Queen Anne property manager builds fence around illegally parked Car2go car
Dan Smith took matters into his own hands when a Car2go Mercedes was abandoned on the East Queen Anne property he manages.
Car2go is an international carshare company that allows customers to rent cars for any length of time they’d like — whether days, hours, or even minutes. Customers pick cars up and drop them off at any street parking location within the city of Seattle.
Car2go covers the cost of parking for its customers as long as it is an unrestricted space that allows at least an hour of parking. What is not allowed, by Car2go policy or by law, is to leave a car on private property.
So when Smith saw the vehicle in his driveway on May 17, he did not intend to let it sit there.
“I immediately called Car2go and let them know, and I gave them a six-hour grace window, basically,” Smith told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “I told them if the car wasn’t gone, moved, within six hours, I’d call a tow truck.”
But when the car did not go anywhere and he tried to call a tow truck, he began to hit a wall.
“I called the tow truck, they said, ‘Call the police,'” Smith recalled. “I called the police, they said, ‘Call a tow truck.'”
Three tow companies turned down the job. Smith offered to Car2go that he would move the car himself, but was told that was not allowed. According to Smith, the carshare company said that moving the car was the customer’s responsibility, not their own.
Smith continued to call Car2go every day for a few days in a row, but said that he received no word from the carshare company for an entire week.
So Smith decided that he would be a true businessman and make Car2go “buy a license to do business on this property.” He built a fence around the car out of wooden planks and twine, with signs noting that a payment was required to pass through and pick up the car.
“I wanted to be very careful because the car is not my property,” Smith said. “So I tried to think very carefully, what do I have the right to do?”
He is charging the company a ‘storage fee’ of $65 per day for “doing business illegally on private property.” He has three security cameras on the fence in case anyone wants to break through it.
“I’m not trying to hold it hostage, I’m trying to be a good businessman … They’re forcing me into a business relationship,” said Smith, who does in fact own a small business.
As he pointed out, he would be liable if any person coming to retrieve the car tripped and fell on his property. If he is taking on that risk, he said, why should he not get some reward?
“Nobody is coming to move this car unless I’m standing there watching them … If damage did happen, they’re not going to be cooperative about resolving that,” he said. “It’s just going to be a five-year legal battle.”
According to Smith, Car2go has told him that if he does not allow someone from the company to come get the car for free, he will be reported to the police for vehicle theft. Smith said he has not yet been contacted by police.
Share Now, the company that operates Car2go, told KIRO 7 TV that on the day after the vehicle was left on the property, seven different people attempted to rent the car in question. However, they were not able to access it because of the makeshift fence.