By now, the world has seen the clip of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry telling off (to put it politely) a woman who was working for Advanced Towing, an Arlington, Virginia company that had just towed McHenry’s car. McHenry’s tirade was so intense that ESPN quickly responded to the released video by suspending her for a week. And while many would argue that there is no justification for the snide remarks made by the lithe blonde reporter to the tow-truck worker, such as fat-shaming her and telling her she basically had no education (which was pure speculation on McHenry’s part), the tow truck company has an extremely questionable history. In fact, it has a Better Business Bureau rating of “F” and apparently has only responded to 3 out of the last 40 complaints, leaving 37 complaints unhandled. That’s bad business or any legitimate business, as the Better Business Bureau has a history of promptly seeking some type of common ground that leaves the customer feeling heard.
Yelp reviews are even more interesting, where Yelpers are able to give a detailed accounted of their experiences with the company. One of the reviewers said that they were cursed out when they called to make an inquiry, as well as called a homophobic slur. Eric T., a yelper who was letting his dog out to pee, confronted an Advanced Towing driver who was spying on him and allegedly waiting in a predatory fashion. The driver became immediately hostile and was abusive in his response to Eric T.
“Don’t park here you f - - king f - - - - t!”
And that’s not the end of the alleged abuse towards customers by Advanced Towing. In early April, a man who ran into an Arlington CVS for medicine for his sick child says he came back to find his car being jacked up by an Advanced Towing truck, with his two kids inside. No attempt had been made to contact him or find him inside the store. Would they have towed the car with the children inside?
Yelper KJB says that the company flat out steals cars that are legally parked.
“Towing serves a purpose, but this company just steals cars! The first time I was towed was from my very own parking spot at my apartment complex. They claimed they didn’t see my parking sticker (despite its obvious placement on the back where it is on EVERY CAR.)”
Yelper Mary El P. wrote that in January she paid with a credit card after her car was towed by Advanced Towing, was told it didn’t work, then presented another credit card. When the statement came, she claims she was billed twice. She says she called the company and spoke to an employee, who was rude and insulting and informed her that disputing a charge on a credit card was a felony. It isn’t.
So, while there is no doubt that Britt McHenry was rude, the real issue here may be two-fold: a reporter who can’t handle conflict well and a towing company that illegally causes it.
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