If you live in the Big Apple, don't forget where you parked, or the city will auction your car.
New Yorkers have another reason not to own a car, with a little-known rule leaving New Yorkers at risk of having their vehicles towed away, sent to auction, and sold to another owner - all within ten days.
This bizarre civil forfeiture system allows the city to sell off towed vehicles just ten business days after the car was moved from a tow-away zone. And it doesn't matter why your car was towed away. Had to leave the city in an emergency or spend two weeks in the hospital? The city cares not.
If you don't pay the release fee within the allotted time, you can say goodbye to your car for good. To make matters worse, motorists can't even purchase their vehicles back at these NYC auctions.
According to the New York Department of Finance, a vehicle can be towed for several reasons. This includes any parking violations in the city, such as blocking a fire hydrant or traffic, and if the vehicle owner has more than $350 in unpaid NYC parking tickets. The costs can quickly increase if you're unlucky and your vehicle is towed away. The tow fee could be as much as $370, and you're expected to pay $20 daily for storage.
And it gets worse if an NYC towed vehicle has an expired inspection sticker or tags. If that's the case, tack another couple hundred dollars for towing services, as the car cannot legally be driven out of the impound.
In a worst-case scenario, it could cost more than $1,000 for someone to get their car back.
While the figures differ, several sources suggest the average salary in New York is around $50,000 a year. That works out to around $4,166 a month or $1,041 a week. That means it could cost someone a quarter of their salary to retrieve a vehicle they may depend on for their livelihood.
What's the reason behind this short turnaround time? Simply put, New York City doesn't have enough space to store towed cars.
While it's sad that NYC has to be so brutal, someone else's loss can be your gain. On the publicly accessible auction site, there are hordes of NYC towed cars ranging from older models to newer cars, including everything from luxury sedans to the most unlikely Big Apple runabout, a Ram 1500.