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N. Carolina sues towing company for price-gouging amid virus

May 6, 2020 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina filed the state’s first price-gouging lawsuit against a towing company accused of employing predatory towing and booting practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

A temporary restraining order was issued on Charlotte’s A1 Towing Solutions and its owner, David Satterfield, for allegedly violating the state’s price gouging statute, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement Tuesday. The order bans them from conducting their towing business until a court hearing.

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The lawsuit filed Monday in Wake County alleges Satterfield and A1 Towing Solutions improperly booted and towed trucks that were delivering necessary supplies, including food and water, during the pandemic. According to the lawsuit, the company booted trucks that had permission to park from property owners, and then charged drivers more than $4,000 to release their trailers.

The lawsuit said the company also employed practices that doubled towing prices, and charged other inflated fees for credit card use and DMV filings.

“As a result of A1 Towing Solutions and Satterfield’s actions, drivers were delayed in delivering critical supplies needed in North Carolina and other states to respond to the pandemic,” Stein said.

The state’s price gouging statute went into effect on March 10 after Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency in response to the virus outbreak. Since then, Stein said their office has received 1,763 complaints of price gouging in the state.

The News & Observer could not reach A-1 Towing Solutions and Satterfield for comment on the story.