Picture this: A family emergency strikes. You toss a few essentials in a bag and leave town in a hurry. Or worse: you’re hospitalized unexpectedly. In either case, the car you left legally street parked at home is the last thing on your mind—until you return a couple weeks later to find it’s gone. It’s been towed by the city, and now it’s your responsibility to figure out where it is and get it back. Best case scenario, you could owe hundreds or thousands of dollars in impound fees on top of other expenses, and worst case? The government quickly and quietly auctioned it off to someone else under your nose, all because you didn’t know a quasi-secret rule.

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New York City Will Now Sell Your Towed Vehicle After 10 Days

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