In the past several months, we've heard complaints in separate municipalities about motorists being charged hefty fees for having their vehicles towed - in one town it was because of snow removal and in another it was regarding an accident.
In both instances, what irked the owners of the vehicles most was the amount that was charged both for towing and storage.
It became obvious in the dialogue that tow owners don't charge similar fees; that some are way more expensive than others.
Which is why municipalities should establish policies for vehicle towing. They should create a list of tow truck companies with fees posted. While fees might vary slightly, those firms which charge exorbitant costs would not be utilized. It would be required that the tow owners stand by the fees they list with the respective municipality.
Here are two reasons why such towing lists are needed:
Suppose there's a snowstorm and for some reason you and a neighbor both violate borough policy and have your vehicles towed. Your neighbor, who was towed by one towing company, might have a bill of $75. You, on the other hand, were towed by another firm who charges $150 for towing and $75 per day storage.
Or, suppose you are in an accident with another vehicle and both cars are towed. Again, the fees for the towing from the same accident could be incredibly varied.
In an accident, obviously your preference for a tow company would be given priority within reason. But it isn't fair that some companies, even local ones, gouge people when they are most vulnerable.
Most towing companies are very fair in our area. We wouldn't have believed the high charges that were charged had we not heard them at the meetings we attended.
Hopefully, officials will take heed and adopt a list of towing companies to serve their respective boroughs. And on that list should only be firms that charge fair, competitive rates.
By Ron Gower