Tow Company Accused of Charging More Than 3 Times What Law Allows

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UPDATED: Friday September 6, 2013 8:58 AM

Michael Bivens realized that when it comes to tow trucks, the guy with the truck usually wins the argument.

"A $90 tow, because of my protests, turned into a $349 tow," Bivens told 10 Investigates. "Which is ridiculous."

According to Ohio law, that fee should have been capped at $102.

Bivens' problem started when he walked out of the apartment he was visiting to find his car hooked to a tow truck.

Bivens demanded that the driver drop his car because he says he had been given a pass to park it there. Then, he called the police.

"While waiting on the police, he ended up trying to pull away, so I had to stand in front of his truck while waiting for the police," Bivens said.

Police records show officers initially told the tow truck driver to drop the car but eventually allowed the car to be towed.

Bivens followed the driver to A/T Towing and Recovery.

That's where the company charged him for the tow and additional fees such as, dolly costs, administration costs, and a $180 charge called "2 hr."

10 Investigates has exposed similar over charging by tow truck companies in the past.

Previous investigations by 10 Investigates showed apparent overcharges by Cam Car and Shamrock. Those companies now face lawsuits, based on Ohio law.

That law says tow truck companies can charge an amount "NOT TO EXCEED" $90 for the tow and twelve dollars a day for storage.

A/T Owner Herman Dague showed up and explained the charge.

"Our time is valuable," Dague said.

Dague claimed the law allows him to charge a $150 for a tow, "plus expenses" companies incur.

He said the extra $180 was because Bivens forced his driver to wait for police.

Investigative Reporter Paul Aker asked Dague whether it was fair for him to decide when he would force drivers to pay more than the law requires.

"It's not fair for me to be judge and jury of what he should have to pay, no," Dague said. "Is it fair for him to keep my driver at bay standing in front of the truck, not letting him leave? I mean, is that fair?"

Bivens said he plans to file a lawsuit.

Dague told 10 Investigates he would consider refunding Bivens' money, if Bivens chooses not to sue.

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