Common car park towing questions and answers:

Can my car legally be towed from private property?   Yes, New Zealand common law allow for the removal and detainment of the offending vehicle costs have been paid.  This is recognised by the Police, NZTA, Transport services licensing act 1998 and NZ Justice Department.

What constitutes unauthorised parking?  Parking contrary to any rules and instructions of the site.  These can include, but not limited to NZ Traffic regulations and Laws, mobility spaces, no parking areas, no valid permit mobility, expired, fraudulent, false etc.   Failing to comply with posted rules.  Blocking access.  Direct warning signage private parking, no parking, authorised parking only or any other breach of rules and safety.

What about warning signs?  Local NZ law provides no provision for warning signs for vehicles parked on private property and car parks.  Warning signs are not required by law, they are a courtesy only.

Is the fee legal?  Common law allows a fee to be charged, the Land Transport Act 1998 confirms this.

How can you justify the “tow away fee"?  Fuel, on road costs, compliance costs, security, commercial premises, Insurances, staff, security, etc.

What law must the towie comply with?  We must comply with all Government legislation and laws. We are strictly monitored by L.T.N.Z. N.Z. Police/C.I.V.U., the Transport Services Licensing Act 1998, and all other relevant legislation.

Why was my broken-down car towed to the mechanic for much less?  When your broken-down car was towed from it was purely a point to point tow. There are no requirements for storage, location insurance, security, and release costs to name a few.

What if I cannot pay/afford the fee?  We the towing company, being the bailee, is entitled to hold your vehicle and later dispose of it to recuperate costs.

What forms of payment are acceptable?  Despite many opinions, towing companies are only legally obliged to accept cash. 

What if I return while my car is being towed?  Legal advice states that once the vehicle is connected to the tow truck impoundment is complete and therefore a charge incurred as per the Land Transport Act 1998

What about damage to my vehicle or missing – stolen items? Legally, any damage to or loss from the vehicle are the responsibility of our company. We will address genuine complaints. However, insurance Companies, L.T.N.Z. and the NZ Police are aware of false and malicious complaints. If the Towing Company believes the complaint to be fraudulent it will press criminal charges and notify the Insurance Company of the fraudulent claim.

Who can I complain to?   If you have a legitimate problem you should make your complaint in writing to us, as we have first right of reply.  If you are still not happy with their response and you may also contact: N.Z. Police, L.T.N.Z. or your local C.A.B. You could also contact, Fair Go, Target, Consumers Institute, etc.

Can a tow truck driver enter my vehicle?  Tow truck drivers may enter your vehicle. They must ensure the vehicle is safe to tow. E.g. release hand break and put vehicle into neutral, the driver is not permitted to go through the vehicle in search of parking permits etc. that have not been displayed correctly.

What do I need to get my car released from a towing yard?   You will need photo identification. The towing fee must be paid in full before the vehicle is released. If you do not uplift your vehicle by midnight of the day it is towed your car will incur storage fees. After 21 days we will start legal proceedings to recover monies owed. 

Can the disputes tribunal help?  It must be a complaint in tort (simply put-actual physical damage). Although any one can apply to dispute Tribunal even the Towing Company can counter claim against you if they believe your claim is a frivolous or vexatious complaint.   Be aware of the legal principles: 

consentio non fit injuria “One who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers from it, complain of it as a wrong."

ignorantia legis neminem excusat “ignorance of the law excuses no one" is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware.

Also The Land Transport Act 1998 section 139A states “The court must order the defendant to pay, in addition to any fine and any costs ordered by the court, the amount of the appropriate towage fee if, in proceedings in respect of a parking offence, expenses have been incurred by an enforcement authority in respect of the movement or proposed movement of the vehicle involved in the offence (whether or not the vehicle was in fact moved).

We take great care when doing car park tows and while we would prefer not to perform these types of tows, the owner of the property has the right to request the removal of any offending vehicle.