Here's the situation, tell me what you think.
I went to a local fast food restaurant for lunch. The parking lot had the appropriate signage stating that parking was for restaurant patrons only. I was a restaurant patron, eating my lunch, when an agent of the towing company on the signage approached me at my lunch table. He asked, "Sir, what car are you driving?" Not knowing the man, I replied, "I don't have to tell you that; why do you ask?" He said he was towing vehicles of non-restaurant patrons. I said, "well I'm obviously a restaurant patron, so don't tow my vehicle, but I don't have to tell you what vehicle I am driving."
I wasn't sitting within eyesight of my vehicle, and I didn't switch tables to be within eyesight. But my vehicle was gone, towed, when I got up to leave. I called the tow company listed on the sign and told them to return my vehicle, that I was a patron of the restaurant when it was towed. They returned it within an hour, but they made me late for my next appointment and furious nonetheless. I called the police and filed a report about a wrongfully towed vehicle.
I'm aware that this could've been avoided had I told the tow company's employee which vehicle was mine. But I don't believe the company should have the authority to come into a restaurant and question every patron, then tow the remaining vehicles in the parking lot not identified by the patrons. Maybe I should ask the restaurant what authority they give the tow company in their contract (the right to question dine-in patrons)? Are tow companies typically given carte blanche authority to tow any vehicle, or does the parking lot owner have to request a particular vehicle be towed? If they aren't given carte blanche authority to tow, are they required to witness a parking violation prior to towing a vehicle, or can they assume a vehicle is improperly parked? Either way, it's a principle issue. I realize it isn't theft, since my property was returned. But does anyone know if, in Louisiana (Baton Rouge), there any redress for improperly impounded vehicles taken from private property?
Just wondering if this situation is a matter of poor business practice or did any obvious legal infractions occur? I know I made a stupid, hardheaded offense by not telling him which vehicle I drove. I'll avoid doing that in the future.