If you’ve ever returned to your vehicle only to be greeted by an empty parking space, you are not alone. In fact, millions of drivers each year have their cars towed for one reason or another.
The towing industry gets a bad rap. After all, no one wants to walk out to an empty space where their car was once parked. Towing services aren’t always negative though.
Consider your car won’t start and needs to be taken to the shop. You call for a tow.
In the instance of an automotive accident, a wrecker is needed to move the car and clear the scene.
According to the latest Census, 92% of American households own an automotive vehicle.
The majority of American adults, 90% to be exact, are licensed drivers. With nearly 3 million registered motor vehicles in the United States, it’s not surprising that towing services in 2023 is a $10 billion industry. Regardless of the reason for the tow, the cost of service falls on someone.
In most cases, it’s the towed vehicle's owner who pays. In other cases, it is the insurance company or a lienholder.
According to JD Power, the national average cost for a tow truck is approximately $109. However, the cost can vary greatly depending on regional location, market size, and the miles towed.
Consensual tows are when the owner is aware of or initiates the service. This is the case when a vehicle won’t crank or is in an accident and needs to be taken to the repair shop.
Nonconsensual tows are when the owner is unaware the vehicle is being towed. This case often occurs when a vehicle is parked on private property or left unattended for an expired amount of time.
Towing cars involves more than simply removing and storing the vehicle. Tow services is dangerous work. Heavy duty equipment is necessary and traffic safety is a huge component of the job. Once the car has been secured, there is even more work required for administrative regulations.
Federal laws give jurisdiction to state and local authorities when it comes to rates of nonconsensual towing. The issue that many people have is not that laws vary from state to state, but that in most states the laws and requirements related to towing are not specified.
Many states do not require a maximum towing or storage rate. In fact, few states require a company to include towing rates as posted material.
In other states, if the vehicle owner arrives as the car is being loaded, the law does not specify that the operator must unload the car. What about if the vehicle is damaged during transit or storage? Most states do not specify who is responsible for the damage.
Click here to view the laws and requirements in your state.
One thing that is specified in nearly all states, is that tow companies are required by law to send letters of notice once a car has been collected.
Why Certified Mail Matters
The notice must be served via Certified Mail. As it provides the sender with proof of mailing, letter tracking, Electronic Delivery Confirmations, and Return Receipt Signatures.
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