Beware of being to be dragged around by fraudulent towing firms and tow trucks.
It’s difficult to not be stressed out after you’re having a party and you’re in shock. you’re in a rush, traffic is rushing in front of you and all you think about is taking your car off the highway and out of the way. Then, suddenly, a 墨尔本拖车 driver shows up to help move your car, and you’re happy you could kiss them.
Do you choose the first truck to show up on the scene, and hope that they’ll take care of your needs? We’ll guide you through the steps to take and what to look out for and what the laws regarding tow trucks are in your area.
I’m in need of a tow-truck How do I get one?
Call your insurance provider before you sign anything, you should contact your insurance company. They might be able arrange for a tow and provide you with the information you need to be expecting.
Review your cover towing cover differs between insurers and it could be that you are not insured for towing. It is advisable to go over your policy’s disclosure to determine the limits of your policy.
Do not sign on the dotted line. Never fill out a blank or insufficient the towing authorization form. It should contain the complete address of the location where the vehicle is to be towed and the fee for towing.
Take the time to carefully review the terms and conditions on the towing authority form. If you think it’s suspicious and you don’t want to sign it, you may be signing to pay more than what you had bargained for.
You have the right the option of deciding where your car is towed.
Be patient if you’re in a hurry to weigh your options, consider having the vehicle taken to your residence. This way, you won’t be charged storage charges and will be able to decide when your head is clearer. However, you might have the expense of two tows.
“While it’s secure to use the majority of tow truck services however, if you’ve had an accident and your car isn’t able to drive, we suggest calling your insurer immediately and let them arrange the towing,” an RACQ spokesperson states. “Insurers might have limitations on the amount they’ll offer for towing following an accident, and you do not wish to be without a reimbursement.”
Be aware that it’s unlawful for anyone to try to force you to purchase products or services and don’t let anyone make you feel pressured to sign an tow if you’re confident about it.
Always make sure you read the fine print
In the case of accident-related towing documents and any sloppy deviations from the norm will be hidden in fine print, so be sure that you ensure you go through it carefully. (Hard to do while still shaken from the wreck We get it, but just five minutes of reading can save you a lot of pain over the long haul.)
A lot of states have forms that are regulated provided from the government of that state. Therefore, when you see something that looks more like an advertisement 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. It should contain relevant information regarding the car as well as contact information and you should obtain an original copy,” says Campbell Fuller who is the General Manager of the Insurance Council of Australia. director of media relations and communications.
Carnapping and ways to avoid it
Some towing companies profit of your mental state after an accident to get you to sign a flimsy document 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 granting towing companies the right to tow your vehicle Certain agreements also include a number of negative terms, such as forcing you to use an individual repairer that will be able to charge you (or your insurance company) exorbitant costs in exchange for storage or repairs.
“If you are liable for fees that go beyond what is covered by your insurance company under the policy you have you could end up having with the burden of paying for it So, always check with your insurance company prior to signing any agreement,” an RACQ spokesperson states.
A particularly nasty ploy that takes carnap to the next level is unaware drivers signing papers that allow dodgy lawyers to take action on their on their behalf.
In 2017 Victorian Lawyer Nicholas Logan was found guilty of misconduct in connection with his participation in a fraud in which drivers who were not at fault were enticed into signing papers that gave him the right to sue an at-fault driver to recover inflated repair charges.
Most of the time, victims weren’t aware of the scheme until they were brought before the courtroom. One instance saw Logan try to concoct an insurer of a victim greater than $30,000 for the repairs.
Logan agreed to plead guilty to seven misconduct charges and was barred from practices for a period of two years.
“Signed my whole life to go”
A rough day was made more difficult and more difficult for CHOICE member Kieren after he was involved in an accident in 2015. “Immediately following a collision head-on I signed my life over to a dirty towing business that charged exorbitant storage costs,” he says.
Kieren claims that the driver of the truck wrote the incorrect date on the towing authority form and that he was only entitled to the right to store his vehicle for 48 hours rather than the 72-hour period he’s entitled in Queensland. Kieren was then billed storage charges of $66 per day. (Storage charges for towing accidents aren’t subject to regulation in Queensland however, storage charges for vehicles removed from car parks owned by private owners are only $25 per day.)
When he tried to get his car removed from the holding yard owned by the company and was told that they could only utilize the personnel of the company that tows it to lift it. Consequently, the wrecker he hired to remove the vehicle was not allowed access to the vehicle. That meant he needed to pay a higher amount to the company in order to have his vehicle town to the wrecker.
An Transport and Main Roads spokesperson claims that there’s no legal requirement for the same operator of a tow truck to be used in a subsequent transfer from an holding yard however, there are no regulations against it.
Although the company did not technically violate 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 for you to make sure that you double (and triple) verify everything prior to you sign the contract.
What’s the situation for me in the state I’m from?
The towing industry for accidents is regulated at a state level, which means that the rules differ across Australia. In some areas, the fees are set and regulations are enforced. In other areas there is no regulation, and scammers continue to scam consumers.
We’ve looked at the laws and rules (or the absence thereof) in Australia.
Deals that aren’t clean
The industry of towing is not without its shady past such as standover tactics and connections to organised crime, and 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 many of the Australian states, however in WA businesses, they advertise cash-backs up to $200 when you inform them of an accident.
Although the industry is more controlled and regulated, the towing industry has its own problems. An NSW Police officer in NSW was dismissed in 2017 for supplying the towing company with accident tips to get cash and a review in 2014 of the NSW sector of repair found that drivers of tow trucks engage in illegal deals with repairers in order to “capture” jobs from drivers who aren’t at fault.
We spoke to an Sydney company owner that was offered a “spotter’s fee by a towing business in the year 2017. His company was located near an area of high traffic that was home to plenty of auto collisions.
“One day, a tow truck driver came in and told me, ‘If you witness a crash contact me and I’ll pay you fifty dollars and a half,'” Mike (not his real name) claims.
Mike claims he contacted the driver seven times, but despite the towing firm taking over his business every time He claims the driver only received an amount of $50. The last straw was a collision between two vehicles that the driver called him but did not get paid for even though he saw the towing service load both vehicles. “I haven’t spoken to them since then,” Mike says.
Inducements such as spotter’s fees are not legal under NSW in accordance with the Tow Truck Industry Act 1998.
Beware of being to be dragged around by fraudulent towing firms and tow trucks.