When your vehicle is involved in an accident or breaks down, sometimes you have no option but to call a towing company to get your vehicle back on the road. While most of the folks in the towing service industry are reliable and honest, there are some rotten eggs in the industry similar to any other business. These companies try to earn a quick buck by scamming their customers when they get a chance to do so. That’s why you need to be extra cautious as to which company you call when you are in need of towing your vehicle.
There are several methods used by these dishonest service providers to take advantage of the innocent customer and today we will dive into some of the more insidious ones and give you some insight on how to avoid them.
Scanning and Steering
Scanning is a very common method that is used by dishonest towing services to scam their clients. This method is also known as steering. In this method, a towing company would monitor police scanners and show up at the accident site unannounced. The customer might be surprised to find the towing company at the site of the accident without even being contacted. You should be wary of such towing services. These companies will try to convince the customer to have their vehicle taken to a body shop even if it is not necessary to do so. Scanning or steering is considered an illegal activity in most states in the United States.
Inflated fees is another scan employed by these dishonest towing companies. Most of these services inflate their fees beyond the auto policy limits of the customer. This may force the victim to pay out of his or her pocket. In some cases, dishonest towing services would add unnecessary fees such as labor, gate, and release fees to jack up their prices. That is why it is important to call a few towing services to compare their rates before choosing the best company for the job. It is also important to be suspicious of towing services that ask for information about policy limits of the victim.
Patrol towing is another scam employed by most of the dishonest towing companies on the market. A dishonest company will employ one or more spotters to look for parking violations in the city. The spotter will notify the towing company of such violations and the company would immediately tow the vehicle to an impound lot. That way the dishonest towing company and the impound company both may try to charge a higher fee from the victim.
Labor fees or gate fees is another towing scam. These charges are implemented by a dishonest towing company to release the vehicle to the owner. In fact, release fee is also another possible scam in this regard. All these charges are illegal in most states in the country. In some extreme cases, certain body shops pay a commission to dishonest towing drivers to bring business to them. These body shops would hold the vehicles for extended periods to inflate the prices. Some of them would even purposely damage the vehicles to increase the repair costs.
What You Can Do
Avoiding these scam during a time of crisis can be difficult. That’s why it pays to be extra cautious of hiring the wrong towing company in order to avoid these scams and never, ever trust a towing company that arrives at the scene unannounced. Research the towing services ahead of time and even have a couple of trusted towing services (Like Portland’s own 24-7 Towing Company) on speed dial in case of an roadside emergency.
Additionally, be wary of towing companies that ask for your personal information or auto policy limits and make sure you ask for a printed price list of storage and transportation fees of the company before you commit to the service.
Why Choose 24-7 Towing Service Portland Or?
With over 50 combined years of towing service experience, the 24-7 Towing Team is comprised of dedicated, trained towing professionals whose prime focus is to proudly serve the Vancouver and Portland metro area tow truck requests.
We’re fully licensed, bonded and insured in both Oregon and Washington and – as the name implies – available on a 24/7 basis with our versatile selection of tow trucks and service equipment to address your unique towing service needs.
Give us a call today at (503) 468-5090 and a knowledgeable representative on our 24-7 Towing Team will be happy to help.