SAN ANTONIO -- It's a story KENS 5 brought you exclusively a few months ago. A group of people claimed their cars were wrongfully booted and said they were forced to pay a hefty price to get those boots removed.
In response to our story, Councilman John Clamp says the city is now looking into ways to regulate boot companies and parking lot businesses.
Last November, Mario Fuentes and Jacob Pena said they were among a few people parked in a downtown parking lot at the corner of South Presa and Durango on a Saturday afternoon.
The men claim when they drove into the lot the signs said to pay $5. Fuentes said the booth was unattended, but they used the pay box to pay the fee,
"We parked with a $5 payment. We made it to our slots. My slot number was 47. We put in the money, and we went off," Fuentes said.
But when they returned an hour later, Fuentes said the price on the signs was changed and several cars had been booted.
"Not all the signs were covered. There was still a few signs that had $5 written on it. That's when we questioned: Is it $5 or $8," Pena said.
According to Fuentes, the man who worked for Bootman Inc. told him they had not paid the correct amount. As a result, their cars were booted.
Fuentes says they had to pay $116 to remove the boots.
KENS 5 spoke to several other drivers who shared similar experiences.
"This hurts our tourism," said Clamp. "If the private parking lot owners do not self regulate, there is a good opportunity that the city of San Antonio will come in and say. 'If you're not going to do it, here's what we are going to do for you.'"
Although boot companies are regulated by the state, many cities have ordinances that regulate them, too. Clamp would like to see similar San Antonio regulations, such as: putting a cap on the price for removing boots, signage regulations and regulations on the amount of time a company has to respond to a complaint.
Meanwhile, Clamp says they are giving the boot companies and parking lot owners 30 days to get their act together. If they don't, he says the city will intervene to fix the problems.
"I think it's incumbent upon those parking lot owners to come to the table, talk about their issues, give them an opportunity to put it on the table and press forward with good recommendations," said Clamp.
Bootman Inc. has returned KENS 5 phone calls this time. Benny Sanchez, the company's vice president, said, "We are not in the business of scamming people. We are state regulated.
We have also reviewed every complaint and feel the boots were justified since there is no proof that the signs were changed."
If anyone has complaints, Sanchez says they should call him personally at 678-662-5989.