Tow Truck Drivers – The Surprising Cost of Towing and Storage
Getting into a car accident is stressful enough, but dealing with the aftermath can be equally daunting, particularly when you have to consider towing and storage costs for your vehicle. In New York City, like anywhere else, these costs can vary. However, there are local rules and regulations that govern what a tow truck operator can properly charge. Below, we delve into the nitty-gritty of car towing and storage costs after an accident in the Big Apple.
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Regulations
In New York City, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) governs the towing industry. According to DCA, a licensed tow truck operator is allowed to charge:
- $125.00 for a regular tow;
- $20.00 per day for storage after the first three days;
- Additional fees for special services, such as use of a dolly.
These are maximum rates, and it is illegal for towing companies to charge more. Always ask for a written statement detailing the services rendered and their corresponding costs. The DCA also mandates that the towing company must accept at least two major credit cards for payment. In other words, you are not required to pay cash, even if the tow truck operator insists.
5 Points of Advice to Avoid Being Ripped Off
- Confirm Licensing. Before you agree to any service ask to see the operator’s DCA license. All legitimate tow truck operators in New York City are required to be licensed. You can check an operator’s license online at the DCA website;
- Ask for a Price Breakdown: Request a written statement that outlines the charges you will be expected to pay. Make sure the costs align with DCA regulations;
- Inquire About Storage Fees: If your car is going to be stored, find out where and how much it will cost. Again, verify these rates with DCA guidelines.
- Payment Methods: Ensure the towing company accepts credit cards. A cash-only operation could be a red flag for a business looking to evade traceable transactions;
- Get Receipts for All Transactions: After payment, make sure to get a receipt detailing all the services provided, costs, and the tow truck operator’s DCA license number.
The longer your car stays in a tow yard, the more it will cost you. After a car accident, you might expect the insurance company to quickly cover the cost of towing and storage, but this isn’t always the case. Generally, insurers will conduct an investigation into the details of an accident before issuing payment. As a result, your car may remain in a tow yard for a lot longer than you may have hoped.
How to File a Complaint
If you have a complaint about a specific tow truck operator, you can file it with the Department of Consumer Affairs. DCA will investigate, and penalties for violations can be severe. Complaints can be filed online, via mail, or over the phone. Be sure to keep all documents and receipts as you may need to provide them as evidence.
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If you have any questions about the storage and towing fees from your car accident, you can contact our experienced accident attorneys by email or by calling (800) 762-9300. You can also simply fill out one of our car accident case intake forms, and one of our attorneys will get right back to you.
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