Robert Andrew Boland, a tow truck driver in South Carolina, was dubbed “worst person of the week” by progressive website DailyKos for alleged gross overcharging for towing vehicles. During the unprecedented rain storm and flooding that deluged South Carolina, authorities claim that Robert Andrew Boland (40) of Summerville was charging fees that were in “gross disparity” to the normal price. Gov. Nikki Haley had declared a state of emergency, due to the inclement weather.
On October 3, hundreds of animal lovers showed up at the Francis Willis SPCA to rescue and foster animals while the facility was flooding. At the entrance, there was a line of vehicles waiting to take in the dogs and cats, while another queued outside on the road nearby.
When cars overwhelmed available parking space at a nearby filling station as the water rose, peopled walked from there to the animal shelter that was one block away. A gas station employee called Carolina Towing and Recovery to tow away the vehicles parked there.
Allegedly, Boland was charging as much as $250 for a tow instead of the usual $85. According to reports, Boland was operating without an appropriate business license to operate in Dorchester County. He was arrested on two counts of price gouging during an emergency, as well as operating without a business license. A bond hearing was scheduled.
According to an affidavit filed in the matter, Boland charged one person $250 before he would release her vehicle from his impound lot which was located a half a mile away from filling station.  When law enforcement officers went to Boland’s place of business on October 7, they found a receipt for the incident in the amount of $125. Another person was charged $150. In that case, the vehicle was never towed nor removed from the premises. The plaintiff paid $150 to simply have the vehicle unhitched from Boland’s tow truck.
Social media erupted with condemnation of Boland after news began to circulate. Meg Pilkington – who works for Charleston Homes – tweeted “Carolina Towing should be fined for towing cars that are helping the Summerville animal shelter.” 
At DailyKos, a post bearing the moniker “PuddyTat” opined, “Actually, it was $13.50 per pill (10+ / 0-)and that was still gouging then because the pill cost less than a dollar to make. (Ed. Note: this is an apparent reference to a 5,000% price hike by Turing pharmaceutical company for an anti-parasitical medication). Too bad they don't arrest credit card execs, bansters (Ed. note: sic), and Big Pharma CEOs for price gouging. There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.”



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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