Today in downtown Minneapolis, you can still find signs in parking lots that warn drivers about potential fines and violations. Many of those signs stress that people who park illegally will be towed at a cost of $245, or even $280. However, because Minneapolis capped its towing price at $212 for all towing companies back in 2008, none of the charging rates on these signs are legal. That has been causing many residents to wonder what’s going on with city towing in Minneapolis. So, does that mean that towing companies in Minneapolis are getting away with charging more for tows?
Minneapolis passed an ordinance in 2008 that capped fees towing companies in the city could charge. Currently, the towing fee is capped at $212, and the storage fee that can be charged daily is capped at $28. The day after a vehicle is towed, towing companies can change storage fees. So, what’s going on with those signs?
City Towing Caps in Minneapolis
While most of us assume that getting our cars towed comes hand-in-hand with being ripped off, the reality is that these towing companies aren’t breaking city laws. Many of the towing sign warnings you can find in downtown Minneapolis today were never changed after the city capped the price of towing via ordinance 349.270. However, the city is now pushing the tow companies to get the prices on their warning signs correct.
All towing companies in Minneapolis must report their tows to the city. That means the city closely regulates the towing industry, and makes sure residents are not charged more than $212 for their tows. There are five towing companies that are licensed in Minneapolis to two vehicles without an owners’ permission. Only those five Class A towing companies can take unauthorized vehicles from parking lots.
Highest Towing Rates
Of all the rates posted by various towing companies on their warning signs, the highest rates seen were put up by Cedar Towing, which also happens to be the biggest towing company in Minneapolis. In fact, on their old signs, Cedar Towing warns drivers that they can be charged up to $280 a tow for parking illegally.
Of all the towing companies present in Minneapolis, Cedar Towing is also currently the one under investigation. People alleged that Cedar Towing has been overcharging people for storage of their vehicles. According to the city’s laws, storage charges cannot be added onto a person’s towing fees until the day after their car gets towed. However, a city licensing official discovered that Cedar Towing was charging vehicle owners a storage fee of $27 as soon as their cars were towed. Those illegal charges could total up to around $100,000 extra a year for Cedar Towing based on how large their business has grown, and how often they tow cars. In fact, Cedar Towing tows anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 cars a year in the city. Charging a storage fee that day a car is towed would mean that Cedar Towing was in violation of the city ordinance.