Striking back at tow operator predators

For several years, the tow truck industry has capitalized on lax laws which have enabled them to engage in predator like towing tactics that create serious financial headaches for automobile owners.  Recently, Broward and Palm Beach Counties have created tow laws to minimize these headaches and provide the victims of these schemes due process.


The pertinent features of the law are as follows:

You have the right to pay by means other then cash.  In fact, cash-only transactions are illegal.


The tow truck company can’t pay the property owner or HOA for the privilege of towing.


The towing of your vehicle must be reported to the police within 30 minutes of the towing.


The car must be towed directly to the storage area, and can’t be held in a temporary holding area.


The tow company must have access to be reached 24/7 by phone and the storage areas must be open and staffed every week day from 8 am to 6 p.m.; except holidays.  After hours, you have the right to retrieve your vehicle and have a staff member present at the yard within an hour of you calling.


Tow warning signs must be posted at sites where vehicles are being towed in specific conspicuous locations on the premises and include the name and number of the tow company.


Tow operators are to refrain from using profane or abusive language, physical force or violence.


You have the right to inspect your car before accepting it, and you cannot be required to sign a legal release or waiver to retrieve it.


The tow yard must be within a 10 mile radius of where your car was towed.


Each county ordinance also has specific regulations on the amount you can be charged and for what services the tow company is allowed to charge you for.


All violation complaints are to be made to the Consumer Affairs Division of Broward or Palm Beach Counties; or you can contact The Dickstein Law Firm at 888-Fla-Hurt (352-4878) or check out our website at www.flahurt.com.

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