By Sorin Grindea
I would like to bring an abusive practice in The Gardens at Great Neck parking lot to the attention of our community. The abuse might not be related to the supermarket and may be strictly the parking lot owner’s decision.
Since moving to Great Neck in 1991, I have frequently shopped at the mini mall where the Station Branch Library is located. Best Market, Rite Aid, the library and, occasionally, dining at the Chinese restaurant are my “targets” almost every day. I have been parking there for 27 years without any incident.
On June 13 at 10:57 a.m., I shopped in Rite Aid and then placed the Rite Aid bag on the front passenger seat of my car, where it could be clearly noticed. My wife was scheduled to be released at noon from North Shore University Hospital, so I crossed the street to get soup for her. I returned in about eight minutes to notice my car was impounded on the back of a tow truck.
My intention was to continue shopping in Best Market, but evidently I had to face this new situation. I argued with the truck driver and showed him the Rite Aid bag, to no avail. He said they have a watcher and he noticed me leaving the parking lot. Assuming that is what happened, the watcher should have seen the Rite Aid bag left in the car.
To make things worse, the driver said he was told by the watcher that I am a “permanent.” In other words, the watcher recognized either the car or me as being a regular customer.
The only possible way to get my car back was to pay $285 in cash, otherwise it would be towed. I had to run to Citibank one block away and get the cash. I paid the amount, and the car was taken down by the truck driver. The tow-truck receipt shows the time as 11:26 a.m. So, in less than a half hour, all of these events happen. I then rushed to the hospital.
I perfectly understand the towing of people’s cars who abuse the system and leave them parked for hours. This was not my case, as documented by my receipts.
This seems like an abuse. The procedure to tow away a car after a few minutes is completely wrong. I consider it extremely unfair to be exposed to this kind of treatment.
I had similar issue today though I witnessed the tow operator hooking my car. He emphasized many times on premises and CASH only. I understand and asked for price rule and contract with the plaza, but he told me no document and he could charge as much as he likes. I called 911 and the police told me the tow operator indeed can charge as much as they like even the price of the car. They cannot do anything to help me but just advise me paying the cash ASAP to get my car back. At least I could pay half of the fee if the vehicle owner is nearby. Also the plaza should post the tow company info, but I don’t see any.
To original poster: if you want to get in touch and complain about this to the district, I am very willing to help.
I had the very similar issue today at great neck plaza and I also witnessed the tow operator hooking my car. He kept emphasizing on premises and CASH only. I understood but asked for price rule and contract with plaza. He told me no document at all and he could charge whatever he likes. I called 911 and 2 policemen came. They told me I indeed have to pay what tow operator asked for, even the price is enough to buy a new car. They just told me to pay the CASH asap to get my car back, and they won’t do anything but left quickly. At least I see there is law that I can only pay half of the fee if the car owner is at the place.
To original owner: If you want to complain this to the district, I am very willing to keep in touch. Thanks.