Friday, July 22, 2005

Forget tow trucks. Boot 'em instead.

The Oregonian
July 22,2005
Anna Griffin
The pitch is simple: Hey, Mr. Business Owner, hate it when people who aren't your customers park in your lot? Sick of those nasty confrontations when they find out you've towed their cars away? Want to make a little extra cash?

With the state of Washington just weeks away from outlawing the private use of boots -- those ugly over-the-wheel clamps designed to immobilize illegally parked cars -- at least one Seattle-based company has relocated south to Portland.

It offers businesses a new revenue stream and a surefire way to scare off people they don't want in their lots. [including customers] More companies could be on the way, city regulators say.

But the booting boomlet may not last long. City regulators already have received several citizen complaints. And city commissioners are considering following Washington's lead. An aide to Commissioner Randy Leonard is drafting an ordinance that would crack down on boots in private lots. The measure could come before the City Council within two weeks.

…Even before the Legislature acted, the Washing Department if Licensing ordered Total Parking Solutions to stop using boots, ruling that applying a clamp to a car wheel is the same thing as impounding it – something only government agents and licensed towing companies are allowed to do.

I used to own a business so I can understand the frustration about having non customers in my parking lot, however I don’t think I would ever think about booting anyone, for one, I would be scared that I would accidentally would boot one of my own customers, and second, I would be concerned about the liability.

The next question would be, is it legal for business owners to "charge" customers for parking in their parking lots?

To me, that would be a simpler solution.


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