OOIDA fights towing bill, gets member $4,800 refund

March 11, 2020

Mark Schremmer

|

A complaint letter from OOIDA regarding an “inflated” bill from a Connecticut towing company has led to an OOIDA member receiving a refund check of about $4,800.

In February, OOIDA filed a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles Consumer Complaint Center about an incident in February 2018, when the truck’s trailer slid down an embankment and became stuck on railroad tracks. The total bill was more than $22,000. According to OOIDA, its member, Koffi Akollor, was overcharged thousands of dollars for tow and recovery.

After the complaint was filed, the towing company reached out to OOIDA and worked out a refund.

“We’ve been battling excessive towing bills for a long time, and we’re happy to get a few small wins,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs. “We can’t simply ignore the egregious overcharges on this invoice, but we do appreciate that this particular tow company was willing to work with us to make things right. This issue isn’t going away anytime soon, and we’ll keep challenging inflated towing invoices in any states that regulate it.”

On March 10, OOIDA sent a check to Akollor for $4,805.

“Koffi, we challenged the tow bill you received in Connecticut and were able to get you a refund,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a handwritten note. “Enclosed check. Hope all is well with you. Sincere regards.”

Overcharged third-party tows is a battle OOIDA has been fighting for years. A third-party tow is one that is initiated by law enforcement with no opportunity for the trucker to negotiate services or compare prices. OOIDA says it is not uncommon for the prices of third-party tows to be inflated by thousands of dollars.

In response, OOIDA has been working with states to create consumer protections for truck drivers who are forced to have their tractor-trailer towed.

pfj-300x250-4-20

West Virginia towing bill

Last month, OOIDA reached out to lawmakers in West Virginia to stop a bill that would undermine legislation passed in 2016 to protect truck drivers who were overcharged on third-party tows.

SB66, which was introduced in January, would require state police to follow the towing services policies of the respective county.

OOIDA opposes the bill because it would delete a statutory policy requirement that “provides for the most prompt, fair, equitable and effective response to requests or dispatches for emergency towing services,” and because it would require all towing companies registered with the West Virginia Public Service Commission to be included on rotation lists. OOIDA said that includes towing companies who are not qualified, do not have the appropriate equipment, or have no intention of following the rules.

pfj-728x90-4-20
Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.