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.