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KCMO unveils refund process for illegally towed cars

Posted at 11:04 AM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 18:48:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Drivers who feel they've been wrongly towed within Kansas City, Missouri can now apply to get reimbursed.

On Thursday, Dyanna Black received a check for $265, the amount she paid in February 2016 to recover her car from the impound lot after it was towed from downtown Kansas city.

"My car was gone. And I was really puzzled, 'Where's my car?' I thought it had been stolen," Black told 41 Action News.

In municipal court, Black proved the way she parked didn't break the law and so the judge dismissed the ticket.

"I said 'Can I have my $265 back?' and the judge said 'I have no jurisdiction, I have no ability to give you that money back,'" Black recalled.

Black took her concerns to the ACLU of Missouri, who filed a lawsuit against the city of Kansas City, Missouri and the Board of Police Commissioners in May 2018.

"I think everyone understood what the problem was and there wasn't a clear path to seek a refund through the city," Gillian Wilcox, staff attorney at the ACLU of Missouri, said.

In December 2018, the city council approved an ordinance that allows people who believe they were illegally towed to get a refund of tow and storage fees.

"We sat down and said 'Ok, let's look at this,' and we developed a collaborative program with them," Chris Hernandez, a city spokesperson said.

The city has also launched a website where those folks can learn about eligibility and download a form to get reimbursed.

Drivers have up to 60 days to apply for a refund and as a condition of the settlement, if a person's car was towed on or after May 1, 2018, they have until March 30, 2019 to apply for a refund.

"There's also a review panel that if you don't agree with the decision that happens after you file your application, you can go to an appeals process," Hernandez said.

The city is also distributing flyers and posters across the city on this new process to educate the public.

"I'm very happy that our city once the mistake--or oversight--was pointed out that they were willing to come to the table and say alright 'we're going to fix this," Black said.

The application to apply for a refund is on the city's website.