Wallingford, Connecticut
1.3K views
31 comments

While on vacation in St. Petersburg,FL on 3/31/12, I shopped at Publix University Village alone with my two children ages 3 and 5.

After completing our shopping I put my bags in my trunk which I do no matter where I shop. I then walked around the corner to a nearby market. When I returned approximately 30-40 minutes later, my rental car was gone. It had been towed.

Needless to say I was furious!!! I had two cranky kids, no carseats, no stroller. No where in the parking lot did it say that my car would be towed if I left the premises. I called the number of A-1 Recovery which was on a nearby sign that stated "unauthorized vehicles would be towed".

What the *** is an unauthorized vehicle? My vehicle was licensed, registered, and insured. I was met with a nasty staff who only gave me the address of where I could retrieve the car. Problem was I has two little ones and no way to transport them safely in a taxi cab.

Thankfully family in the area came and assisted. When arriving to pick up the car we were told that it was cash only, 106.00 to get the car back. We then had to find an ATM which required some searching in this unfamiliar city. When speaking to the manager of this store, Bruce he explained that his hands were tied and that Publix did not own the parking lot, only leased the space.

Totally unhelpful in my opinion. We felt strong armed by the tow company as well. Staff there were very slimy. The tow company said that it had looked in our car to see if it could see Publix bags to prove that we shopped there.

Didn't care when we told them they were in the trunk. Needless to say we returned all of our purchases to the store for a refund. Didn't want them to have any of our money. Very disappointed overall with my experience in this city.

We have loved St. Pete for many years but this left A BAD TASTE IN OUR MOUTHS OVERALL.

Product or Service Mentioned: Publix Parking.

Monetary Loss: $106.

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Anonymous
#1639620

Listen you can whine all you like but it is what it is. Even one minute parked on thier PRIVATE PROPERTY gives them the right to tow you if you are seen leaving the lot.

Now do mistakes happen on thier part ? Yep!! But a clear 80% of the people whining DID park where they should not have. Face it, if you can’t afford to pay the towing fee then dont ASSume that what you are planning is allowed.

No one cares what excuse you use to justify your poor parking. If you got towed for leaving the property then that is 100% on you. Stop playing the victim because you have only victimized yourself by making a poor choice.

What a shocker, EVERYONE thinks the signs don’t apply to them so they shouldn’t have to pay. Maybe you people should stop taking things for granted and not be so pissy when you’re caught doing so.

Anonymous
#1639518

they are criminals, they assaulted me a 72 year old senior

Anonymous
#1351614

It's not publix fault and if there are signs everywhere about not leaving your car on the property and then leaving then you need to have some responsibility in the situation also.

Anonymous
#1106927

Not sure why you are blaming Publix - they do now own the plaza or hire the tow company. By the way, they are the largest grocer in the Southeast and have many loyal customers.

What shocks me is you thought it ok to leave your car for 30-40 minutes. That lot is for plaza business only; park, get your groceries, leave.

If you wanted to explore, you should have left the lot and parked in one of the garages nearby. The $10 would have been a lot cheaper than the $106 you paid.

Anonymous
#1030622

Same experience with publix and CVS....will never come back

Anonymous
#862488

There are 2 ATMs right there and Suntrust bank ATM down the block...so i dont know what this lady is talking about.

Anonymous
#820239

a-1recovery services property threw out pinellas ,pasco and hillsbrough county university village is not the only plaza we service im sorry that your vehicle was told we are just doing our Job we specifically watched you park and leave if we dont see you live the property we wont tow you go to the entrace of university village and you will see a tow away posted stated if you live the property you will be towed

Anonymous
#819596

There are 21 signs across the parking lot , clearly stating that you will be towed if you park your vehicle. Not sure how it is the towing companies problem that you decided to overlook the many signs.

Anonymous
#806902

It's true that Publix or any of the other businesses at University Village don't *own* the situation of the aggressive towing scam (which is what it is), but you can be sure if enough people complain and go elsewhere to shop, those businesses in the plaza will do something about it.

If you are mad about the situation, go elsewhere and be vocal as to why and spread the word.

Trader Joes will be opening soon not far away on 4th Street. No risk of being towed there!

Anonymous
#800568

This person is right. A-1 are a bunch of *** as is the people over at publix

Anonymous
#796480

I am a DISABLED VETERAN who recently had a hip replacement at the VA. I use a cane.

The handicap space was full, so my wife dropped me off at the sidewalk near the entrance to SUBWAY where we were going for lunch. She joined me a few minutes later inside. Then we had to wait in line a little since it was busy for lunch. We went to the back room looking out onto 2nd St S to eat, as there were more clean tables there.

We never let the parking lot area.

When we got out of SUBWAY our car was gone. We called the Police. After several minutes, they said our car had been towed. The lady said she would try to find out who had it.

So now I wish we had sat in the other part of SUBWAY, so we might have been able to see what was going on.

We saw 2 A-1 Towing guys who were towing other cars from the lot. They claimed that PUBLIX called them to tow all of the cars they had pulled. We walked over to PUBLIX and spoke with the on duty Store Manager.

She told us that they had nothing to do with it. The company they lease the building from was doing the towing and they really did not agree with it. The police lady called me back and gave me the number for "towing". We called and they said that the driver would call us back.

When the driver called, from a RESTRICTED number, I asked why they towed our car from the lot while we were having lunch. He said there was no way I had crossed the side walk. (My wife had dropped me off at the side walk. There was nothing to cross!) They tow your car to A 1 Recovery Inc, 2221 5th Ave S St Petersburg, FL 33712.

No way a disabled person can walk that far.

Anonymous
#780965

Scam! Went to assist my wife with our two kids.

Car was gone inside 20 minutes. The lot was full of empty spaces. They are working within the law but the people are shady, combative and seem to be looking for a fight. When I went to their back alley business a nice older man was there who was waiting for his car too.

He simply left his car to get a pizza. Two guys came barreling up with their tow trucks seemingly looking for a fight. I realized I had been scammed and played their game to get out of there ASAP. Crummy little people that have carved out a nice little niche for themselves.

Based on some of these replies I guess they are literate . Their attitude is so bad it may actually be concealing their shame.

In the end what is most irritating to me is that I was powerless against these punks. Have a great life with your profession….

Anonymous
#768758

Sure glad to see you go. Don't let the gates hit you in the *** on the way out of the state. So long SUCKA!

Anonymous
#768366

All posts seem very accurate, was towed today by this same company and was told they saw my husband and I leave the property but wouldn't share info of who and where supposedly. I called the police to find out that I would have to handle the unwarranted towing civilly.

I plan on taking any action necessary to report this company and will not shop at any of the stores in that plaza again. Maybe enough complaints will make the stores rethink using this tow company.

Anonymous
#733721

In support of this post. Well, the grocery and other businesses seem nice but beware that this post is true.

The owner of the parking lot (not the owner of any businesses in university village) tows any car that even appears to have been left there while the owners leave the premises. They have a look out watching for you. The A 1 towing staff know they have you over a barrel, especially if you are out of state. They will tow you in less than 15 minutes and get $106 for the ease of it all.

They tow up to 80 cars a week (the tow truck driver told us this) from that lot so figure the numbers.... Ka-ching. I ran to go to the nice clean bathroom at the Hilton. A Miller truck blocked their beloved tow signs so that I did not see them.

That bathroom run cost me 106.00. Guess what... after that no money to spend on lunch at the grocery or anywhere else.... So St.

Petersburg, this scam is costing you other income and reputation. That's okay, I will stay elsewhere on my frequent trips to the area and certainly buy elsewhere. My advice is stay away....

Shoppers at the University Village have had their cars towed even when shopping in Publix or eating at the eateries, the locals will tell you so. But, if you have an extra $106 (cash, mind you), take the risk!

Anonymous
#716269

I want to know why you're all blaming Publix and not asking the Chinese restaurant, Subway, Liquor Store, Bank, or Chiropractor why your car was towed? Try that *** with one of those smaller shops, they'll kick you the *** out and call you an ***.

It has as much to do with Publix, as it has to do with the chinese place. Nothing. It's a private lot, there is no free public parking.

Stop taking advantage of the customer service staff's goodwill. They're nice people working hard and get harrassed all day long over your ***, careless, thoughtless, selfish, bad attitudes.

Anonymous
#701397

I actually live in downtown St. Pete and have for the past 6 years, and I can attest that A-1 Recovery is a complete scam.

I shop at the Publix several times per week and am fully aware of the fact that cars are often towed from the lot when left unattended. This afternoon I had an appt to get a pedicure at the nail salon in the shopping center- I parked up front, walked over to the restaurant where my friend was, the two of us immediately walked back over to the nail salon, and when I left the salon to go back to my car it was gone. When I called the towing company they basically laughed at me and said it would be $106. The man on the phone said I had been gone an hour so there was no way I was getting my nails done because i would have been finished far earlier (clearly the man has never had his nails done).

By the way the location they take the cars is only about 5 minutes away so why it costs that much I have no idea. When I got to the lot where all of the cars are kept no one was there and I had to wait about 30 minutes. Finally someone showed up, and then they refused to release the car to me because it wasn't registered to me (my boyfriend and I share a truck registered to him). My boyfriend is in Las Vegas for the next two weeks for work so I had to bawl my eyes out and have my boyfriend talk to them on the phone before they would finally release it to me.

The saddest part is I could have walked to the nail salon from home if I hadn't been in a hurry!

Moral of the story is that I unfortunately can't give any of the businesses in the shopping center MY business anymore after all these years, for fear of this happening again. It's just not worth it.

Anonymous
#611197

HAHA you're an ***! There are signs clearly ALL OVER that parking lot!

Businesses on the street behind the lot even have THEIR OWN signs because being towed from that lot is so common. It's not Publix's fault you can't read. Do you know how many dumb *** complaining to them that they got towed because they can't read? I'm sure a ton.

You're just one in a million. They're probabbly so annoyed with people complaining about their cars getting towed they couldn't care less. Not their problem. PS- St.

Pete doesn't want you here anyway. We have enough *** as it is.

Anonymous
#796479
@Anonymous

Sounds like you work for A-1 8) 8)

Anonymous
#594844

I was towed the other day, i parked at publix for about 15 mins to check the other side of the area, i step out parking lot and when i came back my car was gone, i was pissed with this scammers, and few other ones were too.DO NOT GO THERE, they are shady who make money out of vistiors and regular people just going about their business.