Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99
In my 6 plus years living in the District, I have usually shrugged off others’ claims of DC government incompetance as overblown, as I had yet to experiance it first hand; that is until Wednesday November 27th.
On that morning, I walked out of my apartment on 16th St around 745AM to get in my car and make the trek up to New England to visit my family for the holidays. Only when I got outside, my car was gone. Knowing that DPW often courtesy tows vehicles for unexpected street closings/repairs, I went to the DMV site to see if that had happened. When I entered my plate number into the site, it indicated that my car had been towed and impounded. The peculiar thing was that my car had been legally parked and I had no outstanding/defaulted parking tickets.
I cabbed down to DMV adjudication services to figure out what was up, and after speaking to multiple individuals, a very polite and professional supervisor indicated to me that my vehicle had been towed and impounded in SW. The best explanation they could come up with was that DPW had seen that I had multiple tickets (which were all under appeal and were later thrown out), and mistakenly towed my vehicle. The supervisor indicated that unless multiple tickets have been adjudicated or doubled, and are over 60 days delinquent, DPW has no legal right to tow my vehicle. Seeing that none of those conditions applied to me, I was shortly thereafter ushered to an administrative hearing where the original tickets were dismissed, as well as the tow and storage fee. Although the DMV employees gave me a half-hearted apology, no one could ultimately explain to me why DPW towed my vehicle in the first place. Additionally, when asked what could be done by others in the future to prevent this from happening to them, DMV could not come up with an explanation.
To put it mildly, this is not acceptable. DC not only delayed my trip by four hours, but they also cost me over $40 in cabs fees getting down to DMV and to the impound lot, that I will never get back. To make matters worse, when I visited the DMV site on Friday, the site still said my car was impounded and was accumulating additional storage fees (this was later corrected as well by a supervisor). Hopefully this post will encourage DMV and DPW to fix there process so that someone else’s car isn’t mistakenly towed as well.”