Towing Company Feels The Streisand Effect After Suing A College Kid For $750k

from the tow-trucking dept

Many readers have submitted the the story about a Kalamazoo towing company who is suing a college student for $750,000 for defamation of character and libel. Justin Kurtz started the “Kalamazoo residents against T&J Towing” group on Facebook earlier this year after his car was allegedly towed under shady circumstances. The Facebook group quickly grew to a few thousand Kalamazoo residents in about a week. In an attempt to quash the negative comments on the group’s page, T&J filed the suit, which then garnered the group even more attention thanks to posts on Consumerist and Jalopnik. Now, at over 10,000 members, the group is over 1/7th the total population of Kalamazoo itself. Once again, another company is starting to learn that using lawyers in an attempt to silence criticism can have the exact opposite effect. The Streisand Effect Hall of Fame continues to rack up inductees.

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Comments on “Towing Company Feels The Streisand Effect After Suing A College Kid For $750k”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“any publicity can be good publicity at least in masnick world.”

Why change the subject unless you were directing the comment to Mike because you thought it was his post.

Face it, you thought it was Mike posting, and now you’re denying it. but you have a history of being dishonest, so no one should give you the benefit of the doubt.

meyek (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

as a kalamazooan who has not personally had dealings with t&j, i’ve heard nothing at all good about them. i know at least three people who had their cars moved despite being legally and properly parked. i believe they have a contract with wmu, and get the bulk of campus area towing business.

i don’t think that anyone’s car should be towed for improper parking until a ticket is issued by an accountable parking authority.

kiki (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

this is a real story, it’s been in local news (print and tv) and the Detroit Free Press. Several people have added their own experiences, all bad, with T&J Towing. Many of them had the same thing happen to them—parked LEGALLY and had their parking stickers removed from their cars (in apt. complexes where they lived), damage done to some cars due to the tow. The towing company doesn’t take credit cards, cash only and does NOT give change back, at a cost of $118. to get the car back. Go to the Facebook page for Kalamazoo Residents Against T&J Towing. The towing company is suing Justin, who started this group, for libel saying that Justin is ruining his business. After you see all the accounts of other incidents with T&J it’ll be clearer. Many businesses who had them do towing have quit using them. The Facebook group is not counting on the BBB to “solve” this problem, just making it aware of T&J’s business practices, or the lack there of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m rather curious to know how a towing company can have an increase in 40% of their business.

Do you mean that a whole slew of people suddenly started crashing their cars because, well gee, the poor towing company clearly needs a bailout?

Or do you mean that they suddenly went on a rampage and erroneously towed 40% more parked cars to fuel their anger?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Do you mean that a whole slew of people suddenly started crashing their cars because, well gee, the poor towing company clearly needs a bailout?”

Well, I suppose it could mean that a bunch of people who crashed their cars anyways suddenly decided to call this towing company, in opposed to a competitor, because they felt that this particular company needs a bail out 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As a non-American, I’m not really sure how your car insurance system works, but I highly doubt that anyone bothers to remember the number of the towing company. If they have that number on speed-dial, then there is a whole other issue at play here.

Now, if the police or the insurance companies decided to start using these guys based on this bad publicity, then you’ve got a huge mess to start wading through.

Kiki (profile) says:

Re: t&j towing

That business is not telling the truth. Since their business practices have been exposed, by several people who had their cars towed, many apt. complexes, businesses, etc. who used t&j have dropped them. This towing company tows cars that are LEGALLY parked, removes parking stickers (since they also do lock out services) from windshields and tows the car based on it being illegally parked. Then they hold the car for “ransom” at $118. and do NOT carry cash to make change. I think I read they don’t take credit cards, there are a lot of different articles about this out now. The towing company owner is suing the creator of the Facebook group Kalamazoo Residents Against T&J Towing claiming the posts on FB are ruining his business and has now become a first amendment lawsuit. Since that group formed, which now has over 12,000 members from all over the world, word has gotten out on how bad T&J is. Check out the group and see all the complaints vs the towing company. Some comments are not all that constructive but are in support of Justin, some are experiences other people have had with this particular towing company.

Zauber Paracelsus (profile) says:

A lot of companies these days seem to use the practice of “shoot first, ask questions later” when it comes to filing lawsuits. And they’re learning the same lesson that Creative Lab has learned: think about the consequences before you litigate.

Some lawyers may be upset with the above statement, but only because they benefit from such behavior.

Joe Harkins (user link) says:

The Lincoln Park Pirates

Back in the late 60s early 70s, I was, at first the floor manager / doorman / bouncer at the Earle of Old Town in Chicago. Among the stellar performers was Stevie Goodman who was then a college sophomore and John Prine who was still a mailman out in Oak Park. I think it was Steve, though it might have been John who wrote the song “The Lincoln Park Pirates” that was requested every time they performed. The Lincoln Park Towing Company’s people were notorious for taking down the required warning signs and them lurking until a unsuspecting victim would walk away from his car.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Lincoln Park Pirates

I love John Prine! I’ve never heard another human being even mention his name. Crazy as a Loon has become my personal anthem, the one song I play obsessively during my commute to hell and back every day.

Crazy As A Loon

? John Prine & Pat McLaughlin

Back before I was a movie star
Straight off of the farm
I had a picture of another man’s wife
Tattooed on my arm
With a pack of Camel cigarettes
In the sleeve of my tee shirt
I’m headin’ out to Hollywood
Just to have my feelings hurt

That town will make you crazy
Just give it a little time
You’ll be walking ’round in circles
Down at Hollywood and Vine
You’ll be waitin’ on a phone call
At the wrong end of a broom
Yes, that town’ll make you crazy
Crazy as a loon

btr1701 (profile) says:


If this company really is as shady as it seems, then suing the kid is doubly idiotic. First, because of the already noted Streisand Effect. And second because once a civil suit is filed, both parties are entitled to discovery, which means the kid will be entitled to a court order forcing this company to open its records and files for his inspection. Something tells me that’s the last thing this towing company wants.

mike allen (profile) says:


the correct quote is I dont care what the press say as long as they spell my name correctly only i forget qho said it. As for TAM I have found that old ZX81 and it is ready to transplant into your head. Just call my office and head to the nearest rat infested place near you (must be one) then we can go ahead.Then after you will be cured of all you problems.

Dan says:


Well I would’ve commented on dodgy car clamping companies is Cornwall, England, but you lot moan a bit at each other don’t ya! Leave it!
If you had proof that your car had been clamped or towed illegally, would the law stand behind you if you forced your way into an impound to get it back or used an angle grinder to remove a clamp? It’s something I’ve seriously considered if/when it happens to me.

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