No violations when Wyatts towed Colorado state Sen. Julie Gonzales’ car

Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission found Wyatts Towing committed no violations when it towed the car of a state senator last month.

The PUC, which regulates Colorado’s towing industry, told Wyatts in an email Friday that it had closed Sen. Julie Gonzales‘ case.

Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, garnered widespread attention last month when she outlined her frustrating experience with Colorado’s largest towing operator. The legislator, who helped write Colorado’s “Towing Bill of Rights” law last year, said she parked for a few hours in a north Denver parking lot connected to a mixed-use development. She posted pictures of the signs in the lot, which read “no overnight parking.”

But just after 8 p.m., Gonzales said her car had been towed.

It then took her hours, she said, to retrieve her car from Wyatts’ lot. And the towing carrier, pointedly, did not offer her the chance to pay 15% of her fees or $60 to get her vehicle back immediately — one of the key provisions Gonzales and the legislature included in HB22-1314.

Gonzales’ experience prompted the Colorado attorney general to take the unusual step of acknowledging an active investigation into Wyatts Towing.

Wyatts refunded her money the day after the tow. The company’s attorney previously told The Denver Post they did this due to Gonzales’ influential position in state government and out of fear of retribution.

Gonzales told The Post on Monday that investigators said Wyatts had refunded four others from the same lot. She called the lot’s signage unclear, saying there were two different sets of rules for two parking lots at the property.

While the PUC won’t be taking any further action in her case, the lawmaker said that her story, and the experiences of others who reached out after her social media post, “highlights to me that we still need to strengthen the Towing Bill of Rights in the 2024 legislative session to protect consumers in Colorado.”

Consumer advocates, lawmakers and the attorney general’s office all have taken aim at Wyatts’ practices in recent months. The company, which holds a commanding share of the state’s towing market, has been accused of skirting the new towing legislation through illegal loan programs and failing to allow consumers to utilize delayed payment provisions included in the law.

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