The Better Business Bureau has a message for thousands of football fans and New Year's Eve revelers coming to town tonight and over the next few days – be careful where you park in and around uptown Charlotte.
If you are going to the Belk Bowl tonight, or to clubs, restaurants, and other uptown attractions to celebrate New Year's Eve, make sure you park legally.
"If you are planning a festive night out to celebrate the bowl game or the New Year, you should be aware of active towing around some of the city's busier areas," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. "Having your car towed or booted could be a costly experience that ruins your night."
Booting and towing vehicles from private parking lots in Charlotte has become big business – so big that consumers are filing complaints with the BBB and some are alleging ‘predatory' towing practices.
Some of the city's trendiest areas, such as Dilworth and the South End, are hot spots for towing and booting vehicles because parking in these areas is limited.
According to the BBB, there are 129 towing services and wreckers operating in the Charlotte area.
The City of Charlotte has a Towing Ordinance that addresses some of the issues raised by consumers. While drivers may feel that the fees charged are too high, the towing services are following the City's towing ordinance.
The BBB has this advice to keep your vehicle safe from booting or towing:
• Do not park illegally, even for a brief period of time. There are plenty of parking lots in and around uptown Charlotte where you can park legally. 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. All of these actions could result in your vehicle being booted or towed.
• Pay to park in a lot where you know your vehicle will be legally parked. It's worth paying $10 or $20 to park, instead of taking a risk by parking on a side street or a lot where the business is closed to save money.
• Look for towing signs in the parking lot and read them carefully. Even if there is only one parking lot for a shopping center, there may be designated spaces for each business.
• Know the City of Charlotte Towing Ordinance
• Take public transportation to uptown. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has multiple free parking lots along the Lynx Blue Line route where you can park and take the Light Rail to the stadium, uptown or South End.
For more information, please visit www.BBB.org or call 1-(877) 317-7236.
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