Towing company damaged my car

January 23, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed: 

Two months ago my Corvette was towed for being illegally parked in front of a business. During the tow, my car sustained $1,500 worth of damages.  I contacted the business and the towing company, but both disregarded my complaint.  How can I get them to pay for the damage done to my car?

Consumer Ed says:

Towing companies that damage your car during the course of a tow may be liable for those damages. If you believe your vehicle was damaged during towing, the first thing you should do is contact the towing company’s customer service or first-level support people in an effort to resolve the issue.  If those people are unable to resolve your complaint, you should put your complaint in writing to the company’s upper management or owner. 

If your problems remain unresolved, there are several options available to you. You can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org).  The Better Business Bureau tries to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses, and works with both parties to attempt to reach a resolution that both find fair. 

If you believe that a city or county ordinance has been violated, you can file a complaint with your local law enforcement.  You should be aware, however, that many local ordinances limit the liability of the city, county or state for any damage or loss that results from towing if the offending vehicle was on public property.

Depending on the extent and cost of damages to your car, you may want to consider contacting an attorney.  Generally, the owner of a vehicle can receive compensation for damage to his or her vehicle resulting from any intentional or negligent act by a person during removal of the vehicle.

You may want to consider working through your auto insurance company to collect the damages from the towing company.  Your insurer can step in and help pay for the repairs, and then get reimbursed for the expenses, as well as your deductible, from the at-fault towing company’s insurer. 

While the towing company may be liable for damage to your vehicle, please note that the business or property owner is generally not liable for the practices of an independent towing company, particularly if there was clear notice given not to park in a certain location.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.