Driver complains of towing fees after abandoning car on highway

A Durham woman who abandoned her car says a towing company is overcharging for removing her vehicle.
February 14, 2014 1:46:49 AM PST
A Durham woman who abandoned her car during the winter storm Wednesday says a towing company is ripping her off and overcharging for removing her vehicle. She says the company wants $200.

Joyce Stevenson wants drivers of other abandoned cars to learn from her recent experience -- remove your car yourself before law enforcement makes the call for you.

Highways littered with abandoned cars were a sign drivers were desperate. So imagine their relief when they heard Gov. Pat McCrory say," vehicles will be left in place unless they're blocking the road. If so, they will be towed."

"This just seems like highway robbery," Stevenson said.

What Stevenson means is that state leaders neglected to say how much that tow would cost.

"I owed them $206 and some change," Stevenson said.

Since her car was blocking the roadway, law enforcement requested the tow. However, what Stevenson did not know is most law enforcement agencies already have a prearranged rate agreement with local tow companies, some even more expensive than she will have to pay.

"I hate to say it, but it's like a scam to get money from innocent people stranded beside the road," she said.

ABC11 spoke to Stevenson's tow company, and they deny it is a scam. Given where her car was located and the inclement weather, they say she could have been charged the same fee had she called herself.

Still, Stevenson feels sidelined once again.

"I think that's unfair because I thought we here, in North Carolina, were in a state of emergency thing...A state of emergency means no one should be trying to charge anybody...we all should be trying to pull together to help one another as taxpayers anyway," she said.

Stevenson says she thinks the tow should be free with local or state government picking up the tab. She says her only recourse now is to pay the fee and hope her insurance company reimburses her.

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