Action 9

Aggressive towing: What are your rights if you’re illegally towed?

ORLANDO, Fla. — If you’ve ever felt the moment of panic after parking your car somewhere only to return and find it gone, you’re not alone. Action Nine has seen dozens of complaints about an Orange County tow company that many accuse of using aggressive tactics.


At the offices of Brignoni Towing, the Action 9 team reached a manager partially hidden behind a dark tinted window and metal screen.

Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal introduced himself and said, “We received some consumer complaints about the way you guys are towing vehicles.”

If you search the company online, you’ll see reviews with phrases like “Worst experience ever” and “This company is shameful!!!” One reviewer even posted a video of a van being towed sideways.

Jeff Deal showed the video on his phone and asked, “Is that the proper way to tow a car?”

Junior Wilfredo with the towing company answered, “Well, it’s not a proper way, but they just put a dolly on it and they gotta get out of the property.”

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“I honestly think they’re shooting fish in a barrel,” said customer James Lay.

Lay was talking about how Brignoni responds at a towing hotspot near Old Town in Kissimmee where the wrecker service regularly patrols and has been accused of snatch and grab-style tactics. Part of the issue is people will park in the Denny’s parking lot and then walk to the World Food Trucks next door. So, Brignoni is often there to enforce the tow-away zone. But James Lay has no interest in food trucks and claims he ate at Denny’s and still got towed.

Lay said, “They’re taking advantage of people.”

When Action 9 went to check out how they operate first hand, the crew saw a man frantically running from the restaurant with what appeared to be a receipt in his hand after his car was towed. Other people complained online they ate at that same Denny’s and Brignoni towed them anyway. If true, that would violate Florida law.

Angela Makley, an attorney with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida said, “Not only is it an illegal tow, but it’s a criminal offense. Part of the statute has a misdemeanor offense, but part of it has a felony offense.”

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Another man filed a lawsuit claiming the same thing happened to him at another nearby restaurant. He even filed a copy of a receipt with his complaint.

James Lay and his wife took videos that appear to show wreckers snagging cars and lining them up to be towed away at that Denny’s location. Action 9 saw a Brignoni truck swoop in and drag a car skidding out of a parking spot. Sheriff’s office records show Brignoni towed more than 2400 cars just in Osceola County in 2023.

Some online reviewers claim the company also damaged their cars. Jenny Combs told Action 9, Brignoni messed up the steering on her car so badly, her repair shop informed her she’s lucky she made it safely back home to Jacksonville.

Combs said, “My steering wheel is like how it should be like straight, it was just literally crooked.”

It cost around $3900 to repair and she had to pay a $1000 deductible to her insurance company for the damage. She wondered if it was towed sideways like the video posted online and is wanting the company to take responsibility.

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Another car owner told the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office that Brignoni broke his rear differential by improperly towing his all-wheel drive car. That fix cost more than $4,800.

Jeff Deal said to Brignoni manager Junior Wilfredo, “We saw a lot of complaints online and people reached out to us complaining about the way you guys are towing the vehicles and damaging them.”

Wilfredo responded, “We don’t damage no vehicle like that here.”

While he insists Brignoni’s tactics are fine and the company’s tows are legal, James Lay believes for Brignoni Towing, it’s all about the numbers. More tows means more money.

Lay said, “When we got there, there was probably… I would say 20 other people paying to get their car.”

If you believe your car was towed illegally, you can deposit the amount of the tow charge with the county’s clerk of court’s office and get a receipt. The tow company has to release the car to you with that receipt. You would then have to prove your case in court to get your money back, otherwise the money will go to the tow company.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

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