Firm can store abandoned vehicles at 2 sites
: I went to Leeward Auto Wreckers in Campbell Industrial Park on Aug. 21 to view the vehicles coming up for the city auction the next day. When I got there, I was told that some vehicles were at another location -- a lot in the Pearl City industrial area for Abe's Auto Recyclers, which was the past tow contractor for the city. Leeward Auto Wreckers lists only one location in the auction ad, but uses two lots to store the vehicles. Is this something OK'd by the city? Secondly, when I got to Abe's, I saw other tow companies towing abandoned vehicles into the lot. One was Last Chance Towing and the other Classic Towing. These trucks had Leeward Auto on the back half of the truck, but again the address was for Campbell. Can these other companies tow abandoned vehicles for the city? What happens if your car is towed away? Do you have to hunt two different yards to get your car?
Answer: The principal place of business for Leeward Auto Wreckers, which has the city contract for towing abandoned vehicles, is in Kapolei (specifically in Campbell Industrial Park), said Dennis Kamimura, administrator of the city Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing.
The company has the city's approval to store vehicles at a secondary site on Waihona Street, in Pearl City, leased from the city's former contractor, Abe's Auto Recycling.
"All vehicles listed in the legal advertisement for the auction of unclaimed abandoned vehicles should be at the location indicated in the advertisement," Kamimura said. "Leeward Auto Wreckers has been instructed to ensure that all vehicles that are pending auction are present at their Kapolei site for inspection by prospective purchasers and on the date of the auction."
However, Leeward is not precluded from requesting that unclaimed towed abandoned vehicles be stored at and auctioned from the Waihona Street site, he said.
Kamimura also said Leeward has approval to subcontract one tow truck from Classic Towing, two tow trucks from Mike's Towing and Repair, and two trucks from Last Chance Towing.
We asked what the procedure is leading to the auction of an abandoned vehicle. Normally, the owner of a towed "abandoned" vehicle would call either the Honolulu Police Department or the city Motor Vehicle Control Section to find the missing vehicle, Kamimura said.
Either HPD or the motor vehicle office would determine that the vehicle was removed as an abandoned vehicle and tell the caller to call Leeward Auto Wreckers, he said. Leeward would then inform the caller of the vehicle's location and the total cost to reclaim the vehicle.
The towing and storage costs are established by contract: $103.15 is the flat rate tow charge, plus $20 per 24-hour period or fraction thereof for the first seven days of storage, and $15 per 24-hour period or fraction thereof for the 8th and subsequent days. There are no mileage charges.
Of the 1,685 abandoned vehicles towed from July 1, 2006, to June 30, only 214 towed abandoned vehicles were claimed by their owners.
Of the 3,625 unclaimed police-directed tows and abandoned vehicle tows that were auctioned between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 190 vehicles were sold at auctions.
Proceeds from the auction sales are deposited into the city's general fund.
If you or others have other concerns or complaints about the auction of towed abandoned, derelict or police-directed tows, call the Motor Vehicle Control Section at 733-2530.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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