Towing Company Settles Lawsuit for illegally Selling Troops’ Cars

In 2015, the Boathouse Towing and Recovery company of El Centro, California was sued for illegally towing the cars of active duty military personnel. The suit alleged the company would send letters to military personnel informing them that their vehicle was being towed for abandoned, and then charge them fees in order to have their car returned. The Department of Justice, on behalf of military personnel, argued in their lawsuit that Boathouse had violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA prevents towing companies from towing military members’ vehicles without a court order, and from charging them fees for their return. Additionally, the company violated the California Business and Professions Code by failing to obtain authorization before towing vehicles. The company has now agreed to a settlement with the Department of Justice, which includes paying $1.3 million to over 1,400 victims.

Troops' cars
Troops’ cars

They have also agreed to forgive any fees or fines collected from military personnel, and to comply with state and federal regulations. Additionally, the Boathouse Towing Company will be subject to court scrutiny and enforcement by the Department of Justice for a three-year period. This settlement should serve as a reminder that laws exist to protect military personnel, and that companies cannot take advantage of service members. Companies must respect the laws concerning the SCRA and other laws related to military service. Companies must also comply with state and federal regulations regarding the towing and recovery of vehicles. Failure to do so could result in significant fines or criminal punishment. The settlement in this case is an important reminder that companies must take necessary precautions and respect laws that protect the military. It also demonstrates that the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring veterans and military service members are protected from unjust treatment.

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