Why booting your car might be illegal in Georgia

6:42 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 Metro Atlanta / State news
Signs in the Newnan Crossing shopping center in Newnan, Ga., warn owners of “unauthorized vehicles” they are subject to booting. CHRIS JOYNER / CJOYNER@AJC.COM

A team of Atlanta attorneys is gathering clients for a possible class action lawsuit that could make them heroes with metro drivers.

They claim that immobilizing improperly parked cars using a tire clamp or “boot” is not allowed under state law. But the practice goes on in private parking lots all over the state.

Georgia law allows private property owners to tow away improperly parked cars, but the law and state regulations set up specific procedures and costs to do so. There is none of that in booting, where companies can hold your car hostage for hundreds of dollars, said Matt Wetherington, one of the lawyers working on several of the lawsuits.

“You can set whatever fee you want,” he said. “The police are doing nothing about this.”

Booting companies dispute the claims and say their practice is legal and protects the rights of property owners from abuse.

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