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Contest a Tow

Contest a Vehicle Tow Ordered by SFMTA Enforcement 

We understand your anger and frustration when you return to your parked car only to find your car is towed. If you believe your vehicle was towed in error, you may dispute  the validity of the tow by scheduling a hearing within 30 days of the date of the tow. The date selected for a hearing does not need to be within 30 days.  

To Schedule a Hearing 

To schedule a hearing and/or submit a written protest, complete the online form at the end of this page. You can choose to have your hearing by telephone, by email, by written mail-in, through online submittal, or by video conference on request. We have resumed certain in-person hearings for impounded vehicles, for immobilized vehicles (boots), for tourists, for visitors and for those who cannot schedule tow or boot hearings by video, phone or mail. 

Hearing Location 

SFMTA Customer Service Center
11 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, excluding holidays.

To Contest a Tow Ordered by SFPD

To contest a tow ordered by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), you must appear in person at the police department.  For more information  visit SFPD's tow page.  To listen to a recorded message with SFPD tow information call 415.553.1619.

San Francisco Police Department at Hall of Justice
850 Bryant Street, Room #154
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, excluding holidays.

To Stop Accrual of Storage Fees

Storage fees accrue daily, and the owner of the vehicle is responsible for all towing and storage fees.  It’s a good idea to get your vehicle out of Impound immediately or as soon as possible to stop the accrual of storage fees, even if you believe the vehicle was towed in error.  If you are unable remove your vehicle from Impound before your tow hearing or during the hearing process, all towing and storage fees will continue to accrue.  For information about the amount of accrued tow and storage fees, contact the Impound yard at 415.865.8200.

If you cannot afford to pay the fees to get your vehicle out of Impound, you should schedule a hearing at your earliest convenience by calling 415.646.2020.  If you prevail at your hearing, a refund of both your tow and storage fees will be mailed to you 4-6 weeks from the date of your hearing.


Grounds For Dismissal Of Tow Fees

Tow and storage fees will be dismissed at your hearing on a showing that the tow is not supported by evidence of some parking infraction serious enough to requiring towing.

Financial hardships or unfortunate personal circumstances are understandable, but will not exempt the vehicle owner from paying the fixed tow and administrative fees,  Hearing officers will only determine whether the tow is legal based upon the underlying circumstances.

However, tow and storage fees are considerably reduced for those who were homeless at the time, or who are documented to be of low income status, or who have been towed for the first time in San Francisco. 

Find out more about our Tow Hearing Procedures.

Low-Income?

Visit the Low Income Tow page for information on how to receive certain limited waivers on tow fees and storage.

Experiencing Homelessness?

Visit the Low Income Tow page for information on how to receive certain limited waivers on tow fees and storage.

First Tow?

Visit the First Tow page for information on how to receive a reduction in the administrative fee.  All other fees still apply.


Contest a Tow and Scheduling

Schedule a Phone or Video Hearing

OR

Submit your Tow Protest in Writing 

If your vehicle remains impounded and you are unable to manage or pay for its release, you are entitled to a hearing within 48 hours of the tow date and time, excluding weekends.  Contact our Tow Hearing Coordinator at 415.646.2020 to schedule a phone, video or in person hearing with a hearing officer.

Video Capture of Public Activity on Muni Vehicles

The SFMTA relies upon both audio and video for the purpose of regularly monitoring safety, security and transit operation issues that pertain to the public operation of all of Muni’s Metro trains and buses.  These audio and video recordings may be used by SFMTA Hearing Section officers to determine the responsibility for any injuries or other transit-related concerns that arise during transit operations. These recordings are made in the usual course of business and are retained for only a limited period of time, and are not intended to be kept in the regular course of business as public records.

SFMTA Use of Video Recordings

Recordings of hearings, either by phone or by video (which may include video or audio obtained during SFMTA transit operations), will not be used by the SFMTA for any purpose other than by the hearing officer in order to accurately recall the hearing testimony and other evidence.  These recordings are for temporary use only, and are not intended to be kept in the regular course of business as public records.

Consent Required for Recording Hearings

SFMTA parking citation and tow hearings are not open to the public.  If you would like to record  your own administrative hearing, please advise the officer or staff person that you intend to record the phone hearing, video or in person hearing session, explain the reason for the recording, and obtain the consent of the hearing officer on the recording at the time of the hearing.