Most victims of tow truck violations aren’t aware of their rights when their car has been towed. All South Florida counties have very strict rules and regulations regarding how tow truck companies are required to operate. Unfortunately, several news outlets continue to report that many tow trucks companies routinely violate these rules in order to make more money on the unsuspecting public.
You Have Rights if Your Car has been Towed
- If your car has been towed, you have certain rights that the towing company must comply with, including:
- If you arrive at your car before it is towed, but while it is hooked up, they must charge you not more than half the regular towing rate and immediately release your car upon payment and provide you with a receipt.
- When retrieving your car from the tow yard, the towing company must accept either cash, debit or credit card.
If they attempt to force you to pay in cash, this is a violation. If you do choose to pay in cash, the tow company must be able to make change to the nearest dollar.
- Upon paying to retrieve your vehicle from the tow yard, the tow company must provide you with an itemized invoice or receipt of the charges along with a copy of your consumer rights.
You have the right to inspect your vehicle upon arriving at the tow yard and to retrieve valuables from your vehicle prior to paying. The tow company must assist you and honor your request.
- The tow company must have specific authorization from the property manager to tow your specific car. The tow company cannot make decisions on their own if a vehicle is parked illegally.
What to do if your Car has been Towed
- Take a picture on your phone of the towing sign in the parking lot you were towed from. The sign must contain specific wording and is required to tell you which towing company towed your vehicle and their phone number and address. If you don’t know who towed your vehicle, contact the local police department or sheriff’s office in the city or town that you are in. The tow company is required to contact local law enforcement within 30 minutes of towing your car to inform them that they have your vehicle.
- Make a note of how many feet the sign is away from the road or entrance. It is illegal for the sign to be more than 5 feet from the closest entrance and/or right-of-way.
- Promptly go to the tow yard and pay to retrieve your vehicle. If you leave it there for more than six hours from the time it was towed, the towing prices increase. Tow prices increase again after twenty-four hours;
- Make sure you receive an invoice from the tow company. You may have been charged more than the law allows which is generally begins between $130-150. Contact us for a free review of your towing invoice.
- If you believe you have been overcharged or are the victim of any consumer rights violations listed above, contact us right away and send us a copy of the invoice and a picture of the towing sign.