A truly welcome sight to any stranded driver is the arrival of the tow truck. A friendly operator soon has you hooked up and on your way to a local garage that promises to have you back on the road in no time. Awash in gratitude and relief over your rescue, you don't discover until you are presented the bill that the charge for towing seems extremely high and some of the repairs and services listed seem odd.
You have just joined the ranks of those victimized by towing fraud. High charges, excessive repair costs — or unnecessary repairs added to pad the bill — are an unfortunate experience for many who find themselves stranded and then accept the services of the first tow truck to make an appearance. While it may be painful to pass up a possible knight in shining armor, experts recommend several precautions that can minimize the chance of being a tow-fraud victim:
- When stranded, call a trusted person for a tow truck or repair shop referral. If police are on the scene, ask them for advice.
- Never accept an unknown tow truck driver's assurance that your insurance company or the police sent the truck. Contact your agent, your insurance company, or the local police for verification.
- Never give a tow truck operator your insurance information unless you called the company or have verified that the truck was sent by the proper party.
- Before the driver tows your car, obtain written documentation of where your car will be towed and an itemized list of all towing, storage, and miscellaneous fees. Cross-check the name on the invoice against the name on the truck to be sure they match.
- Never automatically accept a repair shop just because it is recommended by the tow truck driver. Choosing where your car will be towed is your right.
©2013 Selective Ins. Group, Inc. (Branchville, NJ). "Selective" insurers include Selective Ins. Co. of America, Selective Ins. Co. of New England, Selective Ins. Co. of N.Y., Selective Ins. Co. of South Carolina, Selective Ins. Co. of the Southeast, Selective Way Ins. Co., Selective Cas. Ins. Co, Selective Fire and Cas. Ins. Co and Selective Auto Ins. Co. of N.J. Insurers and products available vary by jurisdiction.