Every year, tow truck scammers target thousands of vulnerable Australians in need after a crash or on the road.
It can be very frustrating to get stranded on the side of the road. It’s dangerous for you and your passengers, and it allows thieves and scam towing companies to profit from your situation.
There are many 24-hour Perth towing services in Perth, so you may get into trouble with a scam roadside assistance company. In the aftermath of an accident, unprofessional tow truck drivers are known to convince car owners to sign blank paperwork authorising a tow, then add other charges that may not have been necessary. Many tow truck drivers work for or are affiliated with 3rd party auto body repair shops, who can add additional charges as well.
We’ve put together a list containing scammers and fraudsters so you can be alert to the situation and take the necessary steps to get out. Let’s get started.
If you find yourself stranded and an unsolicited truck arrives to help, remember that you don’t need to accept their assistance. This is a common roadside assistance scam that unprofessional companies try to pull. Although it may seem miraculous to receive help after an accident, unless they are a registered, reputable, 24-hour Perth towing service like Performance Towing, you can’t be sure of their intentions. Also, make sure to inspect the truck’s signage or ask for its valid ID proof. It is best to call a reputable towing service in Perth, such as Performance Towing.
Chargers That Aren’t Visible
Additional fees and charging for additional services are another warning sign that you should be aware of. Avoid being cheated by comparing the quotes and paying only for the services you have received. Always verify that the quote includes all costs, including fuel, mileage, and any other fees. Make sure you get it all in writing.
Always make sure to inspect the invoice that you received over the phone when the truck arrives. You should not accept the tow truck service if the paperwork does not include the complete list of services, or if there are any hidden fees. You should verify that the truck and the invoice are in alignment.
Towing Company with a Single Towing Destination
It is best to avoid towing companies in Peth that limit their service to one location. Many times, these companies only offer to tow to a specific auto body shop. You will then be subject to any extra charges from that shop or the company itself. Performance Towing has convenient locations all around Perth.
The Towing Company Does Not Recognise Roadside Assistance Programs
Do not work with a towing company that doesn’t recognise certified roadside assistance programs. While cash-only towing services may have their place, it is best to work with a company that honours roadside assistance programs. Towing companies that do not accept roadside assistance programs are unlikely to be credentialed and up to industry standards.
Performance Towing also recommends that you obtain the following information before a Perth tow truck takes away your car:
- The full cost
- Daily storage charges
- Documentation of where the vehicle will need to be towed (if not to your preferred location)
If you are concerned about the price, call your insurance company or the police to request a tow truck in Perth.
Other Scams Involving Tow Trucks
While most Perth tow truck operators are honest and trustworthy, it’s important to be aware of some of the common tow truck scams out there.
- Gate Fees – An impound lot may charge a “gate fee”, a “labour fee” and/or a “release fee” to open the gate. These fees might be illegal; it’s best to double check.
- Inflated charges – are when a tow company charges fees beyond your insurance company’s policy limits, and then asks you to pay the difference. If you suspect that a truck company is charging exorbitant fees, it is a good idea to get your insurance company involved.
- Patrol Towing – is when an operator of a tow truck has a spotter who watches out for illegally parked cars. The spotter informs the operator (also called a “bandit”), who then tows it to an impound lot where you might be subject to excessive or unjustifiable fees.
- Steering - occurs when a truck driver sees an accident and tries to convince the driver to tow your vehicle to a shop they collaborate with.
More Tips to Combat Tow Truck Scams
Here are some steps to help you avoid being scammed by tow trucks:
- Choose the body shop you prefer – You shouldn’t be steered by a tow truck operator to find a shop. There’s a good chance they are working for the shop and are just looking to make some extra cash. If the tow truck driver refuses to take your car to your chosen shop, call another tow truck company.
- Credit cards – It is possible that a tow truck company asking for cash may be part of an illegal operation.
- Take photos – Photograph the scene, including the tow vehicle, with your phone.
- Request photos if your car was towed due to “illegal parking.”
- Contest the charges- storage and towing fees can be agreed upon by the tow company with the local police. Check with your local police department if you believe you’ve been charged too much.
- File a complaint – Contact your insurance company or the local police department if you believe you were taken advantage of by the tow truck operator.
You don’t have to be afraid if your vehicle breaks down or you are stranded at the side of the road. To avoid scams like towing and roadside assistance, follow the tips above. And when you find yourself needing a 24-hour towing company in Perth, contact Performance Towing.