AG Shapiro Takes On Predatory Towing Companies, Secures Money for Consumers Across Pennsylvania

April 20, 2022 | Topic: Consumers

Towing Companies Operating in Philadelphia and Allegheny County Settle With AG’s Office After Violating Consumer Protection Law

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that his office has reached a settlement with Michael Caban of Angelina’s Towing and Recovery LLC and Siani’s Towing and Recovery LLC, Ricardo Caban of Aubry’s Towing LLC, and Miguel Caban and Miguel Caban, Jr. The settlement is part of a larger effort on the part of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General to crack down on towing companies taking advantage of Pennsylvania consumers.

In the lawsuit previously filed against these companies by the Office of Attorney General, the defendants are alleged to have violated both Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law and Philadelphia Towing Law for towing vehicles that were legally parked. Consumers also reported that defendants would demand cash payments to release or return the vehicles.

“A lot of Pennsylvanians depend on their cars for their livelihoods,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “When towing companies don’t comply with the law, it puts consumers in a desperate position. These companies kept their wheels turning by taking advantage of people who had done nothing wrong in order to scam them out of their hard-earned money. This isn’t just a ripoff, it’s illegal. My office will always take action to protect consumers and curb predatory behavior.”

As part of the settlement agreement the defendants will pay restitution and costs in the amount of $9,000 and were assessed a suspended civil penalty in the amount of $14,500.

The Office of Attorney general has been active in investigating towing companies alleged to be bad actors. Also in Philadelphia, the Office of Attorney General reached a recent settlement with George Smith Towing, Inc. The company had previously entered into a settlement in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) and was alleged to have continued practices in violation of the AVC, Consumer Protection Law, and Philadelphia Towing Law. The most recent settlement with George Smith included restitution in the amount of $19,184 and an agreement to forfeit the right to do business if future violations are found.

In June of 2021, the office secured a settlement with Auto Gallery & Accessories, LLC also known as Tag Towing and Collision, owned and operated by Brain P. Haenze in Allegheny County. Auto Gallery and Tag Towing and Collision engaged in a broad range of predatory towing practices, including charging consumers more than a “reasonable expense” for its private property tows as well as failing to give consumers public notice of towing restrictions. The settlement included restitution and banned the company from engaging in its prior misconduct.

In Centre County, the Office of Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Walk’s Service Center, Inc. and its sole owner Bradley W. Karch. The defendants have allegedly issued private parking “tickets” that look like government parking tickets, which vehicle owners are demanded to pay under false threat of prosecution and as a condition for the return of their impounded vehicles. The lawsuit was filed in November of 2020 and continues in active litigation.

Pennsylvanians who feel they may have been victimized by a towing company and their predatory practices should submit a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting the website, emailing, or calling 1-800-441-2555.

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