VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach teenager called 10 On Your Side for help after she said a towing company ruined her weekend and drained her bank account.
“It makes me not even want to come back to the Oceanfront and park here at all,” said 18-year-old Naomi Baez about her experience with Aristocrat Towing Saturday night.
Baez, the designated driver for her sister’s 21st birthday party, parked her car in a private lot on 20th St. and Pacific Ave. She said she swiped her bank card at the pay machine, but the machine wouldn’t print a receipt. Her friend tried to push the “print receipt” button several times, but with no luck.
“He pushed a print receipt button a couple of times,” Baez explained. “It didn’t print a receipt, so we were kind of in a rush, so we just parked, got out of the car, came back no more than 45 minutes later, and it was gone.”
Because she did not have a receipt to display on her dash, Aristocrat Towing Company took her car. Baez said she tried to explain to an Aristocrat employee that the payment machine malfunctioned. She said they didn’t care.
“He told me to stop talking and pay the money, when I was very calmly trying to tell him what was going on,” she told 10 On Your Side.
Baez even showed the employee her banking app, which displayed the $5 parking fee being deducted from her account. The company charged her $145 to get her car back, and Baez said that was more than the money she had left in the bank.
“Well my bank account is negative $145 right now. I didn’t have that much in cash, so I had to run my card and overdraft it, because I had to get my car back,” Baez told WAVY.com.
So, she called 10 On Your Side for help.
“You heard the way he treated me when I went in there, so I’m hoping they’ll listen to you guys,” Baez told WAVY.com’s Deanna LeBlanc.
10 On Your Side confronted an Aristocrat driver, who was towing cars from that same lot Tuesday morning. When asked the reason behind the incident with Baez, the driver answered, “You’ll have to ask management, I don’t know.”
Baez called parking management and Aristocrat Towing management. but didn’t get anywhere. When WAVY.com called the towing company, a representative called back minutes later, saying they had a check for Naomi waiting in their Norfolk office.
“I feel a lot better know. I’m glad you guys were able to help me get my money back,” Baez said.
After three days with her bank account in the red, Baez can finally breath easy. She said she doesn’t believe she would have gotten her money back, if it weren’t for 10 On Your Side.
“Honestly, I don’t think so,” Baez said. “I don’t know how much impact an 18-year-old really has against a company like this, so I really appreciate your help.”