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Firm to reimburse vehicle owners for illegal towing

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Interstate/Delaware and South Towing will pay about $80,000 to the owners of more than 300 vehicles unlawfully towed from an Indiana Avenue parking lot under an agreement reached with the Office of the City Prosecutor, city officials announced Tuesday morning.

The city of Indianapolis previously filed counts for public nuisance and punitive damages against the local towing operator.

Last December, the city’s Department of Code Enforcement issued a hearing notice to the company for license revocation or suspension, charging that it violated local ordinances and elicited more than two dozen consumer complaints. The company fired back by suing the city for breach of contract.

With the agreement, the city has dismissed the administrative actions.

“More than 300 citizens, whose cars were towed illegally, will be made whole for their out-of-pocket losses,” City Prosecutor Helen Marchal said in a prepared statement.

The towing company “will change the way in which it does business and will be closely monitored to ensure it follows the law,” she said.

Interstate agreed to remove “cash only” signs and to eliminate finacial incentives for its drivers based on the number of vehicles they tow.

It will pay a civil penalty of $2,500, plus court costs – among other terms of the deal.

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