Miami Beach drivers accuse tow company of being unfair

Complaints mount against South Beach lot owner

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A privately-owned parking lot in Miami Beach is the center of confusion and frustration for some drivers.

The lot at 17th Street and Lenox is open to anyone looking to park their car.

A meter is positioned in the lot which allows drivers to pay the machine and display a receipt on their dashboard.

However, several drivers have complained to Local 10 that their car was towed even after paying to park.

In Kris Conesa's case, he decided to pay a meter located across the street from the lot where he parked. The meter was a spitting image of the machine in the lot where Kris left his car.

But Kris used a city-owned machine and the operators of the privately-owned lot do not acknowledge those receipts.

Kris returned to the lot to find his car had been towed and had to pay $241 to retrieve it from Tremont Towing company.

"It's a deceptive business practice," said Kris, who believed the owner of the lot knowingly lures unsuspecting customers for a hefty towing fee.

Rachel Mestre was also towed from a different lot by the same company.

Local 10 reached out to M & M Parking Management, which owns the lot.

"No one from the towing company was creating a conspiracy. They just weren't following the rules," said Andrew Mirmelli, the owner of the parking lot.

Mirmelli told Local 10's Terrell Forney that he has increased signage at the lot over the past few weeks to avoid confusion.

A number of signs could be seen around the lot which remind drivers to display their receipts and signs with rules in small print which warn drivers not to use the city-owned machine.

Each driver must type in their license plate before paying to park.

Mirmelli said the signs are much more than what city ordinance requires, and his rates are slightly cheaper than city-owned lots.

Mirmelli said he's refunded tow charges from customers who've contacted him directly.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.