By AIMEE SACHS
ATLANTA (CN) – An Atlanta company has unlawfully pocketed millions of dollars from people parking in the city by disabling their vehicles with “boots” without first posting a warning that it might do so, a class claims in court.
In a lawsuit filed in Fulton County State Court on Nov. 14, the lead plaintiffs claim Advanced Booting Services failed to comply with city ordinances that require “certain signage at any location where vehicle immobilization occurs.”
Advanced Booting Services is licensed by the city and offers its booting services to privately-owned parking lots in the metro-Atlanta area.
The plaintiffs open their complaint by noting that there is no provision in the Georgia Official Code which expressly authorizes vehicle immobilization on private property.
Turning to the local ordinance most relevant to their case, they point to language in Atlanta’s code that says, “Signs shall be located at each designated entrance to a parking lot or parking area where parking prohibitions are to be effective.”
“Where there is no designated entrance, such signs shall be erected so as to be clearly visible from each and every parking space,” the ordinance continues.
Signs must be at least seven and a half square feet by three feet and must be at least four feet above the site grade. If there is no designated entrance, the sign should be six feet above the site grade, the complaint says.
The plaintiffs say that in each of their cases, they had to pay 475 to have the boots removed from their cars.
“Defendant ABS knowingly and maliciously interfered with the possession or use of plaintiffs’ and other class member’s vehicles without consent,” the lawsuit says. “… By failing to disclose the facts, defendant intended to induce plaintiffs and the other class members into paying a fee for removal of the boot.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Matt Wetherington of Atlanta.
City officials could not immediately be reached for comment.