JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A manager of a Jacksonville towing company said safety concerns and numerous repossessions are the reasons behind it taking weeks for people to retrieve their items from repossessed vehicles following several complaints about the matter.
Angela Ingram said she was at the St. Johns Town Center when she realized her sports utility vehicle was gone. She learned it was repossessed by Specialized Towing.
While she disputes the repossession of her SUV, she was even more concerned about retrieving the personal belongings that she left inside the vehicle.
“What they are telling me is that I have to wait an entire month, December 27, just to retrieve my ID, my driver’s license, my kid’s car seat,” Ingram told News4JAX.
Bea Coker faced a similar dilemma after her SUV was repossessed in Columbia County while she was staying in a hotel.
“We’re in temporary housing due to hurricane damage, so I have all of my legal papers, my financial papers are in the vehicle because I don’t have a safe in the hotel room,” Coker said.
Coker also had a handgun and a pellet rifle in the SUV. Like Ingram, she, too, had to wait until late December to get her items.
The manager told News4JAX that the current process is in place because the company repossesses a lot of cars weekly to the point it’s nearly impossible to allow anyone to come in and claim their belongings without an appointment.
It’s also a part of ensuring employee safety. The manager said some people are so upset over a repossession that they resort to gun violence as one video showed an employee being shot at.
City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman also responded to the situation after she received multiple phone calls from people with similar complaints. The manager gave Pittman a tour and explained the protocol to her as well.
Pittman was able to convince the manager to give the women their wallets back. He also allowed Ingram to retrieve her children’s car seats.
The manager said he does not normally allow this to happen before an appointment and encourages people to call the number posted on the sign-out front to set up an appointment.
Appointments run every 15 minutes and if an appointment is scheduled weeks out, the manager said that’s indicative of how busy the company is dealing with more incoming vehicles.
He also warned that he can’t have unruly people showing up and threatening employees.
Vehicle repossessions have become big business in Northeast Florida as more people are falling on hard times and finding it difficult to keep up with car payments.
If someone is ever caught in this situation, it’s important to stay in communication with the bank.