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Report: Getting Off The Hook Of A Predatory Tow In Arizona

For Immediate Release

Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s latest report “Getting Off The Hook of a Predatory Tow” highlights 14 common sense towing protections that the organization believes should be available to consumers in every state. The report outlines protections ranging from who is responsible for damages caused by careless towing, to the maximum rates and fees owed when towed, to whether an individual is guaranteed the option to pay by credit card.

According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, every year, millions of Americans have their cars towed without their consent from a private property or public street. And too often, the unknown rationale behind these tows and what to do next can leave drivers stranded and confused.

Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, stated, “While getting towed is a consequence of parking in the wrong place or for too long, most states don’t offer drivers the decency of basic consumer protections such as access to their wallets or medicine, or caps on towing and storage fees.” Murray also said that doesn’t even take into consideration those times when drivers believe they’re towed improperly.

Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s research points to two broad issues facing consumers: An alarmingly high number of states have no protections spelled out on towing issues. In addition, too many states have inadequate protections, or the laws on the books are vague and inaccessible to the average consumer.

Below are the key takeaways for Arizona:

  1. Arizona does not have maximum towing or storage rates for involuntary tows, but cities and towns can set maximums.
  2. Towing companies are required to clearly display their rates on “tow-away” signs.
  3. A vehicle owner is guaranteed access to all items in their towed car during normal business hours.
  4. Towing companies are responsible for damages to the vehicle, as long as the issue is reported before the car leaves the lot.
  5. Arizona towing companies must provide vehicle owners with an itemized list of charges.

Murray added, “When your car gets towed, it can feel like everything else is grinding to a halt. For many Arizonans, their primary mode of transportation can be lost, and while trying to locate their vehicle, they’re worrying about mounting daily storage fees. Arizonans need to have information to know whether they’re being treated fairly or whether the tow company is acting in a predatory fashion.”

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