Should the suit succeed, the company could be forced to pay refunds to customers and civil penalties to the state.
Complaints about Advanced Towing are numerous, including reports of cars towed with dogs and children inside. Although a 2015 law gave states more control over towing companies, county officials who tried to rein in the firms were overruled by state lawmakers in 2017 after heavy lobbying by Advanced.
The lawsuit cites reports of cars being towed without proper authority or warning, with victims including police and Amazon and Grubhub delivery drivers. The lawsuit also asserts Advanced has damaged cars in the towing process.
Herring also alleges Advanced fails to properly mark spots in the lots it controls, then tows the cars of shoppers who park in a spot meant for one business and walk into another.
“This predatory and overly aggressive behavior causes consumers to become irate and results in many phone calls to the local police department,” the complaint said.
The company has issued refunds to some drivers whose cars were towed under those circumstances after the police got involved, the lawsuit said.
According to the suit, Advanced has also towed cars from parking lots over the objections of the businesses that own those spaces. At least twice, the firm has towed police vehicles without authority to do so, the lawsuit asserts.
Additionally, drivers for the company have been cited multiple times for failing to properly secure vehicles to a tow truck and hired drivers with a history of convictions for improper towing, Herring said.
Advanced Towing did not immediately return a request for comment.