Predatory towing is a term used to refer to a combination of typically unethical practices that are used by some towing companies with the aim of maximizing their income out of scrupulous towing practices. They may use tactics such as the use of a spotter to get your car towed immediately you leave it on a place you are not normally authorized to park. Some of these companies make private side deals with owners of stores in order to benefit illegally from innocent car owners.
These practices result in unfair and excessive charges for vehicle owners. If you are keen and respond in the right manner to predatory towing, you will be successful in recovering your car at no additional costs.
Here are some basic tips on how to protect yourself from predatory towing.
Know the law
One of the most basic things you can do to protect yourself from predatory towing is to have a firm understanding of the law and ordinances concerning towing services. This knowledge will come in handy in helping you avoid extensive time fees that are charged by unethical tow companies.
Read Tow Signage
Before you can park in any unfamiliar lot, or in any place you have never parked before, ensure you read all signage that is posted at the entrance and exit of these lots. These signs normally inform motorists of parking restrictions. Reputable tow companies will post visible and clear signage on all properties they provide tow services.
Beware of on-the-spot tow trucks
If you have been involved in a situation that results in immobilization of your car, ensure you call a reputable tow truck company or your insurance company directly. There is a common tow scam that involves a tow truck showing up to accidents without being called, and they take advantage of stranded drivers to charge exorbitant fees for their services. Ensure the tow truck offering you their services matches the same company name as provided by your insurance provider.
Choose your tow location
When you are without a doubt on the wrong side, a reputable tow truck provider will tow your vehicle to any location of your choice. You need to be wary of any tow service provider that states otherwise and tries to get you to their shop or a garage you didn’t approve of.
If you find yourself to be a victim of predatory towing, there are a couple of things you should do. First, check the local ordinances to see if the tow company violated any of these local laws. If that is the case, file a complaint with local law enforcement.
If you believe you have incurred an unfair charge for a tow service, you have the right to dispute that charge. In most states, the law dictates that towing fees must be reasonable as per other tow companies in the area.
At the very extreme end, you can consult with an attorney for any legal representation you need in case your rights have been violated.