Keep the Required Accepted Payment Methods by Licensed VSF's in Texas as Current Rule
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This petition is now closed.
HB 2571 passed the Texas Legislature and required further regulation on the towing industry. One of the changes called for a sign to be posted at the Vehicle Storage Facility (VSF) that reads: "This vehicle storage facility must accept payment by an electronic check, credit card, or debit card for any fee or charge associated with delivery or storage of a vehicle." As this seems silly, seeing that a required signage requirement exists already, most VSF's went ahead with fulfilling this additional signage requirement.
The law reads as follows:
SECTION 21. Section 2303.159(a), Occupations Code, is amended to read as follows:
(a) The operator of a vehicle storage facility shall accept payment by an electronic check, debit card, or credit card for any charge associated with delivery or storage of a vehicle. The facility shall conspicuously post a sign that states: "This vehicle storage facility must accept payment by an electronic check, credit card, or debit card for any fee or charge associated with delivery or storage of a vehicle." The operator of a vehicle storage facility may not refuse to release a vehicle based on the inability of the facility to accept payment by electronic check, debit card, or credit card of a fee or charge associated with delivery or storage of the vehicle unless the operator, through no fault of the operator, is unable to accept the electronic check, debit card, or credit card because of a power outage or a machine malfunction.
This verbiage is almost identical to past statutes and has been legally interpreted as meaning that the VSF is required to accept at least one other form of payment other than cash that is either electronic check, debit card, or credit card. Most VSF's do follow this and have for many years.
The requirement is effective September 1, 2009.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has now concluded that this law is to be interpreted as meaning that the VSF's must now accept ALL three types of payments. Even after it has been explained that the intention of the law, as written expressly by past authors of this language, was only to require at least one of these, and that the payment form to be used of these choices was to be left at the discretion of the VSF business owner.
This is told to the industry 1 week before the requirement is due and some in the industry are already being threatened that they will be fined on or right after this date if they do not comply with this hurried ruling on this issue.
We have the letters from the legislators that this was never the intention of the law, and we have the legal analysis and interpretation that concurs with the legislator and current rules. We feel that the TDLR has overstepped its power to regulate fairly on this issue as it is already sending this order to its compliance and enforcement departments.
If you look at the statute above, you will see that it reads "This vehicle storage facility must accept payment by an electronic check, credit card, or debit card for any fee or charge associated with delivery or storage of a vehicle." Look at the "or". If it was meant to accept all three forms of payments, then it would read "and" instead of "or".
There is no industry that is required to accept all of these payments by government rule. It is an overwhelming task and cost for many small, law abiding, tax paying citizens to take all of these. These are not the bad towers you hear about in the industry. These are the ones you never hear about, the hard workers that barely make it in this overburdened and over regulated industry. They make up thousands of good hearted persons that do not deserve this.
We, the undersigned, supporters of the Vehicle Storage Facility businesses in Texas, Supporters of the Towing Industry in Texas, and Members of Southwest Tow Operators oppose the proposed ruling by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to require that all VSF's must accept all three forms of payment listed in Section 2303.159(a), Occupations Code.
The intention of the authors of this, and past simular verbiage, intended that it only be mandated that one of these forms of payments are to be required, at the choice of the VSF business owner, not all three to be required.
While we understand TDLR’s perception of this ruling to be a combined paragraph interpretation, we feel that the intention of this law must outweigh the unintentional interpretation by TDLR. This creates a financial impact on the industry that has already been hit very hard by very current regulation that has just now completely come into affect. The technological environmental is already confusing to some that have just now adjusted to at least one of these forms of required payment acceptance. No other industry under TDLR is required to accept all three payments under statute or by rule, that we can find. We do not feel that this revised interpretation is necessary, nor do we accept this as a correct interpretation of the incoming statute.
The Keep the Required Accepted Payment Methods by Licensed VSF's in Texas as Current Rule petition to Texas was written by Anonymous and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.