Last Updated on February 23, 2023 by Bernard Juchli
You can negotiate or dispute towing charges when the tow yard tows your car. And you should know how to negotiate towing fees with the company.
You can negotiate a towing with a company according to the laws of your state. Every state has stringent rules governing vehicle towing and tow yards equally answer to the law. If a towing company violates your right, you can request for a tow hearing at the peace court, dispute towing charges, or even have the tow company pay for damages.
Advisably, avoid triggering the towing company with bad expressions while disputing. Moreover, even if you walk away from your car, the towing yard will auction to cover costs like accrued parking tickets, etc. If the auction value does not cover for the cost, you legally owe the tow yard. And the company will sue you for failure to pay up.
In this article, you will learn how to negotiate towing fees and successfully dispute towing charges.
How to Negotiate Towing Fees
Of course, there is no guarantee that you will fight a towing charge and win. Nonetheless, you can perfect how to negotiate towing fees or dispute the charges with the following strategies:
Pay the Fine and Seek Reduction/Refund
Regarding negotiating towing fees with the company, you can simply seek towing fee reduction or a refund. First, pay the fine and then request a refund or reduction at the peace court.
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Because you may not win the towing charge dispute, paying the fine early before seeking a reduction or refund is advisable. The reason is that the fee increases as days go by.
You can further negotiate storage charges with the tow yard. However, you will legally owe the towing company when the dispute ends inconclusively. And if you can’t pay, the towing company can sue you for repayment. Do note that the laws differ by state/jurisdiction and you would want to seek legal advice from an attorney nearby.
Use the Towing Sign
Concerning how to negotiate towing with company, the tow sign plays a huge role that offers you an advantage. The idea is simple; if you can identify the fault(s) surrounding the towing sign where you parked the car, you can dispute the towing charges.
Regarding how to dispute towing charges, first, consider the height of the towing sign above ground level. Secondly, there must be a clear warning sign indicating ‘towing’. Now, refer to the laws of your state to confirm whether this rule applies, which, of course, would.
If you find faults with the towing sign, take photos immediately to serve as evidence. Now, go to the peace court and ask for a refund of the towing fee, often between $300 and $400. If the court rules in your favor, the tow yard can refund as much as $1,000 and thrice the towing charges. However, if the court rules in support of the towing company, you will pay the fines and possibly the court fees of the company.
Dispute the Drop Fee Instantly
You can fight a towing charge or get a towed car back without charges or paying a drop fee. Regarding how to get a towed car back without paying, you ought to be present before the tow yard hauls off your vehicle.
In Texas, for instance, if the tow truck is still at the private property, you can ask them to drop your car. You would want to turn on your camera to record the situation because the towing company might act up.
For the towing company to drop your car, if it has been hooked, you will pay the Drop Fee. Typically, the Drop Fee ranges between $127 and $140; it can be higher for heavier vehicles such as trucks.
If the towing company is yet to hook your car, they will release your car and you will not pay the Drop Fee. And if the company acts up, you can sue them for flouting the towing rule.
Buy Back as Auction
Of course, you can buy back your towed car, but this method of regaining a towed car is quite demanding. Before you consider this option, let it be that your car is almost rickety. Then contact the tow yard to negotiate favorable terms.
If the negotiation is unsuccessful, you have to pay the fine. However, if you feel you can’t cover for the parking tickets, allow the towing company to auction the vehicle against the dismissal of accrued tickets.
Eventually, your vehicle will top the auction list, and you can buy it back for as low as $300. And it comes after the total dismissal of accrued parking tickets and other tickets. Moreover, regarding how to get a towed car back without paying, you may not have to title the car again.
Make sure to sort out every term completely with the towing company and follow up on the auction sales.
Appeal the Original Ticket
Regarding how to negotiate towing fees and win, consider appealing or challenging the issuer of the original ticket. If the appeal turns out successful, the issuer of the ticket might reappraise their action. In most cases, however, the issuer barely welcomes an appeal.
Simply pay the fine, get your car, and avoid becoming a tow victim another day. If you are not financially buoyant, discover how to make money with your car after paying the towing company.
The towing company will sue you for defaulting if you do not pay. And if circumstances become unfavourable, they might appeal to the High Court for a warrant to seize your assets and cover the debt. Also, when your asset value can’t cover for your debt, the claimant might put you into administration, which could result in bankruptcy.
How to Beat a Tow Charge
There are several ways to beat a tow regarding how to fight a towing charge. Of course, you would want to be careful not to go overboard or cause a stir. In most states, the laws below apply. However, you would want to confirm whether it applies in your state before you dispute the towing fee.
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Below are the various defaults to capitalize on to beat a tow and get your car without paying.
Default Towing Sign
You can appeal and challenge a tow if they post an illegal sign. A towing sign is unlawful if it is misleading and not specific; it must display the warning sign. Simply take photos of the towing sign and file a complaint at your state’s nearest licensing and regulation department.
If a towing company charges more than is allowed, you can appeal and have the towing fees refunded regardless of any reason. Do not relent, even if your car is a free car from a charity. The towing company will further be penalized if they do not present a fee schedule. Thus, you will get a towed car back without paying.
Failure to Present Tow Ticket
Regarding how to negotiate towing fees, you can dispute a tow when they fail to give you a tow ticket. Similarly, if they provide you with tow tickets without the company name and certificate number, you can dispute the tow and get your car without paying.
Company has No License and Insurance.
A towing company operating without license and insurance coverage is illegal, and they have no right to tow your vehicle. You can request for the towing operator license to be sure your car is not towed by crooks who eventually make a stolen car legal. Be careful not to be presented with a fake insurance card.
Failure to Present a Written Notice of Your Rights
When a towing company refuses or fails to provide you a written notice of your rights, you can fight the tow charges.
Failure to Provide Property owner’s Contact Details
If your car is towed on a property, you can request the property owner’s contact details. And it is the responsibility of the towing company to provide you the phone number and the address of the property owner. Failure to do so, you can comfortably fight and win the tow charges.
How to Dispute Towing Charges Successfully
Sometimes, negotiating towing fees may not protect you from tow charges. So, you can instead fight a towing charge at the scene before the company tows your car.
Present Your ID to the Tow Company
Regarding how to dispute or fight a towing charge, several states have stringent policies that favor car owners. In Arizona, for instance, a towing company is expected to release your vehicle at the spot when you present a valid ID. It can be your drivers license, car registration card, etc. Make sure not to give a fake drivers license, fake title, or a fake vehicle registration card.
Upon identification, the towing company should release your vehicle. Of course, they will hesitate while hoping for you to relent. Do not relent and do not allow them to tow your car; it ruins your chance of fighting the tow without paying.
Call the Police
You can’t comfortably win the fight alone; the towing company will prove to be tough as well. Call the police and request that they come over and enforce the law. Upon the arrival of the police, inform them that you will be okay if the towing company sends you a bill. Now, give your ID and ask the towing company to release your vehicle immediately.
Though the towing company will hesitate, they will eventually release the vehicle with the help of the police. But make sure the police do not leave the scene while the towing company is yet to unhook your car.
First off, thank the police for warm assistance and drive off. The chance that you will see a bill from the towing yard is almost zero. Besides, the towing company is aware of the little to no chance that you will pay the bill since you can contest the bill.
If the towing company succeeds in towing your car in a state like Arizona, you can invoke the Lien Law. Arizona’s Lien Law requires a towing company to release a car towed on private property against the owner’s request. The company can only hold your car if a law enforcement agency authorizes them. However, you are expected to pay later.
How to Get Towing Fees Reduced or Refunded
In this section, you will learn how to get towing fees refunded or waived. However, you must meet specific criteria to be eligible.
Note: Confirm whether these requirements apply in your state/jurisdiction.
In a city such as San Francisco, below are the various scopes classes of individuals that enjoy reductions in towing fees.
If you are from a low-income family, you will get an administrative fee waiver. You will also enjoy a reduction of the tow fee up to 15 days storage waiver and dolly waiver.
The average fee for low-income drivers is $100, which is nearly thrice reduction of the regular cost.
If you are homeless and have visited a Coordinated Entry Point in the past six months, you are eligible to receive and administrative fee waiver.
People experiencing homelessness pay nothing ($0), the tow fee waiver reduction runs up to 15 days storage waiver and dolly waiver.
If your can is being towed for the first time, you will enjoy a reduction of the administrative fee. Your tow charge should now fall between $268 and $300.
Note: You must prove your eligibility to enjoy the tow fees waiver or reduction.
Your Rights When Your Car is Towed
Traditionally, a towing company is supposed to issue you a written notice of your rights. But it is less likely that the company will do so. Moreover, it is a violation, and you should fight the tow charges.
For the sake of reference, below are your rights when your car is towed:
- If the towing company does not hook your car entirely for towing, you can ask them to release your car without paying. You do not also have to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle.
- If the towing company has completely hooked your car for towing but is still at the parking lot, you can ask for your car. However, you will pay a Drop Fee and you do not have to prove ownership.
- If you were absent at the time the company towed your vehicle, you can call the phone number on the warning sign. You can then locate and recover your car from the vehicle storage facility. To get the car, you must identify as the owner or authorized user, and pay the charges.
- You can access your car for ownership documents, personal items, etc. at the vehicle storage facility (VSF) at no cost.
- If the towing company violates your right or damages your car, you may request a tow hearing at the Peace Court within 14 days.
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Can You Fight a Tow Charge?
Of course, you can fight a tow charge. If a towing company illegally tows your vehicle, you can fight the cost and get your car without paying. And if a towing company violates your right, you may sue them. If the court resolves in your favor, they can be forced to pay you up to $1,000 and thrice the towing fees.
How Much Does a Towing Company Charge?
A towing company can charge anything between $50 and $125 depending on the miles covered. Read more about the charge here.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Towing Company?
If you don’t pay a towing company, they will sue you for defaulting, and you may end up paying for their court fees and still settle the fines.
Can a Towing Company Charge Whatever They Want?
The answer is, “No.” Most states now have stringent laws that protect car owners from the excesses of towing companies. And if a towing company charges more than they are allowed, you may fight the tow fees and get your car without paying. Furthermore, the court may place a fine on the towing company for violating the law.
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This article explored the various ways to negotiate, dispute, fight, and win a tow charge. If the towing company has towed your car, check whether the warning sign meets the criteria set by your state. If not, you may dispute the towing company and file a tow hearing.
When you phone the towing company, they are supposed to respond and provide you with details regarding your vehicle’s location. You must hasten up to figure out whether your car is stolen, which may result in immediate VIN switching.
Advisably, before you park your car, make sure to look out for warning/towing signs. If possible, ask whether it is okay to park there.