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State Can Now Crack Down On Illegal Tows

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Imagine the frustration: You park your car, you come back and it's gone, towed away.

If it was there legally you might call it theft. Hundreds and hundreds complain each year about that very thing.

New rules are supposed to help motorists, CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports.

They're new rules that came to be early this year after complaints and after reports CBS 2's Pam Zekman did about illegal towing. 

Now, tow contracts have to be kept on computer file.  Tow signs have to be properly displayed.  But there are still victims crying foul, and the Illinois Commerce Commission says they should.

"It wasn't over any of the lines," said Christine Earullo.  She says her husband parked his truck in the confines of the spot.  Rendered Services Towing says he didn't and took the vehicle. 

An attorney for Rendered Services says the company doesn't need to create false situations.  But Christine Earullo isn't buying it.  Neither is Trevor John-Charles. 

He and his wife went into a Hyde Park store for a few minutes.  When they came out, their ride was gone.

 "I was speechless," John-Charles said. "I knew it was illegally taken."

He says rendered told him the car was there hours too long.

"I was able to get a report off my transponder showing that my car was at the lot in downtown Chicago at the time they said my care was illegally towed," he said.

With proof, he got his car back, and didn't have to pay. But, he didn't report it.

The ICC says you should. The commission can ticket the towing firm.  Complaints also allow officers to track trouble.

"We go after drivers that have an issue," ICC Police Cmdr Craig Baner said.

That can lead to a driver's termination, and not just at Rendered.  Other big tow firms have complaints, too.

The ICC says Rendered's complaints are on par with other big firms, and they're up a little year-to-year, but that might be because people know where to go now: the ICC.

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