7 On Your Side: New Jersey's largest mall still owes employees after illegal tows

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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has the details.

Mall workers who were illegally towed while they were on the job are finally getting some money back, thanks to 7 On Your Side.

They were orignially told by New Jersey's largest mall that they'd get back tow fees, but when that didn't happen for the second time, they called Nina Pineda.

On December 7, we exposed mall giant Westfield after consumer officials say it broke four laws of the Predatory Towing Act by towing 48 employee cars out of their lots at the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus. But more than a month later, justice hit road block as the young woman who blew the whistle and others still had not received refunds for the mall mistake.

Westfield said it had warned employees by sending memos out to individual store managers, but we found some of the employees who were towed were never told anything. It was all an initiative to preserve parking during the holidays for customers. Employees, Westfield said, were alerted to park in "employee only" lots.

We found employees were out anywhere from $100 to $150 a pop, money that had to be paid to the towing company that was hired by Westfield.

But according to Bergen County Consumer Affairs officials, Westfield wasn't allowed to tow by law without posting signs. And once we told Westfield about this, they put up signs all over the parking lots. But consumer officials said the signs were inadequate, not big enough and lacking critical information.

And after our story, the mall finally complied, putting up proper signage. But when it came to paying the employees, some were still waiting for a refund check promised by Westfield.

But after we pointed out this delay to Bergen County Consumer Affairs, Westfield paid all the employees who were still owed.

Mall management never explained why it took so long for refund checks to be cut, but it says the employee parking policy is in place to better serve mall customers - and that it now complies with all signage regulations.
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