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Towing Issues/excessive towing charge

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Question
I was towed from a business parking lot across the street from a movie theater Tuesday night that people frequently use for that purpose (along with approx. 7 others).  The business was closed. The location is Stamford, CT.  The CT DMV site says that $88.00 is the towing charge.  My total fee was $219.  The paperwork I was given included $90 for winching and $24.00 for "loaded".  Is this a fair practice?  If not, do you know how I might go about contesting it?

Answer
I am not totally sure, but I belive that the Connecticut Public Services Department(or something like that) does regulate towing fees.   

You might check with them about it and see if they do regulate the rates.

Now since you paid the fee of $219 you might have several other charges in it as you say.

But winching and loaded do make me wonder.
Those total up to $202.00.  

Generally you will have storage fees, and maybe an after hours release fee (gate fee or night fee)

Now as to fair practice about those listed fees...

I have seen "creative invoicing" where they take a flatbed tow truck (the kind where your vehicle is on the deck) and applying "winching" fees.   Their reasoning is that they have to use "the winch" to get it on the deck.   Truthfully, in my 34 years towing, I have seen this before and I feel (and a lot of others do) that they are just padding the bill. After all now does the vehicle get up there if they do not winch it even if it has keys and all that.

Loaded, well that might be mileage fee to the yard, hard to say.


There are a lot of real honest and law abiding tow companies who do it right every day, but its always the "black sheep" or "pirates" who give the industry a black eye and cause problems.


Now I have to ask this question. Why did you park in some other business parking lot to go else where????

That business that you trespassed on, has every legal right to control their parking access and have vehicles towed when they are open or closed. They pay the taxes and insure that property and have control over it.
You and as you say 7 others got towed from there for parking illegally. Yes that is trespassing, which is a criminal offense. Ever think of that?
How would you react, if you came home and someone else was parked in your driveway while you were gone.  "NO ONE WAS HERE, so I thought I could park here and do what I want" would be their excuse. Do you follow that line of thought?

Now to contest the towing and such, you have every legal right to go to small claims court and present your evidence as to why you think you were wronged. Remember you will get to do this in front of a judge so you want to have all the evidence, pictures, receipts of where you were and if you have any from the property where you were towed from. But then again you also might lose.

If you find out that the tow company charged rates which are not legal as per state law or regulations then you might have rights and the ability to use the state department which sets and regulates tow companies and their rates to sue also...

Check out this link to information on the rates allowed and how to file a complaint about them.

http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=799&q=245370


hope this helps

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Richard

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Professional towing and recovery operator for 31 Plus years, dealing with light to heavy duty towing operations... Nationally certified by various agencies - associations.. Been answering questions here for 6 + years now on AllExperts. I know that many people do not understand vehicle towing when ordered by Law Enforcement or from Private Property Parking lots, which I will try to help with. BUT, I DO NOT AND WILL NOT ANSWER ANY RV TOWING ISSUES, or actual law cases or proposed cases...

Experience

I have 30+ years of towing experience dealing with everything from Light duty ( cars and pickups ) to tractor trailer rigs, motor homes and buses.. Motor clubs to police calls, lockouts to jumpstarts and tows. I have experienced alot of fun times doing my job. Some have been good experiences and some of have been heart wrenching experiences.

Organizations
Been affiliated with TRAA(towing and recovery association of america), Oregon Tow Truck Association, Washington Tow Truck Association, Wyoming Tow Truck Association , and Alabama Tow Truck Association

Publications
Tow Times Magazine
American Towman
STA Phantom Towing News
Towing and Recovery Phootnotes Footnotes Towing and Recovery News

Education/Credentials
TRAA Heavy duty Trained operator 1987
TRAA Management Classes   1986
Wreckmaster training programs (since 1992)
Several other training programs (to many to list )

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