Beware of being caught in the crossfire of fraudulent towing firms and tow trucks.
It’s difficult to not feel stressed when you’re having a party You’re shocked, you’re in a rush, traffic is rushing ahead of you, and all you’re thinking about is taking your vehicle off the road and out of the way. When suddenly, a tow truck driver shows up to help move your vehicle and you’re so content you’d kiss them.
So, do you simply take the first truck that arrives on the scene, and hope that they’ll be there to take care of you? We’ll guide you through how to proceed in case of an emergency, what to be on the lookout for and what the regulations apply to 墨尔本拖车 within your area.
I require a tow truck How do I get one?
Contact your insurance company before you make a decision, contact your insurance company. They might be able arrange a tow and explain what you should be expecting.
Review your cover For towing cover is different from insurer to insurer, and there’s a chance that you won’t be insured for towing. It’s recommended to read your product disclosure statement to verify the limits of your policy.
Do not sign on the dotted line. Never complete a blank or illegible Towing Authority Form. It should contain the complete address of the place where your vehicle will be taken to as well as the cost of towing.
Be sure to read the fine print. Always be sure to read the terms and condition on the towing authority form. If you think it’s suspicious do not sign it as you may be signing with more obligations than you thought you would pay for.
You are in charge to choose where your vehicle is towed.
Be patient if you’re in a hurry to weigh your options, consider having the vehicle taken to your residence. So you don’t get charged storage charges and will be able to decide when your mind is clearer, although you could end up having the expense of two tows.
“While it’s secure to use the majority of tow truck services but if you’ve been in an accident and your car isn’t able to drive, we suggest that you contact your insurance company promptly and let them arrange the towing,” an RACQ spokesperson declares. “Insurers may have limitations on the amount they’ll cover towing costs after an accident, and you do not wish to be without a reimbursement.”
It’s also illegal for anyone to try to force you to purchase products or services Don’t allow anyone to force you to accept an tow if you’re confident about it.
Always make sure you read the fine print
In the case of accident-related towing documents Any improbable deviations from the norm will be hidden in fine print. So make sure that you make the effort to take the time to read it through. (Hard to do while still in shock from the crash however, 5 minutes of study can save you from pain for months in the end.)
A lot of states have forms that are regulated provided from the government of that state. Therefore, should you look for the brochure or contract instead of a standard one, be cautious.
“Don’t take any forms at the scene of an accident, unless it’s the towing authorization forms that are regulated. This form must only include pertinent information about the vehicle as well as contact information and you must get an original copy,” says Campbell Fuller The insurance council of australia’s general director of media and communications.
Carnapping and ways to avoid it
Certain towing companies make use of your mental state after an accident to get you to sign untrustworthy paperwork even though you’re exhausted and unable to read for any finer print. This is referred to in the field as “carnapping”.
In addition to giving towing companies the right to tow your vehicle Some of these agreements also include a number of unpleasing terms, such as forcing you to use an individual repairer that will be able to charge you (or your insurance company) excessive costs to repair or store your vehicle.
“If you are liable for fees that go beyond the amount your insurance covers under the policy you have you could end up having to pay the cost So, always check with your insurance company prior to signing any contract,” an RACQ spokesperson advises.
A particularly shady scam that takes carnaps to a whole new level involves unaware drivers signing papers that allow dodgy lawyers to take action on their on their behalf.
In 2017 Victorian attorney Nicholas Logan was found guilty of misconduct in connection with his participation in a scam where drivers who were not at fault were tricked into signing a contract that granted him the right to sue an at-fault driver to recover inflated repair costs.
The victims are often unaware of the scam until they were brought before the courtroom. One instance saw Logan trying to charge the victim’s insurance company over $10,000 in exchange for the repairs.
Logan admitted guilt to seven misconduct charges and was barred from legal practices for a period of two years.
“Signed my whole life to go”
A miserable day became more difficult the day of CHOICE member Kieren after he suffered an accident in 2015. “Immediately following a collision head-on I swore my life to a dirty towing business which charged me a hefty storage fee,” he says.
Kieren claims that the driver of the truck wrote the incorrect date on the towing authority form and the driver only had 48 hours of free storage rather than the 72-hour period he’s entitled in Queensland. Kieren was then billed storage charges of $66 per day. (Storage costs for towing after an accident aren’t controlled in Queensland however, storage charges for vehicles removed from car parks that are private are only $25 per day.)
When he tried to get his car removed from the holding yard of the company He was told that they could only utilize the personnel of the company that tows it to lift it. Consequently, the wrecker hired by him to haul the vehicle away was not allowed access to the vehicle. The result was that he had to pay a higher amount to the company in order to have his car towed to wrecker.
An Transport and Main Roads spokesperson claims that there’s not been any regulatory requirements for the same operator of a tow truck to be used in a subsequent towing from the holding yard, however, there aren’t any regulations against it.
Although the company did not technically breach legality, they came up with clever ways to get the most money from a person who was not aware regardless of the restrictions of a legally regulated business. This is the reason why it’s important the price to twice (and triple) examine everything you read before you sign any documents.
What’s the issue with my particular state?
The industry of towing accidents is controlled at a local level, and the rules differ across Australia. In some areas, fees are limited and rules are enforced, whereas in other areas there is no regulation, and shady companies continue to defraud consumers.
We’ve looked at the laws and laws (or the absence thereof) in Australia.
Do not make deals that are dirty
The industry of towing has a dark past Think standover strategies and links to organized crime, dirty backroom deals.
A majority of states have tightened the rules up, however Western Australia really is the wild west of towing accidents and has no regulations on charges and accusations of charging excessively.
“Spotter’s fees” are not legal in all states. Australian states, however in WA businesses, they advertise cash-backs up to $200 when you inform them of the crash.
While things are being more tightly controlled and regulated, the towing industry has its own problems. An NSW law enforcement officer from NSW was fired in 2017 for supplying the towing company with accident tips in exchange for cash and a review in 2014 of the NSW sector of repair found that drivers of tow trucks engage in illicit deals with smash repairers to “recover” jobs from non-at-fault drivers.
We spoke to an Sydney company owner that was offered a “spotter’s fee from a towing firm in the year 2017. His company was located near an area of high traffic that was home to many car collisions.
“One day, a tow-truck driver came in and told him, ‘If I notice a collision and you see a crash, call me and I’ll pay you 50 bucks and a half,'” Mike (not his real name) declares.
Mike claims he contacted the driver about seven times. Despite the towing firm taking over his business every time He claims he only got the sum of $50. The most significant incident was a collision between two vehicles that the driver called him but did not get paid for despite having seen the towing service load the two cars. “I haven’t spoken to them since then,” Mike says.
Inducements such as spotter’s fees are prohibited under NSW in accordance with the Tow Truck Industry Act 1998.
Beware of being caught in the crossfire of fraudulent towing firms and tow trucks.