One great thing about America is that random companies can't take your car away without any warning if you failed to register it with the state. Sure, it's illegal to drive with an out-of-date registration sticker, but that's no excuse for corporate-sponsored vehicle theft. At least in theory, it's not. In practice, Dallas-based Excalibur has made a habit of surprising car owners by taking their cars out of apartment parking lots for having out-of-date registration stickers, according to documents filed by the state.
Texas' Department of Licensing and Regulation is now moving to suspend Excalibur's towing privileges for one year, on top of a $91,000 fine. Sure, some of the illegal tows date back to 2012, but bureaucracies move at their own pace.
The TDLR originally filed 18 "enforcement" actions against Excalibur in 2014 for tows mainly occurring at apartment parking lots for expired registration stickers. In a more recent apartment-tow, in January 2014, Exalibur took a Mitsubishi from Arlington's Sterling Crest apartment complex without even providing the owner a ticket to explain the reason for the tow in writing. Excalibur has also demanded cash payments, the state says, and has tacked on a random, illegal $20 "impound fee" for another angry customer's car. The state's case against Excalibur has been tied up in the courts since — and during that time, the company has been able to continue aggressively patrolling local parking lots.
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On August 4, a judge ruled in partial favor of the state and scheduled a hearing this week to assess what the exact penalties should be. Messages we left for Excalibur's President Nick Massey have not yet been returned.