Chapel Hill man says predatory towing to blame for $500 taco bil - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Chapel Hill man says predatory towing to blame for $500 taco bill

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DURHAM, N.C. -

A night out for tacos cost one Chapel Hill man and his friends more than $500. 

Customers at one popular Durham taco restaurant say they're being targeted with predatory towing practices. The man, who did not wish to reveal his identity, told WNCN he and a group of friends dined out at Durham's Nana Taco on Tuesday night. They parked in the Rockwood Center strip mall parking lot across the street on University Drive and returned to find all four of their cars had been booted by a tow-truck operator with Durham-based Chandler's Towing.

"There were four cars, $125 a piece," the man said.  "That's $500 for ten people to have tacos…They're good, but they're not that good."

The man says he's a loyal Nana Taco customer and has parked across the street on a number of occasions because the parking lot Nana Taco shares with fellow restaurant The Q Shack is small and usually filled to capacity.  He says it has never been a problem until now.

Signage at the parking lot entrance now alerts drivers they could be towed or booted if they park in that lot for reasons other than patronizing the strip mall's stores, but on Wednesday night we watched dozens of people park at the strip mall and walk across the street to eat.  A manager at Nana Taco says the signage is a couple of weeks old.  The owner of Rockwood Center says it's been there for six months.  The owner of Chandler's Towing tells us the signs were installed in July, 2012.

 "There's just not enough parking over here period," Willie Parker said as he headed to the Q Shack.  Parker moved his car after we told him it might get towed or booted.

Chandler's Towing monitors the strip mall lot, which is owned by Chapel Hill-based Rockwood Development. We called Chandler's Towing and dropped by their office, but no one was available. On Wednesday, Rockwood manager Susanna Dancy told WNCN "Our tenants are losing business when others park there."

The Chapel Hill man complaining says he plans on taking his business elsewhere, even if he and his friends were ultimately the ones at fault.

"It's probably legal. It's certainly not conducive to good business," the man said.

A Nana Taco manager told WNCN off-camera that they're also concerned about the new towing policy happening across the street, but there is not a whole lot they can do since the lot does not belong to them.  In response, they've posted a sign on their registers warning people about the new towing policy.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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