Charlotte-based A-1 Towing sued by state AG for price gouging
A North Carolina towing company and its owner are being sued by the state’s attorney general over charges claiming the business has been gouging truck drivers during the pandemic.
Attorney General Josh Stein announced on May 6, that his office has obtained a temporary restraining order against Charlotte-based A1 Towing Solutions and its owner, David Jewel Satterfield, for allegedly violating North Carolina’s price gouging statute and engaging in deceptive trade and unfair debt collection practices during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
The restraining order bans the company from the towing business until a court hearing.
According to the complaint, A1 Towing is alleged to have improperly booted trucks that were delivering food, water and needed medical supplies. In some cases, the drivers had permission from property owners to park on the property. Truckers were forced to pay bills of up to $4,400 for the release of the trucks.
“As North Carolinians were waiting on critical supplies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, these defendants were exploiting the situation for their own profit,” Stein said in a news release.
A1 Towing also allegedly double-booted trucks and trailers in order to double the price for removing the boots, and charged inflated and/or bogus fees for credit card use and filings with the DMV. It also allegedly threatened to increase fees for the release of the trucks unless the drivers paid immediately.
The attorney general is seeking temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against the defendants as well as restitution for victims, civil penalties and other relief.
“We applaud North Carolina for aggressively going after predatory towing companies,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs. “We only wish this would have started years ago because this crooked scheme predates the coronavirus.”
North Carolina’s price gouging law went into effect on March 10, when Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina in response to the pandemic. LL