9Wants to Know reported on Sunday and Monday about numerous complaints against Mike Sanchez, the manager of Stop-n-Park.
Sanchez was accused of having cars towed illegally from his parking lots.
Denver City and County ordinance says cars cannot be towed from privately-owned pay lots for non-payment - they can only be given a ticket.
Tom Downy, director of Excise and Licenses for the City and County of Denver, says the city began investigating Sanchez as a result of our investigation.
"[Sanchez] is not licensed for that lot. He is now applying for a license," Downey said.
Also as a result of our investigation, Denver is changing its policy of automatically renewing parking lot license applications. Those applications will now be personally reviewed by Downey.
"Nothing will be automatic, every new application and renewal will be pulled for special review," Downey said.
9Wants to Know aired the stories of Julie Harris and Melissa Wendt-Jones, two women who claimed their cars were illegally towed. Both women had to pay tow bills of $262 and Wendt-Jones also received a $30 citation for non-payment.
"Based on the response from your story alone, it tells me this is a big issue. This is obviously something that has been going on for a very long time," Downey said.
Stop-n-Park has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau and 20 complaints in the last three years.
According to the Ripoff Report website, customers have complained about their cars being towed and misleading signs at Stop-n-Park lots throughout Denver.
"We want people coming downtown and feeling good about the city," Downey said. "We want people to know downtown Denver is open for business."
According to the City and County of Denver website:
1) Private parking lots which are open to the public for pay must be licensed through Excise and Licenses.
2) It is illegal for a private parking lot open to the public to tow anyone's vehicle without their consent (DRMC Sect. 55-268(8)). Instead, the lot company can call Denver Public Works Right of Way Enforcement to ticket, cite and/or they can issue a private ticket themselves. If the car is blocking an entrance or not properly parked in a space, the lot company may tow the car. It cannot tow the car, however, for alleged non-payment.
3) Private parking lots which are not open to the public do not need to be licensed, and they may tow vehicles. Examples include an apartment building lot only for its residents and guests; or a restaurant or dry cleaner which allows parking for its customers only for free.
4) A fee dispute is a civil matter between the car owner and the lot management company.
5) If a lot owner has a car towed, they notice the Denver Police so 911 knows the car is not stolen.
6) While Denver licenses and regulates parking lots, the State's Public Utilities Commission licenses and regulates towing companies.
7) If a lot management company tows a car illegally, Excise and Licenses can discipline the company's license with a fine, suspension or even revocation.
8) The private lots open to the public should post relevant information about fees, charges, immobilization, etc.
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