Some may wonder how towing companies charge their customers. What are the specifics when charging customers? What are the inclusive rates in the total charge?
For everyone’s knowledge, rates are actually set between an agreement between the federal government and the towing company. This applies for rates for public tows and storage. To validate the approved rates, anyone may contact the law enforcement agency that initiated the tow. Rates must be posted at the storage facility.
For private property tows and storage, rates cannot exceed the approved rates for the law enforcement agency that covers the property from which the vehicle was extracted or the towing company’s approved CHP rate.
Rates for owner’s request tows and storage are primarily established by agreements between the requestor and the towing company. Although rates may be dictated by agreements established between the requestor’s motor club and motor club service provider, this is the primary rule in private tows and storage.
Where can you complain about a towing company?
For public tows, anyone may contact the law enforcement agency initiating the tow.
Your rights if your vehicle is towed:
Prior to paying any towing and storage-related fees, it is important for you to know what your rights are and these are the primary rights as promulgated by the law:
- Receive an itemized invoice of actual charges.
- Receive your personal property, at no charge, during normal business hours.
- Retrieve your vehicle during the first 72 hours of storage and not pay a lien fee.
- Request a copy of the Towing Fees and Access Notice.
- Pay by cash or valid bank credit card.
- Inspect your vehicle or have your insurance carrier inspect your vehicle at the storage facility, at no charge, during normal business hours
You have the right to have the vehicle released to you upon:
- Payment of all towing and storage-related fees
- Presentation of a valid photo Identification
- Presentation of reliable documentation showing that you are the owner of the vehicle or that the owner has authorized you to take possession of the vehicle
- If applicable, presentation of any required police or law enforcement documents.
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What payment for the towing and storage-related fees are not made or the vehicle was abandoned at the towing company?
Pursuant to Section 3068.1 to 3074, inclusive, of the Civil Code, “a towing company may sell your vehicle and any moneys received will be applied to towing and storage-related fees that have accumulated against your vehicle. You are responsible for paying the towing company any outstanding balance due on any of these fees once the sale is complete”.
Who is liable if my vehicle was damaged during towing or storage?
The owner of a vehicle may recover for any damage to the vehicle resulting from any intentional or negligent act of a person causing the removal of, or removing, the vehicle.
What happens if a towing company violates the law?
If the company does not satisfactorily meet certain requirements, anyone may bring a lawsuit in small claims court. The tower may be civilly liable for damages up to two times the amount charged, not to exceed $500, and possibly more for certain violations.