BBB Warnings for DNC: Predatory Towing and Counterfeit Credentials

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you're headed to uptown Charlotte next week for events surrounding the Democratic National Convention, the Better Business Bureau has a warning for you: be careful where you park and watch out for fake credentials.

The demand for free Community Credentials to see President Barack Obama on September 6 was so great that people camped out and waited in long lines for hours.

"This is the hottest ticket in town," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. "Now that all of the credentials have been distributed, we will begin to see these tickets for sale on Craigslist and eBay."

The BBB warns that some credentials sold by third parties could be counterfeit. The Community Credentials for President Obama have unique security features.

"If you buy tickets and they turn out to be fake, you will not get in the event," Bartholomy added.

If you do not have tickets, you should continue to check with President Obama's campaign offices because more tickets may become available before the event.

If you did get tickets to see President Obama or you are going to CarolinaFest or other DNC events, the BBB has a warning about parking. Towing vehicles from private parking lots in Charlotte has become big business – so big that consumers have filed complaints with the BBB over predatory towing practices.

Some of the city's trendiest areas, such as Dilworth and South End, are hot spots for towing and booting vehicles because parking in these areas is limited.

"Next week, the demand for parking will be especially high along South Blvd. where the LYNX Blue Line runs as the Park and Ride lots fill up," Bartholomy added. "The demand for parking in Dilworth, South End and West Blvd. will also be high because these areas are  close enough for people to park and walk uptown for the festival or to the stadium for President Obama's speech. "

Towing companies enforce towing 24 hours a day, whether the business is open or closed, and they will be looking for unsuspecting drivers who park in these areas.

The City of Charlotte Towing Ordinance which limits towing fees ($120/day), booting fees ($50/day), and storage fees ($15/per day). It also stipulates signage requirements for properties where towing is enforced and outlines other procedures that towing services must follow.

The BBB has this advice for drivers: 

  • Pay to park legally so you don't run the risk of being towed.
  • Do not park illegally, even for a brief period of time. Do not "create" a parking space. Do not take up two spaces by having your vehicle's wheels over the white line of the adjoining space.
  • Look for signs in the parking lot where you plan to park and read them carefully. See if they designate certain spaces for certain businesses.
  • If there is a towing company actively working the lot where you plan to park, ask the tow truck driver where you can legally park.
  • Don't delay retrieving your vehicle if it has been towed because you will also have to pay storage fees for each day your car is in a tow lot.

For more information, please visit or call the BBB at (704) 927-8611 or toll-free in N.C. and S.C. at 1-(877) 317-7236.