Customers confused after cars towed from Raleigh McDonald's
Posted November 25, 2013
Updated November 26, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Customers of a Raleigh McDonald's are getting caught in the middle of a dispute between the restaurant, on Capital Boulevard near Triangle Town Center, and the property owner, and it has proven costly.
Billy Marshall found his truck towed within minutes while he made his regular 6:15 a.m. stop at the fast food joint. Ace Towing hauled away the truck and charged Marshall $125 to get it back.
"I thought the truck had been stolen," he said. "I never would have dreamed it had been towed."
Marshall parked in a space just a stone's throw from the restaurant. "I mean there's nothing there telling me I cannot park there," he said.
Across the lot, there are signs designating those spots for customers of a nearby Kmart.
Many customers are clearly confused.
Teng Ortega told 5 On Your Side his car was towed while he was in McDonald's and his wife shopped at Kmart. Danette Cheatham thought she parked in the McDonald's lot. Her car was towed in 15 minutes!
Claudia Shows says her minivan was towed within 15 minutes, when she stopped for lunch before going to the Kmart.
State law requires signs be posted at lot entrances. There are signs, but not at every entrance.
A complaint filed with the state Attorney General's office describes "a bitter property dispute between McDonald's and the owners of the KMart property, Z.A. Sneeden's Sons," out of Wilmington. Towing records show Ace has removed at least 162 vehicles from the lot so far this year.
A spokeswoman with McDonald's said they are "working with our neighbors to resolve the issue." She said they'd like a solution as quickly as possible.
Z.A. Sneeden's Sons didn't return calls from Five on Your Side.
"Anybody can see that it's a tow trap. It's obvious," Marshall said.
Beyond being angry about the hassle of the tow and now being out $125 dollars, Marshall has a simple request for both McDonald's and Z.A. Sneeden's Sons.
"I'm a little bit old fashioned," he said. "If you don't want me to park there, put me a sign there."
Since 5 On Your Side started asking questions about the lack of signs, McDonald's has painted golden arches to mark their spaces, but customers continue to wonder why there are no signs in the immediate vicinity of the disputed spaces. McDonald’s also added a warning to the door of the restaurant, warning customers that they might be towed.
Sneeden's is also the owner of the Kmart shopping center at Western Boulevard and Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. Almost 400 cars have been towed this year from that location.
Howard Reifs, a spokesman for the operator of that K-mart location, emailed this written statement Tuesday: “Kmart was disappointed to learn about the hundreds of legally parked cars belonging to our customers, members and associates were towed from the parking lot adjacent to our store at Western Boulevard and Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. We are taking action against the landlord, Highway One North Partnership, to ensure that this practice is terminated. We look forward to serving our customers and members this holiday shopping season.”