In a video that has racked up over 773,000 views on TikTok, user @haunted_detective drops “tea” about a suspicious activity concerning parking boots in downtown Austin. Apparently, use of unregulated boots has been an issue. The 3:08 clip details the ordeal of unsuspecting patrons at a concert venue where she works finding their cars booted without any authorization from the venue. “People were coming into the venue saying that their cars were getting booted. We didn’t authorize any booting,” she states.
Shockingly, on investigation, they found “seven people, men, and women in high viz vests, standing around just throwing boots on cars.” These weren’t ordinary boots either but ones matching those featured in an article six years prior, warning about “illegal parking boot scams.”
@haunted_detective #austintexastiktok #austinconcert #austinpolicedepartment #currentevents #austinnewskxan #austinnews #austintexasnews ♬ original sound – Kelsey C
How to take off the boot
The dubious nature of the boots was made evident when patrons could easily remove them. “One of our customers drove their car off, turned the wheel, and the boot just snapped off,” the TikToker revealed. Another was effortlessly able to bend and snap it off, a feat not possible with genuine, legally endorsed parking boots. When confronted, these “booting agents” were far from professional, resorting to threats and even attempts at physical altercations.
Lack of verification and company concerns
Their dubious operations were further emphasized when they couldn’t verify their reason for being there. They should have provided information about the property management company, the hiring business, or the landlord’s name. A deeper dive into their employer, the women-owned Bitlocks LLC, showcased alarming details, according to the TikToker. Not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, one-star reviews marred their online reputation, all warning of scams. The TikToker/worker further highlighted their questionable business model: “Bitlocks also encourages businesses to be scammy and sleazy with money. Any parking lot can easily be converted into a revenue stream.” All this despite multiple businesses sharing the lot.
The unexpected twist
In a follow-up video, it turns out Bitlocks LLC was indeed contracted, but not for the reasons one would think. “Bitlocks LLC was hired to regulate parking and regulate the flow of traffic. They were not hired to give anyone penalties,” the TikToker shared, to include any use of a parking boot. The unfolding narrative suggests a sinister modus operandi: “What I think this scam is, is these people are getting hired for one thing. They’re showing up, putting boots on cars, and then pocketing the money.”
@haunted_detective Replying to @Kelsey C #carbooters #atx #austintexascheck #austintexasnews #atxnews #austinnews ♬ original sound – Kelsey C
This eye-opening disclosure is a cautionary tale for those parking in public spaces, especially downtown Austin. And a reminder: If a suspicious boot ever graces your vehicle, a bit of force might do the trick in snapping it off.
The Daily Dot reached out to @haunted_detective via TikTok comment and Bitlocks via email.