In all businesses, there are always people who only look to take advantage of their customers.
When it comes to towing companies, hundreds of businesses like these are in the market.
Given the sometimes delicate nature of the service they provide, transacting with a fraudulent towing service may lead to significant losses. Follow think to find out the advantages of having a personal towing service.
You don’t want to be in an emergency, only to have a fraudulent towing company show up to “rescue” you. In the same vein, you do not want to leave your pricey vehicle with scammers and unscrupulous towing companies.
Ways a Towing Service Rips Off Customers
There are some well-documented ways in which fraudulent towing companies attempt to swindle people of their cash, and you would be wise to be on the lookout for these warning signals.
- There have been instances of towing companies hauling their customer’s vehicles and parking them in a private parking lot. When the owner of the vehicle comes to pick it up, they are asked to pay a certain amount for the parking fees on their cars. These dishonest towing companies tell the owners that since their vehicles have spent a number of days at the parking lot in question, they have to pay on a per-day basis for their vehicle’s parking.
- There have also been reports of towing companies that are in cahoots with illegal body shops. What they do is: the towing company transports the damaged car to the illegitimate auto repair shop rather than to licensed repair shops that have reasonable price lists. the shop charges the owner over the top for sometimes minor repairs. Since the owner won’t see the charge till after repairs has been done, they have no option but to pay up. The illegal body shop and the fraudulent towing service then share the proceeds.
- Another rip-off scheme used by towing services involves slick talking from the attendants. This is how it works: say your vehicle has been in an accident, and you pick out the contact information of a nearby towing service from say an online telephone directory. The attendants come to you with a tow truck and they tell you that apart from towing, their company also has an auto repair shop. To convince you, they provide fake documents that have fake company information and so on. if you make the mistake of handing you vehicle over to them you may never see it again.
How to Identify Unscrupulous Towing Companies
Apart from the instances above, there are lots of other ways that fraudulent towing companies seek to pull a fast one over the people that make the mistake of patronising them. Since you now recognise some of their modes of operation as stated above, you are now better equipped to recognise a scam when you see one.
If you are in a lurch and you call a towing service, look through their papers: license or permits, insurance etc. If they are reluctant to show you/hand these papers over, there is a good chance that they are scammers. Since you are not so sure yet, the next thing they do will likely confirm their dishonest intentions. If they suggest a repair shop to you without being asked, and they offer to take your car to the shop, that is another red flag. At this point, the best thing to do is to thank them for their time, and reach out to another towing service.
Another thing fraudulent towing companies do not do is sign a contract agreement. Because the agreement prevents the customer from being scammed, they find all kinds of excuses to get out of providing the agreement papers. If a towing service doesn’t have a contract for you to sign, that is another indication that something may be wrong.
How to Avoid Them
It is one thing to know how scammers act, it is another to avoid them/or outwit them. Of course, the best option is to avoid them, and if that fails, then you must outsmart them.
The most effective way to avoid a fraudulent company is to vet towing companies around you before the time you’ll need their service. Yes, it may seem unusual at first, but when you hear people’s experiences and how they lost their vehicles to scammers, you will see why it is important to do your research and evaluation beforehand. Never agree to let a towing company move your car to a repair shop they recommended. It is likely that there is an agreement between them, perhaps involving cash, and you will be the one to foot the bill of their mutually-beneficial transaction.
In conclusion, insist on signing a contract agreement, or a legally binding agreement that clearly states the service you require from the towing company and how much the service will cost. This way, even if the company is fraudulent, you are insulated from their scams.