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Tow bill reimbursed following News 5 investigation into Pueblo towing company

News 5 viewer donates $250 to cover costs for controversial tow
RMA Towing
Posted at 3:03 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 18:41:52-05

PUEBLO — Paula Mandarich says her daughter's car was towed from her apartment complex for expired tags---but she has the proof showing they were valid.

Mandarich ultimately had to pay $259 to get the car out of impound.

While RMA Towing admits no wrongdoing and stands behind the tow, a News 5 viewer watched our original report and decided to make a $250 donation to the family.

Paula and her daughter Jessica
Paula Manadarich and her daughter, Jessica, talking with Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross in their living room.

"This really helps and means a lot that people really do care," Paula's daughter, Jessica said. "I really appreciate it."

We first met Paula and her daughter in February, following a controversial tow that took place at the Evergreen Apartment Homes.

On Jessica's 13th day of recovery following a positive COVID-19 test, her car was towed.

Jessica, her mother and a third-party witness at the complex told News 5 the vehicle was taken for expired tags.

Colorado vehicle registration tag
Colorado vehicle registration sticker

DMV records show the tags were valid, but Jessica didn't put the sticker on her car while quarantining. However, she says she had the paperwork and attempted to provide it to the tow truck driver before they took off with her car.

To make matters worse, Jessica works directly with COVID-19 patients and needed her car for work.

"When this happened, I said I'm calling Eric Ross," Jessica's mother said.

RMA Towing Sign
RMA Towing Sign

News 5 spoke with RMA Towing by phone.

They said they stand by the tow and stated they have an agreement with the apartment complex to tow vehicles not in compliance with community standards.

Although contracts between tow companies and apartment complexes are not public record, we do know some complexes and HOA-regulated communities allow cars to be towed if they do not display a current tag on their plates---regardless of whether you renewed your tags and are simply waiting on them to arrive in the mail.

Evergreen Apartment Homes
Evergreen Apartment Homes

While police give drivers a 30-day grace period before pulling you over, tow companies are not required to offer any grace period.

As far as fighting back against tow companies, Paula admits there's not a lot of protections out there.

"When you go to an attorney, they say it's going to cost you a lot of money and you don't have many places to go," Paula said. "This (news story) gets out there in the community and it goes to all of us normal people who have issues and they know now that they have an avenue to go to."

Of course, we don't deserve any credit for the tow refund Paula and her daughter received.

The credit goes to the generous News 5 viewer in Colorado Springs who wishes to remain anonymous.

"We never thought for a second that someone would reach out to us like that and to me, that's going the extra mile and that touches our heart," Paula said.

RMA Towing does have a history of complaints on file. We're currently working to review state records from the Public Utilities Commission.

If you believe you have been illegally towed, you should file a complaint with the PUC here.

If you live in an HOA-regulated community or apartment complex and you are concerned with your vehicle being towed for expired tags despite renewing them online, you should print out a copy of your renewal receipt and provide that to both your complex and tow company that enforces parking rules.

By providing a receipt showing valid proof of registration, it will make it a lot tougher for any tow company to claim a vehicle was towed for expired tags.

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