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Towing in Clemson is a money machine

Katie Bradham, Owner of a Multi-Thousand Dollar Camera

Death Valley towing sign.

If you live at any of the primarily student residences off campus, there are two facts you have to accept: visitor parking is hard to find, and the towing companies are ruthless.
While it is true that towing a car parked improperly or unsafely is an overall good, the approach taken by companies like Death Valley Towing go too far.
Towing companies in Clemson make money by finding students who are parked in such a way that harms no one, but is artificially a problem. There are numerous properties where residents have personal garages and driveways but are still required to have a permit or face a tow, like The Ridge. 
There, a visitor cannot park in a private resident’s driveway or Death Valley Towing will tow their car for the small price of $200.
It’s no secret that Death Valley Towing sends its drivers on patrol around neighborhoods to find cars parked improperly — and they’re well within their rights to do so. Most property leases include clauses about where to park and where not, and all locations have a sign at the front of the property warning of the risk.
But have you ever found yourself watching your car getting towed away, being told that it’s too late to move it since the towing company has “established possession?” Thankfully, I have not. It’s something I’ve witnessed far too often, though.
In South Carolina, there are few protections for consumers on the other end of the hook. One common protection adopted by 18 states, but not South Carolina, prevents towing companies from taking a car if the owner arrives in the act. Some states require that the car is dropped unconditionally if it has not yet touched a public road, while other require that a lesser fee is charged.
This common sense policy is two-pronged: it discourages the owner from parking in the location again, since they recognize the risk of their actions, but it allows them a chance to correct the error without penalty.
I encourage the Clemson City Council to consider adopting such a protection. It supports the welcoming, student environment that this town is built around.

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