GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Joshua Prince loves his old 2004 Pontiac Grand Am that he keeps for the memories.
“This is my college car that I just, I take it everywhere, I can’t let it go,” Prince said.
But when he came back from vacation up north, his car was missing from his apartment complex. Turns out it was towed by Gotcha Towing. The registration on his plates have been expired for a couple months.
“The car is in good shape, it drives and everything is fine with it,” Prince said.
Looking at his lease, Prince says the wording is too vague. It says “any vehicle… that is unlicensed, inoperable, abandoned, or lacking any required permit may be towed… at the owner’s expense.” Prince says none of those terms apply to an expired tag.
Blackthorn Apartments in Greensboro where Prince lives contracts with Gotcha Towing and asked them to come by. Forty-five cars had issues that day, where they were to be towed or given a tag as notice. The apartment complex says it even extended the grace period for folks, but eventually two cars were not in compliance despite the extra time, including Prince’s car.
“You can’t drive it legally on the street so what can you do with it?” said an associate of Gotcha Towing, J. Petrella. The company sees an expired tag as a form of “unlicensed vehicle.”
Prince disagrees. “If I can’t park the car at my residence, then where can I park it?” he said.
In Gotcha Towing’s contract with Blackthorn, it says the company will tag and tow cars with expired or no tags after 48 hours. The company even gave Prince a discount for Prince’s case.
“Over $300 came off his bill and he’s still upset,” Petrella said.
But Prince says it’s about the principal and not the money.
“Until a judge tells me I am in violation, I’m going to continue to believe this guy stole my car,” he said. He plans on filing a civil lawsuit.
“They hate you 'til they love you,” Petrella said. “If you break down and you need a tow truck and we show up, you’re gonna love us then.”
Prince believes the apartment complex should have been more specific about the reasons why a car could be towed in their lease. After FOX8 brought up the issue, Blackthorn Apartments will now have tenants initial an addendum to the lease listing all the reasons.