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My wife and I were surprised to encounter " Pirates” in the mini-mall parking lot at the corner of Dorchester and 53rd street, in Hyde Park Chicago, on a nice Sunday afternon in the spring of 2012. We went into the Sprint store to purchase a cell phone accessory. We didn’t find the one we wanted, so we went across the street to the T-mobile store. As we were walking out of the lot, I noticed a man looking over our car – I figured – it’s locked – what can he do. During the 10 minutes we were checking T-mobile, our car was towed. We went back into the Sprint store, and they told us that yes, we had “left the lot”, and according to the sign, we could be towed. We called “Rendered Services”, and were told that they had our car, and we would have to come to their location at 35th and Ashland, with $198 (payable by cash or credit card), to get our car back. Their location – complete with barbed wire, bullet-proof glass, and a fleet of jet black tow-trucks, is shown in the picture below. While the tow was “legal”, as our car was parked on the private parking lot of this mini-mall, it is not reasonable or customary to have one’s car towed when one checks an adjacent store for 10 minutes across the street.
This behavior is obviously permitted by the owners of the 53rd and Dorchester mall, as well as by the Chicago city government (shame). Accordingly, my wife and I have decided that we will never visit a store at the Dorchester-53rd mall again – this includes the Subway, the Sprint store, Wok-N-Roll, the HR block, the frame store, and the 5th-3rd bank, as they are permitting their customers to be preyed upon by “Rendered Services”. We suggest similar action by others in this situation -- don't patronize merchants who permit their customers to be victimized.
Rendered Services in Chicago Illinois. Note the barbed wire, and"bunker" style business office. There is a fleet of black tow trucks behind the fence.
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