A Montreal police (SPVM) operation targeting a tow truck company was underway in the Greater Montreal Area Tuesday morning.
Some 100 officers were involved in the raids.
Two search warrants were executed — one at a private residence and the other at Accès Remorquage company offices in Laval.
Police said seven people were arrested and seven tow trucks seized.
André Durocher with the SPVM, said the investigation began last fall.
“We received several complaints from citizens who were saying that their cars were towed and that the tow truck company would ask for the payment before telling them where the vehicle was,” he said.
“They would hold the vehicle unless the payment was made either in cash or with a credit card number,” he added.
Police allege that in some cases, excessive fees were also charged.
Durocher also expressed concern the company was preying on vulnerable people.
“A major concern for us was the fact that some of these parking lots were located near CLSCs, near medical clinics,” he said. “So can you imagine, it’s people who are vulnerable, people who are sick. People were bullying them to pay.”
“Basically we’re looking at theft, fraud, conspiracy, intimidation, assault,” Durocher said. “So it’s serious charges you know.”
Durocher warned that if you are parked illegally you will be billed and should pay the fee, but he added that it is illegal for a tow truck company to retain your vehicle in exchange for payment.
“Also if you come out and they are about to tow your vehicle, they can not ask for payment for releasing your vehicle. They’re not allowed to take it away. That becomes theft.”