How to avoid hefty charges for towing and storage

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 18:53:25-04

If your vehicle has to be towed or stored, watch out. If you are not careful, you could be on the hook for some hefty charges.

Consumers have gotten hit with these charges in a number of ways. Some of the complaints are from people who parked their vehicles in a private parking lot, legally or illegally, only to find that their vehicle was towed by a company that is charging excessive fees for the tow and storage.

There have also been complaints about unscrupulous towing companies that show up at a crash or breakdown without being contacted by a consumer or police, and charging big bucks for towing and storage. Some of these charges can be as much as double or triple of what one might expect to pay if they contacted a tow company on their own.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from getting caught in one of these schemes:

Most important, be careful about where you park, especially if it is a private parking lot. Look for signs and make sure that it is OK to park in these lots.

If your vehicle needs to be towed due to a crash or breakdown, contact a motor club such as AAA or your insurer to find a reputable company with reasonable fees. If you have towing coverage through your insurance company or are a member of a motor club, this can help with covering some or all of the costs.

If you are responsible for some of these costs, it is a good idea to get a quote before the tow truck pulls up.

When the truck arrives, make sure the information on the tow truck matches with who you contacted, and that the pricing on the paperwork matches with what you were quoted.

If you believe that you were wrongly towed or charged more than normal, contact the towing company and owner of the lot to try to resolve the issue. If they will not help, contact our Call 4 Action office for assistance.