County Official Featured On ABC's "20/20"


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A Montgomery County official who has been active in pursuing "predatory towers" will be featured on ABC News' "20/20" program tomorrow night. Office of Consumer Protection Director Eric Friedman was interviewed about predatory and agressive towing practices by ABC's Jim Avila. Friedman has been outspoken about the problems caused by private parking lot towing, which continues to be one of the main complaints his office hears. A common example is someone who parks in a space reserved for a specific business in a shopping center. When that person leaves that business for food or another service at a neighboring shop, towers see them as walk-offs and tow their cars. The maximum fine for retrieval of a car once it gets to a tow company’s lot is $168. Tow companies can charge up to $50 to release a car if a driver returns to the car before it is towed out of a parking lot. County officials have been working with the state to figure out how new state towing laws will work with existing county regulations. Many of them overlap. Friedman, who said towing complaints in Bethesda could grow as a result of development and the demand for parking, worked with the county earlier this year to push Congress to enact anti-predatory towing legislation. Friedman's segment on "20/20" is scheduled to run Friday night at 10 p.m. The show is doing a series of "True Confession" reports and tapped Friedman for their episode on towing, which looks at the way tow companies monitor parking lots for potential violations.

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