MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The owner of a Birmingham, Alabama, trucking company says he plans to sue A1’s Hauling and Towing after two of his big rigs were illegally towed by A1’s Towing and Trucking, costing him over $17,000.
Fenn Church of Church Transportation said he came to Memphis Monday for a hearing involving A1’s and the city’s permits office.
Church filed a complaint with the permits office to get his money back. He said his refund was never addressed during the hearing, but a Memphis City Attorney accused A1’s of breaking the law.
“They are pursuing them federally on criminal charges. So, that was the biggest thing for the meeting today,” said Church. “They just wanted to get them to admit stuff.”
His company’s semi-trucks were booted days apart after the drivers failed to pay to park at two Memphis truck stops. Both drivers said they tried to use credit cards to pay the boot removal fees, but the cards were rejected, and their trucks were taken.
A female driver booted Friday at East Shelby Drive, and Mendenhall locked herself inside her tractor-trailer for hours to stop A1’s from towing her truck. The bill to get her truck back was $12,550, and the invoice for the other trucker’s vehicle was $4,550.
“When she went to the bathroom, they took off with the truck,” Church said.
After the incident, A1’s said it was complying with local laws and state laws and referred WREG to Tenn. Code 47-18-3203.
“First, the undisputed facts are the truck drivers park on private pay parking lots. Second, they refuse to pay for parking even though there are signs everywhere. Unfortunately, once the trucks are booted, they refuse to pay for the boot. Question: If someone refuses to pay and is trespassing on your property, what should you do?” said A1’s Attorney Darrell O’Neal.
Tenn. Code 47-18-3203 states:
2) If the person who is requesting removal of the vehicle immobilization device elects to make the payment by credit card or debit card and the payment cannot be completed by the card without undue delay at the site where the motor vehicle to which the vehicle immobilization device is attached is located, and an optional online payment method as described in subdivision (c)(3) is either unavailable or has been refused by the individual, remove the vehicle immobilization device and issue a billing invoice for payment due.
“They’re not following the state law as far as when you boot someone, you’ve got to give them an invoice, and they’ve got 24 hours to pay it, but you know they don’t even give you an hour,” Church said. “Their driver manager doesn’t even know what the laws are.”
Church said he was hoping the city would revoke their business license but said it doesn’t appear the permits office has the power to do that. He said he is going to file a lawsuit to get all of his money back.
“I mean, they’re messing with interstate commerce right now. This is no local issue. This is a national issue,” he said.
Church said right now, he’s telling his drivers to stay out of Memphis.
A spokesperson for the City of Memphis said they weren’t aware that anything happened Monday but would get back to us.
In September, the permits office said they had opened an investigation of A1’s after receiving nearly a dozen complaints from truck drivers in less than a year. The city has received several more complaints since that time.
Memphis City Councilman Frank Colvett said he wants city leaders to take a closer look at the large fees A1’s Towing & Hauling is charging truck drivers being towed from area truck stops.