Keeping the tow-truck industry honest

Keeping the tow-truck industry honest

We often see them parked near main intersections where crashes and bumper-bashing are the most prevalent, waiting almost vulture-like to swoop on their prey.
They’re the souped-up ‘ready to roll’ brightly painted tow-trucks in an industry that is notorious for doing dodgy work, with drivers paying for tip-offs, driving dangerously to get to their prey first, conning drivers into agreeing to fees, intimidating them and holding vehicles to ransom.


Yet there are many honest operators out there who are working hard to wipe some of the greasy muck off the industry’s reputation.
Here a few tips to make sure the tow-truck service you plan to use is legit.


Warning signs
Make sure they have a business name, address and contact numbers prominently displayed, which must match what’s in the authorisation books. If not, contact your insurer and ask for a service provider.


Putting pen to paper
Don’t sign any blank documents, especially where the rates are not clear. The law states that consumers must be properly informed regarding costs, in this instance, towing, storage rates, admin, security, recovery, second tows, etc. These must be stated on the front of the authorisation document, as on any contract.


The devil’s in the details
Get the driver’s full name and mobile number, the company’s physical address and landline number and the truck’s registration number.


Have your insurer on speed-dial
To avoid anything shady happening, rather contact your insurer directly. Unscrupulous operators usually contact their own offices, who pretend to be the insurer and mislead drivers.

Towing Stickers
Should your insurance company have provided you with towing stickers, make sure it is placed visibly on the windscreen of your car, and call the number should towing be needed.


Not insured?
Arrange to have your vehicle collected as soon as possible to avoid excessive storage fees.


Can’t make the call?
If the driver or owner is incapacitated and can’t make the call (due to injury, arrest or death) the vehicle must be impounded for safekeeping.
Remember, it’s illegal for police and metro officers to enter into a contract between the owner and a towing service.


DO pull over and out of traffic as much as possible.
DO signal to drivers that you are not moving.
DO stay or go where it is safest for you.DON’T accept rides from strangers.
DON’T leave personal belongings unattended.
DON’T leave the car until you’re out of traffic.