Readers beware: I feel the need to report something that happened to my family, which supposedly happens quite often at UF. It has to do with parking your car in the areas of tow-away zones, which includes most places on and surrounding UF’s campus.

While visiting my son for graduation we received a parking pass for an area near my son’s off-campus apartment. My husband placed it on the dashboard as required. However, my assumption is that while closing the door the pass, which was still visible, was turned upside down. We were unaware of this and went to dinner. When we came back from celebrating, the car was gone. We quickly called Ultimate Towing, whose name we found from the sign posted and were given an address. My husband, two sons and I climbed into my son’s car and drove to the address. As we pulled into the driveway, a car that had been parked on the dirt road pulled in behind us and a gate closed. We were trapped in the tow lot. All of a sudden, a man in a truck announced we shouldn’t have pulled into the lot. We were clueless. We asked him what he was talking about and where we should park; we would move our car accordingly. The man said it was too late, and now we would have to pay the towing costs for both cars. Trying to discuss the matter with him was impossible. We stayed calm but seeing this man wasn’t changing his mind, or planning on discussing the situation, we called the police. As we waited for the police to arrive the man systematically pulled my son’s car into the back of the lot and asked us to step away, to make it appear on camera as if it had been towed in. There was also a weird recording playing constantly throughout the lot. It was very disturbing. When the police arrived, they were very nice and said they visit Ultimate Towing several times a week. They said there was really nothing they could do because of restrictions in the law. We were advised to pay the fine and dispute it through private counsel. My overall point of this letter is to make you, the reader, aware of this situation. I would love to prevent this from happening to you, as a parent or even worse — as a student. It was not only frightening to be in a situation like that but also to experience such a dirty scam. This company is making money off intimidating and taking advantage of people. Please help us to prevent this from happening to other people. If your car is towed don’t pull into the lot of Ultimate Towing.

Linda Lowell is a concerned UF mother.