§1736. Towing of motor vehicles from private property; definitions; billing invoices; uniform fees; penalties
A. For purposes of this Section, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) "Authorized representative" shall mean an individual a property owner has delegated or inferred managerial responsibilities to regarding a particular property or premise. An authorized representative shall not be a tow truck owner or operator.
(2) "Parking space" shall mean the designated location in a parking area for the parking of a single vehicle.
(3) "Parking areas" shall mean areas used by the public as a means of access to and egress from, and for the parking of motor vehicles by patrons of a shopping center, business, factory, hospital, or institution. "Parking areas" shall also include housing and apartment complexes, private or public institutions of learning, and other similar locations.
(4) "Tagged for removal" shall mean the placement of a highly visible sticker or other similar tag, which contains the date, time, name of the tow company authorized to remove the vehicle, and the printed name and signature of the property owner or his authorized representative, in a conspicuous place on the motor vehicle by the property owner or his authorized representative. Such stickers or tags shall be clearly visible to drivers of passing vehicles and shall not damage, harm, or otherwise alter the appearance of the motor vehicle.
B. No tow truck operator engaged in the nonconsensual tow of a motor vehicle from any parking area shall tow the motor vehicle unless the tow has been authorized by a law enforcement agency of competent jurisdiction or the motor vehicle has been tagged for removal. However, if the billing invoice has been signed by the property owner or his authorized representative prior to the unauthorized vehicle being towed or if the provisions of Subsection C of this Section are applicable, the vehicle shall not be required to be tagged for removal. Any tow truck operator towing a vehicle from a parking area or private property shall provide a billing invoice to the owner or redeemer of the motor vehicle which invoice complies with applicable law and shall include the following information:
(1) Date and time of service.
(2) The tow truck operator's name and the time of departure.
(3) The name of the law enforcement agency requesting the tow, if applicable.
(4) Itemization of all fees charged for service.
(5) Any additional information required by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
C. Property owners who tow unauthorized vehicles from their property or parking areas shall place signage in clearly visible locations at the entrances and exits to such property warning motorists that unauthorized vehicles may be towed. If the property has specific parking areas or parking spaces where vehicles are subject to be towed, the specific parking area or parking space that a vehicle is subject to be towed from must also be clearly marked warning the motorist their vehicle may be towed. Such warning shall include signage in each designated parking area or the marking of the individual parking spaces in these specific parking areas. A property owner or his authorized representative who enters into contracts or agreements with a tow truck company to engage in tow-related services and activities shall place signage in clearly visible locations at the entrances and exits to such property or parking areas warning motorists that unauthorized vehicles may be towed. The signage shall include the name, address, and phone number of the towing company in lettering no less than two inches in height. Tow truck company owners and drivers shall ensure that the property, parking areas, and spaces are clearly marked prior to the removal of any vehicle. Additionally, a copy of the written contract or agreement entered into between the property owner or his authorized representative and the tow truck company shall be maintained at the business office of the property owner and the business office of the tow truck company and in the tow truck. The written contract or agreement shall define the parking rules and reasons for towing. The written contract or agreement shall be dated and signed by all parties and include telephone contact numbers for the property owner or their authorized agent and the tow truck company owner, or their authorized agent. The written contract or agreements shall indicate the starting date of the towing service, and the specific date of termination of such agreement. Property owners meeting the requirements of this Subsection shall not be required to tag a motor vehicle for removal or sign the billing invoice prior to towing.
D. All fees charged by a tow truck operator for the nonconsensual towing of a vehicle from private property or parking areas shall be uniform and shall be set in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. If the tow truck operator charges any fee in excess of the uniform fee, the owner of the motor vehicle shall have a right and cause of action to recover the amount of the excess fee, storage costs, if applicable, reasonable attorney fees, and all court costs. The provisions of this Section shall be enforced by all state and local law enforcement officers and duly appointed officers of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Tow truck operators shall make billing invoices available for inspection upon request by any law enforcement officer or duly appointed officer of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and shall provide such officers with a copy of any billing invoice, any contract for services, or the name, address, and phone number of any property owner or authorized representative.
E. Any tow truck operator who fails to comply with the provisions of this Section, who fails to provide a billing invoice which contains the information required by this Section to the redeemer of the motor vehicle, or who tows a vehicle in violation of this Section shall be in violation of the provisions of R.S. 14:68.4 and shall be subject to any applicable penalty prescribed by law, including but not limited to the revocation of the towing license. Lack of knowledge of the conduct of a tow truck company employee shall not be a defense for the tow truck company owner.
Acts 2003, No. 1054, §1; Acts 2012, No. 806, §1.