Towing company’s math equals $70,000 bill for truck owner

January 28, 2022

SJ Munoz

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Shocked, baffled, irate. Those words are probably not even strong enough to capture the reaction many trucking companies have should they need a tow in certain states, like Wyoming.

Wyoming is among the states with a lack of towing regulation. Expensive towing bills aren’t uncommon.

Late last year, Maps Towing and Diesel Repair in Rawlins, Wyo., was contacted by the Wyoming Highway Patrol to tow a semitruck, owned by Blue Line Distribution of Ontario, Canada.

Blue Line owner Tom Della Maestra said there was no collision or rollover, and the truck slid off the highway due to heavy winds and black ice. Photos Della Maestra provided show there was no major visible damage to the truck or its load.

Blue Line Distribution's semitruck, which slid off the road
Blue Line Distribution was charged more than $70,000 for towing their semitruck in Wyoming that slid off the highway in December. (Courtesy of Blue Line Distribution)

Following the job, the towing company gave Blue Line an invoice for more than $70,000, saying the truck was damaged and the load was compromised, while also citing inclement weather.

Della Maestra negotiated the bill down to $50,000. However, he was required to pay in T-Cheks that day or the bill would increase. He said the towing company refused to accept a credit card.

 

Invoice for towiing from Maps Towing for Blue Line Distribution
An invoice for a tow that took an estimated four hours, according to Blue Line Distribution owner Tom Della Maestra, totaled more than $70,000. (Courtesy of Blue Line Distribution)

Since Dec. 11, the date of the initial invoice, Della Maestra has not only had conversations disputing this bill with Maps Towing, but also with the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, and Wyoming Department of Transportation, among others.

As part of those conversations, Della Maestra has requested a refund of $45,000 after several other towing companies informed him the job should have cost no more than $5,000.

Blue Line has filed an official state complaint form with the Wyoming Highway Patrol about the towing charge, but the response from the state was not promising.

Rodney Miears, the coordinator of the Wyoming Highway Patrol Tow and Recovery Program, said the refund should be resolved with Maps Towing, according to email correspondence between Della Maestra and Miears.

The lack of state regulations leaves Della Maestra with little more opportunity for recourse.

“They have had several complaints about this company, but they keep letting them operate in their state,” Della Maestra said. “It’s a state where towing is not regulated, and I haven’t been giving any legitimate reason or explanation for these charges. I keep going up the ladder, but I’m not getting anywhere.”

Making matters more difficult is the inability to secure legal representation. Blue Line has been repeatedly turned down by lawyers, Della Maestra said.

At this point Blue Line is not overly confident about a refund, but Della Maestra says they will not go away quietly.

“You’re letting a company like this play in your backyard and you know they are ripping people off,” Della Maestra said. “Every truck that goes through that state is going to get screwed if they happen to need a tow. Every time I turn around I’m going to another attorney. We’re kind of running out of options. We won’t be quiet though, we have it all over social media and we’ve done everything we can to get our story out there.”

Maps Towing declined Land Line’s request for comment.

Unfortunately, these disputes are not uncommon. Alleged overcharged tows happen regularly all over the country. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been working for years to fight for fair towing and to protect truckers from egregious charges. LL

TBS

SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.