Some Towing Companies Extorting Sandy Victims

The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy did not only left thousands of flooded cars but as well as damaged and abandoned vehicles. This situation also made some towing companies and impound lots operators overcharging customers that needed such services.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) said that they have already received reports that some of the towing companies are price gouging, adding injuries to the loss already incurred by vehicle owners and the insurance industry.

NICB said that many of its member companies have already received bills with “classic signs of price exploitation.” The tow overcharge had reached to more than a thousand dollars per tow and storage. One towing company had even charged $2,150 that includes a “recovery” fee of $1,250.

Worst, some towing companies are hooking vehicles even with its owner’s consent, telling them that all vehicles are being cleared off the street though without authorization from the local authorities. Some companies were also reported going door-to-door telling vehicle owners that that they will be the one to contact their auto insurers which will handle the expenses.

The towing firms are taking advantage of the situation as law enforcement agencies are having their hands full with a much greater concern on Sandy’s aftermath, wherein most have not yet started processing vehicles that have been flooded, or damaged after the storm.

NICB CEO Joe Wehrle is advising vehicle owners that before allowing towing firms to tow their cars, they should first contact their insurers to aid them in identifying reliable towing and storage companies so as to avoid exorbitant fees. Anyone who believes that they are being gouged by towing companies can report to their local authorities or call the NICB hotline, 1-800-TEL-NICB.

Vehicle owners who do not have a towing coverage in their auto insurance policies can be at risk of seeing their vehicles scrapped and still be on the hook for overcharged fees.