La Captiol Federal Credit Union Tows Vehicles Without Authorization or Adhering to Local & State Laws

The beauty of blogging... I can't resolve a simple matter of law professionally with a responsible party... It becomes public knowledge! Thanks for giving me fresh material La Capitol Federal Credit Union!

I don't blog often about work, but for those of you who don't know, I work for a very tech savvy company. They primarily do web design, but there are many other shoes we fill as well. Because my workplace is such a high-tech, with-the-times company, I'm able to occasionally work from home or other locations when the office gets too stuffy for me. This has been a great relief to me until La Capitol Federal Credit Union decided they had a problem with that.

I typically just work from the house, but this past Tuesday I decided to work from one of my favorite local coffee shops. It's usually really quiet, so it is easy to make calls and concentrate on writing new tidbits for websites. Needless to say, my entire work day was disrupted by LaCap FCU, and everything I had started and would have had completed for the evening didn't get finished.

No matter where I work from, I take a break around 2:30pm in order to go pick my son up from school. Tuesday was no different. After packing up and heading out to the same space I've been parking in off and on for WEEKS, my car is gone. I stood there for a moment trying to tell myself... okay... I just forgot where I parked... That's all. I glanced around, glanced in front of the building, didn't see my car. At this point, panic is setting in. My car has been stolen!!!

At least, that's the only conclusion I could come to. I'm in a place of business, private property yes, but a place of business that requires public access. (There are Louisiana state laws that apply to private properties that are businesses and require PUBLIC access. They are NOT treated the same as a residential private property which does not require public access.)

According to Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:1736 - Towing of motor vehicles from private property; definitions; billing invoices; uniform fees; penalties:

C. Property owners who tow unauthorized vehicles from their property or parking areas shall place signage in clearly visible locations at the entrances and exits to such property warning motorists that unauthorized vehicles may be towed. A property owner or his authorized representative who enters into contracts or agreements with a tow truck company to engage in tow-related services and activities shall place signage in clearly visible locations at the entrances and exits to such property warning motorists that unauthorized vehicles may be towed. The signage shall include the name, address, and phone number of the towing company, and the uniform towing fee in lettering no less than two inches in height. Additionally, a copy of the contract or agreement entered into between the property owner or his authorized representative and the tow truck company shall be maintained at the business office of the property owner and the business office of the tow truck company and in the tow truck. The contract or agreement shall define the parking rules and reasons for towing. Property owners meeting the requirements of this Subsection shall not be required to tag a motor vehicle for removal or sign the billing invoice prior to towing.

La Capitol Federal Credit union did not have "signage in clearly visible locations." Their one sign? On the other side of the building, not visible from where I parked. Their painted curbs? Weather-worn and faded, no longer legible and not visible to a person operating a motor vehicle. I probably would have seen it if I'd approached the building on foot and had a leaf blower to disperse debris, but obviously there wouldn't have been a problem if that had been the case. Their one sign didn't have towing information either... so their one sign did not even comply to Louisiana towing laws.

I walked into La Capitol Federal Credit Union to find out if they had seen anything or to get some information on my missing car. What am I greeted by? A LaCap FCU employee who began not only gloating, but lecturing me the moment she found out I was the owner of the car they had towed. Based on the fact that I am young, female, and dressed in casual attire, she made the assumption that I had parked my car there and walked across the street to Southeastern LA University to go to class which was not the case at all. I explained that I was next door in the coffee shop. Her response? That it wouldn't have been a problem if that were actually the case, but she did not believe that anyone sits in a coffee shop for over seven hours. (Which was a heinous exaggeration of the amount of time I had been in there...)

I then tried to explain to Ms. Susan Chapman (look I can spell your name), that I occasionally work from home or a coffee shop, so it's quite likely that I would or could sit someplace that long... it's a work day for me. Her response to this? That's not very likely. There's no such thing as jobs like that. Did she stop there? No. She also continued with the likelihood of a "little girl" like me having a job like that based on my age, gender, and appearance. Those are fighting words right there. Not to mention at some point in all of this, she had also called me ignorant, stupid, uneducated, told me I am incapable of spelling her overly basic name, and informed me she wasn't going to help me by:

  • Calling a supervisor as I requested
  • Giving me the towing company's information
  • Continuing to speak to me

She turned around to her desk, shoulder to me and apparently thought because I'm young and female I would simply take what lot was tossed to me and leave submissively. Sorry Susan Chapman (spelled it again) wrong WOMAN for that. I even explained to her that I have a five-year-old son waiting at his school for me to pick him up, somehow this just added to her reasons that I must be ignorant. I guess she was raised to believe that women don't work non-desk or non-service related jobs, women who have children and no wedding rings, and women with non-traditional piercings and dressed in casual attire are ignorant. I beg to differ.

I'll admit, I was far from nice to Ms. Chapman after her tumult of insults and insinuations. Who would be? Most people who I've told the story to say she's lucky I didn't throw down right there. So, Ms. Chapman, if you read this... you're lucky it was me, a well-educated, employed woman and mother in your office. Survey says, anyone else would have been incited to riot.

Somehow, me demanding (after she has insulted and refused to help me) that she call a supervisor immediately and tell me "where the hell my fucking car is" is cursing her out. This became her excuse to CONTINUE insulting me and continue to use the word ignorant in regards to myself. This is also La Capitol's basis for refusing to refund the towing expenses they accrued after illegally towing my vehicle from "private property requiring public access." Not to mention failing to comply with Louisiana towing laws regarding signage.

I'd love to say the story ends there, but it doesn't. I, of course, called the number listed in the phone book for LA Capitol Federal Credit Union. Of her supervisors, only ONE seemed concerned about her behavior, but even he was fairly insistent that Ms. Chapman has never received a complaint. Dur, the way your phone system is set up, of course she hasn't. She was also in the office with no witnesses and there is apparently no closed circuit camera system. What kind of credit union is this?

To expand on my comment on the phone system, it's nearly impossible to get someone on the line. When you do, if they do not wish to talk to you about why you are calling, they hang up on you. This was done to me by an employee named Carla after I requested I speak to her supervisor. How can anyone file a complaint if that's what their employees do when you call with one? Just from my own personal experience with people, there is no way I am the first or only person Susan Chapman or Ms. Carla has done that way. To reach the magnitude of irreverence Chapman showed me, she's gotten away with smaller things in the past and felt fully comfortable she could get away with talking to me in her office the way she did, knowing no one was there to witness it.

So, ultimately La Capitol Federal Credit Union refused to refund the money for releasing my car from the towing company and insisted they had signs on the premises, which one of their employees actually admitted were not visible from where I parked. The only evidence of visible signage left on their building are the outlines of where metal signs bolted to the walls once were. (An employee informed me that a non-employee must have removed them and they were not responsible for that... Yes, you are responsible for replacing signage removed from your building. Not to mention, how many people run around with bolt cutters on hand to remove metal parking signs from a building? I don't even know people who own bolt cutters, let alone travel with them.)

The only conclusion I can gather is that La Capitol is tight on income and is getting kick-backs from the towing company for each car. (The towing company confirmed about one a week at $154/ea.) That's the only thing I can come to after seeing that their signs have been forcibly removed and not replaced, nor do they show interest in making their signs visible. The way I was handled also suggests this is simply routine for La Capitol. Most people probably don't pursue the issue as far as I do, and that is what they count on.

Wrong person this time! Expect an update soon with pictures and the towing receipt which shows the time of the tow (car had not been there long!) and who requested the tow. Vehicle described as "abandoned." Hmmm... Stay tuned for more details.

Candid Cabbage

5 comments:

  1. Get em, girl. I think I would have just called the police.

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  2. The sad part is I did and apparently even the police were not aware of their own laws... They told me that I COULD be towed. Louisiana state law clearly says otherwise. La Capitol Federal Credit Union stole my car and extorted me for money in this case!

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  3. Lol like I mean as soon as the secretary or whatever refused to help. You can't tow someone and just tell them to fuck off. I woulda dialed 911 right there in the office.

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  4. Oh I did! Welcome to Tangipahoa Parish. You might as well live in Amsterdam.

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  5. If your in Amsterdam hit us up you can find our number on our website

    ReplyDelete

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