An industry insider is calling for stricter tow truck regulations in Ontario after seeing a pattern of rising bills, including one invoice for $6,000.
Shawn Jamieson, a collision repair expert in Ottawa, says he is tired of the rising cost of tow truck bills and frequently sees invoices for more than $1,000.
“Right now, I would like to see something that is standardized across the board: a specific sort of price they need to adhere to so there is no price gouging,” Jamieson told CTV Ottawa.
According to the Provincial Towing Association, the cost for a tow is up to the individual company and could range from a few hundred dollars to $1,000, depending on the circumstances.
However, Joey Gagne, president of the Provincial Towing Association, says the $6,000 invoice seems “sketchy.”
“It included storage and other fees but didn’t explain what they were for,” said Gagne. “It wasn’t clear and it’s a bill I wouldn’t pay.”
Gagne also doesn’t believe that there needs to be price regulation for tow truck operators, but that people need to be more aware of new rules put in place to protect the consumer.
As of January, tow truck operators are now required to obtain the driver’s permission and disclose their rates before hooking up the car and taking it to a collision centre or tow truck yard.
“If I do a service, I have to provide you with an invoice,” said Gagne. “I have to tell you what I’m going to charge you and I have to get you to sign off on those charges.”
Drivers are not required to take the first tow truck that shows up to a collision, and Gagne suggests that they should call their insurance company, if possible, to see if they can find a reputable source for a tow.
According to Jamieson, there are some honest tow truck operators in Ottawa, but are being given a bad name by those who take advantage of drivers.
“There are good people who do this kind of stuff for a living,” said Jamieson. “We’d just like to see more.”