,500 and continues to pay compensation fees for illegal towing in Denton County’s Justice of the Peace Court. 

Court cases filed against the towing company include Hailey Moore vs Westview Apartments, Texas Impound and Texas Impound Services LLC, Jennifer Tomlin vs Texas Impound Services, and Amber Ricketts vs Texas Impound Services LLC, resulting in the ruling that “probable cause did not exist for towing.” 

As a result, Texas Impound had to make restitution to the plaintiffs, which typically is a tiny $36. Meanwhile, Texas Impound charges owners $188, potentially more with storage fees, to have their vehicle released. The systems incentives Texas Impound to receive a large payout while avoiding costly compensation fees in court. 

There are troves of google reviews that show during the statewide lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in May, that Texas Impound was keeping their offices open only once a week, yet still charging concurrent late fees every day that cars were being held on their lot.  

Studio art sophomore Kassidy Stines said she had a recent poor experience with the company after bring towed unexpectedly.

“When my friend and I called Texas Impound, the person working said that the company was at fault because the time stamp had said that my car was already registered when it was towed,” Stines said. “The next day, when I went to pick it up, I was told that the person on the phone from the night before had been looking at the wrong timestamp and I had to pay $210 cash, out of pocket.”

Texas Impound has repeatedly towed vehicles belonging to delivery drivers that are temporarily parked while the owner is delivering food. 

“It does not surprise me to learn that Texas Impound also tows delivery drivers,” Stines said, “They are predatory when it comes to their towing practices, and they give no warning or leniency.”

If you get towed illegally by predatory companies like Texas Impound, file a complaint at tdlr.texas.gov/complaints/.

Residents of apartment complexes allowing Texas Impound to tow on their premises should contact their management to tell them about their predatory business practices. 

Texas Impound was contacted multiple times for comment but declined. 

This story has been updated.

Featured Illustration by Jaya Swetha

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Brett Davis

Brett Davis

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3 Comments

  1. Cemery
    Cemery October 13, 15:58

    Yes they are predatory. I had two vehicles towed on the same night. I fought it in court and they tried to present altered paperwork to make them look in the right. Good thing I had my originals to show they were wrong. I won the case and got my $360 dollars back.

    Reply to this comment
  2. T. Toolbelt
    T. Toolbelt October 14, 07:53

    They have been doing this for years! Why does Respectable Denton Government allow this to happen to their customers and residents! Is someone’s palm being rubbed with currency?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Big Chungus
    Big Chungus October 14, 10:03

    Fuck this company. The only thing they do is steal cars. If you asked them to tow your car they would refuse and tell you ‘we only steal cars’

    Reply to this comment

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