NEWARK – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa today announced that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has negotiated an agreement that enables hundreds of Seaside Heights residents to reclaim their cars and boats from a Toms River towing company that towed vehicles from the island following Hurricane Sandy.
The registered owners of the vehicles and watercraft can reclaim the items between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. tomorrow and Friday; and at additional times to be determined next week.
“We have brokered an agreement that ensures Seaside Heights residents will not have to await the resolution of ongoing investigations into the legality of the towing company’s activities, before claiming their vehicles. Just as important, it also ensures those residents will not have to pay the towing bills,” Attorney General Chiesa said.
The agreement was signed today by Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, and Matthew Zucaro, president of APK Auto Repair Corporation, doing business as APK Auto Repair and Towing. Under its terms, APK will release and return, without cost to the registered owners, all vehicles and watercraft that APK removed from the Borough of Seaside Heights between 12 p.m. October 27 and 12 a.m. November 9; or that were transported from Seaside Heights to APK’s storage facilities by a third party during that time period.
In order to claim their vehicles or watercraft, the registered owners should:
- View the list of vehicles and watercraft, available at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/APK.pdf to determine whether your item is included on the list; and learn whether it is being held at the “Bamber Lot,” “Coolidge Avenue Lot,” or “Impound Inventory” lot. (Note that some vehicles on the "Impound Inventory" list may have been towed prior to the storm. Those vehicles are not included in this agreement).
- If you are unable to access the list online, or if you have additional questions, call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846. An investigator will respond to you.
- Visit the lot at which your vehicle is located. You will be able to work on-site with a Division of Consumer Affairs investigator at each of the three lots, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, November 21, and between the same hours on Friday, November 23. The Division of Consumer Affairs will set additional hours for the following week, and will post the hours at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov.
- The “Bamber Lot” is located at 2630 Lacey Road / County Road 614, Forked River. The “Coolidge Avenue Lot” is located at 2032 Route 37 East (at the corner of Route 37 and Coolidge Avenue), Toms River. The “Impound Inventory” lot is located at the corner of Bay Boulevard / County Road 629 and Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights.
“The bottom line here is that these vehicles were towed due to no fault of their owners,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “Since we learned about this situation, our top priority has been to help the consumers reclaim their property – and spare them from towing fees that were not their responsibility. The owners of these vehicles and watercraft are now free to move on with the more important tasks of assessing the damage to their homes and rebuilding their lives. Meanwhile, the Division will continue to investigate whether this company’s actions violated New Jersey’s consumer protection laws.”
The agreement signed by the Division of Consumer Affairs and APK does not preclude further investigation by law enforcement. APK admits no wrongdoing in the agreement.
Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws, particularly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.