Texas Vehicle Storage Lot Procedures & Release Documents

Everything in BOLD print must be displayed or provided, if anything in bold is not provided, please file the necessary complaints as each item is separate violation of the rules and regulations of the Vehicle Storage Facility Act.

After discovering your vehicle has been towed, note the time you call the vehicle storage facility on your cellphone, as vehicle storage facility is required by State Law to release the vehicle or remove personal property within one (1) hour, regardless if they claim they are closed.

Upon arrival to the storage facility by yourself or with someone, use a cellphone, digital recorder or camera to record in video/audio the entire event until you drive off the property. Racial and vulgar slurs and threats by the storage lot and towing company employees is not  uncommon, so it’s important to record everything said. If your told you cannot record them, place your cellphone in your shirt pocket on record or take friends with you to record everything, as they are recording you.

Listen to this event at a vehicle storage facility to understand the behavior you could encounter. This is reason you must record, listen to a storage lot employee attempt to violate a vehicle owner’s rights while at the storage lot.

The first thing you ask for is their vehicle storage facility employee’s license card. (license card below).

TDLR_license

They are required to display it so you can read and write their name, license number and expiration date upon request. It’s not  uncommon to hear the person on the other side of window say, “its all the receipt”. This is a sign of deception, you should always call 911 before paying someone money who refuses to display their valid TDLR license. (this includes tow truck operators also)

Once the license issue is out-of-the-way, you need to request a copy of the non-consent tow fee schedule for the towing company  that towed your vehicle, another document the storage facility must provide, upon request.

Ask why your vehicle was towed and if a photograph was taken to prove the reason towed.

Then, when talking about the charges they are demanding, ask what services, the date, the time, they were performed that allows  the $20 impound fee.  Ask who did the inventory. If the VSF employee says the tow truck operator did the inventory, the tow truck operator’s license number must be on the vehicle inventory document and must provide you a copy of it. Be sure to get that conversation recorded!

You also want to file a complaint against the tow truck operator if the storage lot employee says did the  inventory, because most do not hold a dual license, to do the inventory duties of the vehicle storage facility.  Both the vehicle  storage facility employee’s and tow truck operator’s TDLR license number must be on the release documents. You can only be charged $20 day, if the vehicle is less than 25′ long. A daily storage fee may be charged for any part of the day,  except that a daily storage fee may not be charged for more than one day if the vehicle remains at the VSF less than 12 hours. In  this paragraph a day is considered to begin and end at midnight. (as an example, vehicle placed into storage at 11pm Saturday,  pickup the vehicle at 9am Sunday, only charged one day) Ask for a copy of the inventory since you are being charged for it!

If the notification fee of $50 is charge, you as vehicle owner or operator are entitled to see the postmark from the Post Office the Registered Letter has actually been mailed. The notification letter charge scam is widely abused when the 2nd day falls on weekends or holidays when Post Office is closed.

After making payment, under no circumstances should you sign anything, other than the notarized VS-011 TDLR form. Do not sign their business paperwork regardless what they say due to Identity Theft. The Storage Facility is also required to provide a copy of the tow company receipt that delivered the vehicle to the storage facility.

After payment has been made, you should have four pieces of paperwork: VSF Receipt, Tow Company Receipt, Non Consent Tow Fee Schedule and the Vehicle Inventory completed by the Vehicle Storage Facility. Make sure all of these document are legible and have the TDLR VSF Employee and Tow Truck Operator license numbers on these documents. 

Before opening the door of your vehicle, check the door key on both sides, the weather-stripping above the door latch along the bottom of the window for cuts and damage, if you notice this damage, there is a good chance the tow truck operator used a slim-jim  to open your vehicle and rummaged through the contents of the vehicle.  You definitely want to call 911 before entering your  vehicle so it can be fingerprinted and documented by law enforcement. Be sure to get the offense report number.

Be sure to check your vehicle for damage or missing personal property BEFORE driving off the storage facility property.

The release documentation must provide the name of the person who authorized the tow, not the name of the business or apartment complex. (If they do not provide the full name of the person who authorized the tow, expect to collect $1000 plus three times what you paid the storage lot)

If the vehicle storage facility refuses to provide the name of the person instead of a business name, there is no deadline to file the tow hearing and you want to file the online complaint for this purpose of refusing to provide the name of the person.

If the vehicle storage facility is rude, refuses to provide all the required information provided on this page, please file the online complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations against the Vehicle Storage Facility license. If necessary, call 911.

Refer to the TDLR Compliant filing process has shown here, so you will understand what to file against each license. In 90% of all vehicle releases for private property impounds, a total of four complaints are needed to be filed.  This document translates in 40 languages so everyone can understand their rights.

After filing the online complaint, print the last page that contains the “track number” and send an email to enforcement@tdlr.texas.gov and attach the recorded conversation while at the release window. copies of the paperwork provided after payment is made and the police offense report, if applicable.

If you don’t file the online complaint against these storage facilities for their behavior with you, they will continue to take advantage of the public.These online complaints will not get your money back, but it will get them fined and their license suspended or revoked.

If you win a tow hearing judgement for your vehicle being towed, booted or charged a drop fee without probable cause, scan the certified Court Judgment and email it to enforcement@tdlr.texas.gov, as the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations will suspend the tow company’s license until its paid in full!

It’s recommended that vehicle owners print this page to take with them to the storage facility so you don’t forget what to ask for.

Required documents to gain release of your vehicle:

The VSF shall allow the vehicle owner or authorized representative to obtain possession of the vehicle, including payment at the location of the stored vehicle, at any time between the hours listed on the facility information sign posted as described in §85.1003, upon payment of all fees due, presentation of valid identification (Texas drivers license or other state or federally issued photo identification), and upon presentation of:

(A) a notarized power-of-attorney;

(B) a court order;

(C) a certificate of title;

(D) a tax collector’s receipt and a vehicle registration renewal card accompanied by a conforming identification;

(E) name and address information corresponding to that contained in the files of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles;

(F) a current automobile lease or rental agreement executed by the operator of the vehicle or a person holding a power of attorney executed by the person named in the lease agreement;

(G) appropriate identification of any state or federal law enforcement agency representative;

(H) the most recent version of a department-approved form or electronic version of a department-approved form published on the department’s website, www.tdlr.texas.gov; which the VSF must make available to the vehicle owner or person seeking possession of or access to the vehicle; or

(I) evidence of financial responsibility (insurance card), as required by Transportation Code §601.051, as an additional form of identification that establishes ownership or right of possession or control of the vehicle.

A VSF may not refuse to release a vehicle to the owner or operator of the vehicle or require a sworn affidavit of the owner or operator of the vehicle solely because the owner or operator presents valid photo identification issued by this state, another state, or a federal agency that includes a different address than the address contained in the title and registration records of the vehicle.

Download PDF