Atlanta entrepreneur claims to have key to free vehicles of metal boots

Skeptical of potential scammers, Christian Verrette recently launched ATL Boot Key.
Atlanta entrepreneur claims to have key to freeing vehicles of metal boots
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A local entrepreneur claims he has the solution to freeing vehicles of metal boots.

In the decade Christian Verrette has called Atlanta home, he said his car has been booted more times than he can count.

“It just seems wrong,” Verrette said. “To me, it comes off as extortion. If I don’t have $75, what am I supposed to do?”

In Georgia, vehicles can only be booted if a community has an existing ordinance allowing the practice. That’s the case in Atlanta, where private property owners are required to post signage and those doing the booting must always carry a permit.

“Ticketing is a much more ethical system,” Verrette said.

Skeptical of potential scammers, Verrette recently launched ATL Boot Key. He said he’s found a way to duplicate the keys many of the booting companies use to immobilize vehicles. Apparently, the keys are universal. Verrette is now selling them for $50 each.

“There’s nothing unlawful about having the key and more so there’s nothing unlawful about duplicating the key and selling the key,” Verrette said.

A section of the city’s ordinance states, “in the event that the owner or operator of a vehicle, to which an immobilization device has been applied, attempts to operate said vehicle or remove the device, then the vehicle immobilization service is not liable for any damage to that vehicle. Additionally, the owner, driver or person in charge of the vehicle will be liable to the vehicle immobilization service for the cost of damage to the vehicle immobilization device.”

“If the key unlocks the boot and you leave it, there is no damage,” Verrette said.

Attorney Matt Wetherington has won several class action lawsuits against Georgia booting companies. He admits booting companies can be predatory. However, he said it’s not a matter of what’s right and wrong under the law, tampering with a boot is a safety issue.

“This is a terrible idea,” Wetherington said. “At best, you’re going to get charged with trespass. At worst, you could be shot or killed. You’re dealing with people working on commission. It’s not worth it.”

Wetherington said if you feel like you’ve been booted illegally, try and reason with the booting company, call the property owner or dispute the charge with your credit card company.

“Don’t mess with the boot,” he added. “Pay the fine. Deal with it later.”

Verrette said he’s not trying to get rich, but rather the attention of Atlanta City Hall.

“If my business is to sell the key, but my overall objective is to remove the practice that makes me a terrible businessman,” Verrette said. “I want, at the end of the day, to remove the practice of booting in the City of Atlanta.”

Verrette and Wetherington agree on one thing: if you’re tired of booting in Atlanta, call your council member and ask them to ban the practice.