Avoiding Towing Scams

Private property towing is easy money.

It’s never a good feeling when your car breaks down, failing to get you to your destination while also stranding you on the side of the road for hours. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. Once you get safely to the side of the road, you’ll wind up looking up numbers of towing companies near you and perhaps waiting for hours until your towing company arrives.

When you wind up in this situation and don’t have roadside assistance, you’ll have to find a good towing company by yourself in a moment’s notice. However, scams do abound within the towing company industry, so how do you find a reliable towing company that won’t overcharge you?

Fact-Check for Hidden Fees

Remember that old cliché, “if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is?” That aged saying certainly applies to towing companies. If you see a company that seems cheap, be wary. Most reliable towing companies charge about $100 a tow nationwide for an average tow plus mileage of $4 to $5 per mile. Weather, time of day & traffic can play a role in towing costs.

Anything lower than $70 per tow or if  a company offers a low rate, fact check the reviews because the company offering bottom-level rates might have hidden fees when they show up. This is more common for locksmith businesses, and you can find examples in every industry. For example, some companies will offer low prices of around $35 and advertise them on Google, but then when they arrive make up charges costing you additional money in hidden fees after your service is rendered. So, as you search for a company, make sure no additional charges apply besides what they have quoted. It is so easy to check the reviews of companies online now and for an added safety net see if they are accredited by the BBB.

If your car is being towed from a private lot due to you leaving it there longer than the signs allow then storage fees can add up daily. Remember that you’ll always need to pay a daily storage fee of $30 and a towing fee of around $245 in Minneapolis, although another city for example in Saint Paul – towing companies can charge whatever they want due to the lack of laws put in place to help consumers.. Most reasonable storage prices run between $20 to $30 a day. However, some places charge as much as $120 a day. So, before you park in a private lot check any signage maybe go as far as taking time stamped photos and if your unsure, just find another lot. When you need towing services due to a car not running, inspect the towing contract prior to towing or storing your car. Make sure you verify the total price of the tow on the phone first, and then again with somebody present before you sign the contract. The more upfront the company is about pricing, the better.

Unsolicited Tow Companies

If a company suddenly shows up while you are stranded, you might want to think twice about getting assistance from them. In the towing industry, these types of services are known as “scammer listeners,” and often listen to police scanners to try and get business.  On some occasions, they’ll try to beat the police to the punch and arrive to help the stranded driver before the police get to the scene, forcing the driver to sign paperwork for the tow. However, many areas are making it illegal for unsolicited tow companies to do this, but some still try, so beware.

Finding a Reliable Tow Company

Fact-checking on a company’s reputation is the best way to get assistance without getting ripped off. To find out what a company’s reputation is, you can do a few things. First, look up how long they’ve been around, and also look up reviews on the towing company’s services. Often times, reviews from regular customers is the best way to tell how reliable the company is, and the type of service you will receive. BBB accreditation requires the business to abide by a set of rules crafted to ensure legitimacy. A company that is accredited has to respond to any arbitration submitted through the BBB website, ensuring that this business will go above and beyond to please it’s customers.

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