The Harris Teeter Saga Continues

5 Jan

So I haven’t heard a peep from Harris Teeter – not the assistant manager I spoke with, nor the corporate office. And it’s not for lack of trying either. I’ve posted to their Facebook page, sent multiple tweets and a letter to their customer service team – which I will post below, and let’s not forget the time I spent actually discussing the situation in person at the store. So here’s the letter I wrote to the corporate customer service team. Perhaps at some point, Harris Teeter will listen to me.

On Saturday, January 1, 2011, my husband and I went to Harris Teeter in Potomac Yard to do some grocery shopping. We purchased some products, and left to visit friends who live above Harris Teeter, in a condo complex managed by Armstrong Management. We have been told on multiple occasions, by Armstrong Management that parking at Harris Teeter was allowed until 12pm. We intended to finish our grocery shopping after our dinner, and when our baby daughter had fallen asleep so we didn’t believe it would be a problem as we were patronizing Harris Teeter – and not only once that night, but twice. However, when we returned at about 9:50pm our car was gone from the Harris Teeter parking lot.

We went inside to ask the Allied Barton security guard (her name was Tiana G.) if she had seen anything, and she replied no, but perhaps the car had been towed. She was then asked if she had authorized the towing. Again, she replied no, she did not have that authority. We went upstairs to ask the management company if they had the car towed. The reply was no, they did not tow cars from the Harris Teeter parking lot. However, he did know the towing company used by Harris Teeter, and called them to verify that our car had been towed. We returned to Harris Teeter to relay this information to the assistant manager on duty, Rudy, said to come back in the morning and that the store manager would be able to assist us with who had our car towed, and that is should not be a problem to be refunded our $115.

Once we retrieved our car, by driving to a dark and seedy area (with our infant daughter in the car) we were told by the towing operator that they were given authorization, and showed us proof of signature. I was appalled to discover that the Allied Barton security guard, who is contracted by Harris Teeter (as told to me by the assistant manager Jay Tracy) had authorized the tow, even though she had denied to my face that she had the ability to do that. I returned to Harris Teeter and asked her about it, and again, she denied that she had authorized A-1 Towing to tow my car, but acknowledged it was her signature.

The next day, Sunday, January 2, 2011, I spoke with Jay Tracy, the assistant manager, and he told me in no instances does Allied Barton have the authority to tow my car. Nor did Harris Teeter authorize my car to be towed via Allied Barton and A-1 Towing. He also said that while unfortunate, he could not help with any satisfaction towards getting our money returned – a direct contradiction of what the assistant manager the night before had told us.

I am extremely disappointed and very angry that 1. Harris Teeter towed my car when I am, and have been for a while now, a loyal customer; 2. Harris Teeter did not authorize the security guard to tow my car, yet she did it anyway, and then lied about it 3. Harris Teeter employs unethical and rude contract workers 4. Their workers are extremely uninformed as to protocol and who has authorization to tow; whether it’s the management company or Harris Teeter or Allied Barton Security. 5. The predatory towing practices of the A-1 Towing company that Harris Teeter has contracted with and finally, the unresponsiveness that Harris Teeter has shown to my complaint.

I have spoken with Armstrong Management and they stated to me that they do not contract with A-1 Towing to tow cars from the Harris Teeter parking lot, because in Harris Teeter’s lease agreement the parking lot is controlled by Harris Teeter. Why then was Allied Barton who was not authorized, as told to me by Jay Tracy of Harris Teeter, the company that towed my car? Every company involved in this is blaming another company, and it’s extremely frustrating as a loyal customer. It’s unconscionable that a company says I can only park for two hours to do my shopping (with a baby that is sometimes extremely difficult) and then when that’s over tells me that they have no idea who towed my car, but that they did not authorize it, and don’t know who did. This has been a horrible experience.  

We shall see if they say anything. As of now, it’s still quiet.

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