Newcomers to Burlington get smacked with a $300 hit for parking in the plaza on Brant north of Caroline.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 14th, 2018



We received the following from Ben and Tam Smith.

“Grave injustice done.
Who should i contact to right a wrong or inquire how to solve a potential corrupt scam. The parking lot at the No Frills on Brant St is ridiculously strict. I used the Pharmasve business in the plaza and then walked off premise to go to dinner. I planned to return and do more shopping after dinner. My car was towed 15 minutes after I walked off the lot. It seems a huge scam as the tow truck driver said he takes 50 cars out of there a day. At $300 a pop that seems criminal. That adds up to over 5 million in revenue a year. A $20 warning ticket would have sufficed. I would have learned my lesson. I parked under a sign that clearly said NO OVERNIGHT PARKING. I didn’t look for any other signage thinking that it would be fine to go off premises and then come back to complete my shopping. I certainly wasn’t staying overnight. Once I came back and couldn’t find my car I obviously saw the other signs that cars will get towed. In their defence it is clearly marked by signage but it seems that they are clearly taking it too far. I have never experienced such ridiculousness. I will not frequent the businesses there ever again. Is there anything that can be done? Some investigation into how the towing company and the plaza owner are potentially preying on customers. It just seems so corrupt. I now know that you guys wrote an article on this very problem. We are new to the area and obviously wish we had read your article before going downtown for our welcome to Burlington dinner.”

While the Gazette does commiserate with Smith’s, they did see the sign and were aware that they did not have the right to park in that space. And, the public parking lot that’s free can be seen from the plaza parking lot.

Tow sign - details

And, there are notices on the entrance doors to the restaurants along that part of Brant street alerting people to what the towing companies are doing.

The towing company doesn’t have the authority to issue warning tickets – only the city can do that and they don’t issue tickets for parking offfences on private property.

What we find my disturbing is the language used by Ben and Tam is reference to a “grave injustice”.

It’s a “corrupt scam” or that they are “clearly taking it too far”, is a little excessive and quite a bit ‘over the top’.
Expecting the owners of the property to put warning notices on cars – who would pay for the staff that would watch vehicles coming in and immediately put a notice under their windshield wiper?

Tow truck - no markings

Tow truck sits at the entrance – watches and waits.

A $300 fee to get your car back hurts and perhaps the property owners (and it is the owners of the property, which is not No Frills) that have hired Classic towing to remove cars from the lot. The tow truck sits parked next to the entrance – watches the vehicles that come in and when they see the driver of the vehicle leave the lot they drive over and put their hook on the vehicle and take it to the pound.

That parking spot is reserved for the tow truck.

Nice business if you can get it – and Classic has been doing this for some time.

Don’t take it out on the merchants who are merely tenants.

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24 comments to Newcomers to Burlington get smacked with a $300 hit for parking in the plaza on Brant north of Caroline.

  • Krista

    I posted already on the new article about this issue and I feel I need to share it here as well because so many people these days are ignorant, and feel like they are so entitled and above the rules or law.
    The people getting towed out of the lot are ones that are trying to cheap out and not have to pay for parking. As soon as you enter the lot there is a sign that says “private property “ and that vehicles will be tagged or towed. The businesses in this lot and ANY OTHER LOT for that matter lose business because of people trying to cheap out and not pay city of Burlington to park in the parking lots and spaces provided throughout the city. The property owner clearly was trying to look out for the businesses on his or her lot by setting simple rules. If you aren’t a customer of the lot then you can’t park there. It’s no different then a home owner being angry about some random person using their driveway to park their vehicle on. ITS SIMPLY NOT YOUR SPACE. So the owner of this lot clearly hired this towing company to take care of the issue and by the sounds of it it’s working. Attacking the drivers that are sitting there doing THEIR JOBS is not right the people leaving the lot and ignoring all the signs are to blame. Might I also add that if you see a tow truck, park there anyways and still leave the lot and go for dinner elsewhere like the couple that wrote the letter … what do you think is going to happen? How do you people know that the tow truck drivers are sitting there waiting for people to leave. Ever think that maybe they don’t like dealing with angry people all the time? Threatening them and calling them prices of garbage? Maybe they sit there so people that come into the lot see them and it changes their mind of parking there. At the end of the day that’s what their job is.. the trucks aren’t small by any means and you can clearly see them when you pull in the parking lot. Heck you can spot them while you drive down Brant street!
    As someone who has been towed before for being ignorant and not reading the signs I know it sucks but at the end of the day I only had myself to blame! I simply didn’t want to pay for parking and didn’t think it would happen to me. But it did and I don’t blame a tow truck driver who is doing his or her job! It was me that parked there.

    Classic towing it’s sad that you guys have to be treated by all these ignorant people just for doing your jobs to provide for your families. My family has used you guys multiple times and you have always been so professional and helpful. You guys keep up the great work and keep these parking spaces open for actual customers so I can actually find a place to park when grocery shopping!
    Last time I was in that parking lot I seen so many people see you guys sitting there and left the lot and parked elsewhere BECAUSE they knew they shouldn’t be parking there. So as far as I’m concerned THANK YOU FOR PARKING THERE AND KEEPING SPACES OPEN FOR US ACTUAL CUSTOMERS

  • Chris

    So glad I came across this as I park there sometimes although thankfully have never left the lot. I have never seen that sign with all the rules. The problem is this policy is unexpected and many people would not think to look at the sign. I have never heard of such rules anywhere else. For sure they are making good money off this. They should issue tickets, not towing. However most people would not bother the pay the ticket I suspect. Thankfully I don’t shop at No Frills anymore as it doesn’t take VISA.

    • Susan

      That sign. I have gone to this lot and looked. There are multiple signs throughout the parking lot. Why would this policy be unexpected? its private property!!! Why do people “expect” they can park on private property? If people dont think to look at signs? that makes it ok to park there and leave the property? No it does not! Also, as noted above, tow truck drivers cannot issue tickets!! As for these rules not being anywhere else, they are! Burlington, Oakville, Toronto etc etc etc.

  • Randy L

    Sounds like a great opportunity for the City and the lot owner.

    Put in some paid parking using the Pay by Plate method then split the revenue.

    Parking is in short supply, the lot owner is missing out on some parking revenue.

  • Okay people this is getting really ridiculous the fact of the matter this is private property the company or vultures or slime as you guys call it we’re contracted by the owner of the private property to do a job. The fact that people are too cheap or too dumb or lazy whatever you want to call it to read a sign use their head make a smart decision and instead when they get caught because they’re trying to cheat be cheap or screw or property owner then they make a big stink or some sob story about how the tow company took advantage of them. What about the companies that are renting off of there that are suffering losing money and trying to deal with the fact of people leaving going to the gym going to Joe dogs going to Starbucks or going for a walk downtown? The company is simply doing what they’ve been asked and in doing so they’ve been receiving nasty reviews online all over the media the drivers have been threatened physically assaulted and all they’re doing is what they’ve been asked by the property owner who which is suffering from people parking on his property so when you read into this and you realize that it’s people being lazy a tow company doing what they’ve been asked by the property owner and all these new people that show up or have to go to the bathroom or whatever they are excuses the fact of the matter it’s really sad that no one can read a sign that says no parking no overnight parking no special event parking of any kind they get towed they cry they make a company look bad because they’re idiots. I have no sympathy for this myself I’ve been tagged and towed in Toronto and Montreal realizing it is my own damn fault for not reading the sign when I talk to the towing company and plead my case they helped me out it’s simple people do your due diligence read the damn sign see what you’re doing you get caught be a grown up about it and pay your bill move on so many damn crybabies I do not know this company I do not work for this company and clearly I don’t care for this company but the fact of the matter the public are shaming a company for doing their job listening to a property owner everyone needs to give their head of shake get their head out of their ass and realize it’s 2018 not 1955 and the fact that businesses are putting up signs to warn their customers if you park in the in the lot you will be towed clearly someone’s gotten the message

  • Michelle

    Why tow? Why not just have some additional pay parking spaces ?

  • Marnie Mellish

    With all the construction happening in the downtown core, and parking difficult to find, I hardly ever visit the downtown except for medical appointments.

  • Susan

    Lets post some questions to everyone saying this is not fair, an injustice etc etc. Lets just say that plaza was not there. If it was apartment buildings…would you park there and leave to go do your errands? If it was a fire dept or a police station..would you park there and go do your errands? If it was houses there..would you park in the driveways and go do your errands? Probably not!! So the question here is this: It is privately owned property. Why does everyone think its ok to park there and leave the property? There are clearly marked public parking lots..they have a big green P..that means PUBLIC. I used to live in this area…and honestly i would walk to the plaza to shop because it was easier than trying to find a parking spot! There are a lot of seniors who do frequent this plaza…why should they have to park far away because people use this lot as public parking?

  • Wai

    There are lots of pay parking around the area, people just do not wana pay.

  • Helen

    It’s simple people, don’t park there and leave. People take advantage of the large parking lot and walk downtown or across the street. They have every right to do what ever it takes to enforce this, it is Private property. It is obviously an issue. How would you like it if someone parked at your establishment and left.

  • Randy L.

    Effective immediately I will no longer shop at this plaza and boycott the businesses located there.

    Unfortunately it’s the only way a message to the lot Owner will get through. These predatory parking practices need to stop.

    • Krista

      Would you have the same feeling if it was someone parking in your driveway that had no business being there?
      It’s private property meaning it’s only for CUSTOMERS OF THESE STORES ALLOWED. all you people that have an issue with it are the ones that take advantage of the parking lot and leave to go elsewhere. It’s ignorant because there is a Burlington paid lot RIGHT beside this private property… go there and you won’t have an issue. Spend the couple dollars like you are supposed to and better yet that lot and all downtown Burlington parking is FREE EVENING (after6) AND WEEKENDS

  • Christine

    I shop at NO FRILLS all the time, I also visit the pharmacy and other stores in the Plaza, and yes I may too have left the car park to shop at other local premises. I usually leave the car park within 2 hrs. While I understand that as a private parking lot, the owners possibly have a right to stop illicit parking, I agree being spied upon and then towed is taking it too far. How can two tow truck drivers possibly see everyone who parks a car and notice which stores they visit.
    Perhaps the store owners should consider having a ‘2 hour parking only’ notice. In future I will think twice before shopping at the Plaza, which if other did the same, the Plaza will loose money. Other than the cafes and restaurants, I doubt a great deal of shopping takes place downtown because of the parking issues. I know I don’t. Other than No Frills.

  • Phillip

    “Expecting the owners of the property to put notices on cars–who would pay for the staff that would watch vehicles coming in..”

    Clearly, the staff (Classic) have to watch the car drivers to see where they are going in order to tow. It would be fairer if a notice were put on such cars warning them; Classic could note the plate number and tow a second time. But this doesn’t happen. As I said in an earlier post, what is the financial deal between the property owners and Classic?

  • Byron

    I have no sympathy for people who blatantly ignore the posted signs and expect us to feel for sorry for their plight.

    Having said that I have a feeling that the if the Gazette continues to warn us of such actions by plazas and tow truck companies, their collective incomes are going to take a rather large hit.

  • Stephen White

    This is beyond ridiculous! Using the parking lot if you don’t patronize any of the merchants in the mall is unfair, but what is more unfair is having your car towed for what is a comparatively minor infraction. Ticketing is reasonable, but towing is excessive. The penalty should fit the level of the infraction.

    Editor’s note:
    The owners of the property do not have the authority to issue tickets – only the municipal by law enforcement officers can do that and only when they are enforcing a bylaw.
    The owners are doing the only thing they can do – put up signs, big signs and the tow those who don’t adhere to the rules.

  • Penny

    I agree that the towing of the vehicles is over the top and extreme. I also agree that the merchants need to speak to the owner of the plaza to come up with a different way of dealing with any parking issues.

    The question that should be asked is why are people parking in the No Frills Parking Lot and then leaving their car there when they have to do a few errands in the area? Perhaps because it is not easy to find parking in the downtown core and also that people have to pay for parking everywhere else.

  • Lynn Crosby

    What happened to just being nice to people? Giving them a break/benefit of the doubt/talking to them? There seems to be a lot of nastiness that really isn’t necessary at all.

  • George

    “Don’t take it out on the merchants who are merely tenants.”

    We should most certainly take it out on the merchants. The merchNfs should be pushing the land owner to be reasonable. If the merchants are tenants and continue to support the land owner when this scam Is done then they are part of the problem.

  • SteveW

    I frequently go to this plaza. My bank is there and I occasionally go to No Frills and the pharmacy. I have also walked down to Star Bucks after getting a prescription and grabbed a coffee. I have returned immediately. I realize now that I am at risk of having my car towed. That is no more. I will change banks next week and never go to this plaza again because of this draconian parking policy.

  • Phillip

    Last night I got the opportunity to watch Classic in action. I was at NO Frills at 6:45; the lot was half empty but there were TWO tow trucks lying in wait. One was about to hook up to a grey car when I stopped to talk to the operator, a rather pleasant amiable young man. I asked him how he knew the driver of the car was not shopping in the plaza. He explained that he had watched her and her friend park and leave the plaza; I asked him why he hadn’t verbally warned them.
    His response was polite but not very convincing. I would love to see the financial arrangement between Classic and the landlord.

    • Phillip

      I should have noted that the driver came back to the car 5 minutes later and he then let her off with a warning but did not town the car.

  • jUDY



  • Downtown is being miss-managed; It’s that simple. This just alienates customers until they learn not to shop there anymore.

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