I-Team: Drivers being hit with $200 towing bills

Troubleshooter Diane Wilson determines if certain cases are predatory towing or even price gouging.
February 14, 2014 3:43:21 PM PST
Forty-eight hours after the storm, tow trucks are still removing cars.

Over the last two days, hundreds of vehicles have been towed without the owner's permission.

Joyce Stevenson had to pay $200 to get her car out from the tow lot.

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

Juan Drake had the same big bill.

"It seems unreasonable. I mean it's ok to pay some kind of fee but $200 seems a little high just to get your car out of here," Drake said.

The driver of an 18-wheeler that was towed sent me his bill, which was $750. He says he left his big rig on the shoulder of Interstate 40 when his tractor-trailer was towed Thursday morning.

However, the tow company says a state trooper called in the tow as it was in the way of plows, besides paying the big bill.

Yet, tow companies say they are not preying on drivers, they claim they are only towing vehicles that are called in by authorities.

"It's $150 for the tow, that's $125 for tow and $25 for the dolly because it's a Mercedes...and its $25 a day for storage. It's been here for 2 days so that's $50," said Mark McNains, with Cary Towing.

Each city or town has a different set fee tow companies can charge, but there still could be additional fees depending on the type of vehicle and other circumstances.

For those in the city of Raleigh, some drivers got lucky. Tow companies were ordered not to take the cars back to their lots, instead taking them to a nearby parking lot where the cars would be out of the way with no fee to drivers.

Still, for those outside the city of Raleigh, they were not so lucky and now are questioning the big bills they had to pay.

The state attorney general's office is hearing from consumers. They put tow companies on notice, as so far more than a dozen complaints about being charged too much for towing have come into their office. Some drivers are saying they have been charged $400, while the attorney general's office says it should be around $100 to $150.

If you believe you have been overcharged for towing or storage fees, file a complaint. All that information is on my »Facebook page« or »Twitter«.

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