A Dallas-based tow company is in hot water after accusations of unlawfully selling vehicles owned by members of the military.
Yahoo News reports a recently filed lawsuit alleges United Tows auctioned off five vehicles owned by military personnel. The lawsuit was filed on Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the report.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Drieband addressed the situation in a news release earlier this week.
“When members of our military answer the call to serve our country, they should be able to do so without having to worry that their vehicles or property will be auctioned off while they are on duty,” Drieband says in the release.
The lawsuit alleges that United Tows violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by auctioning vehicles owned by SCRA-protected members.
The SCRA provides a wide variety of financial protections to members of the military members. In this instance, it prohibits towing companies from auctioning servicemember-owned vehicles without a court order.
United Tow Allegations
The news release states United Tows auctioned at least five vehicles in violation of the SCRA. It includes a Toyota Corolla taken while its owner was completing basic training in San Antonio.
When the servicemember learned that his vehicle had been towed, he contacted United Tows and told the owner of the company that he was on active duty and that, due to military training requirements, he was unable to claim the vehicle at that time.
The owner of United Tows responded by telling the servicemember that she did not believe that he was in the military. United Tows ultimately sold the vehicle without a court order while the servicemember was still completing his training requirements.
The complaint further alleges that United Tow does not have a written policy regarding SCRA protections.
The Justice Department is also seeking to prohibit United Tows from future illegal auctioning activities in violation of the SCRA. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties against United Tows.