When you call a tow truck, you’re in a vulnerable position.
Perhaps your tires have blown on a highway late at night. Maybe your battery dies in a strange neighborhood. You could run out of gas on your way to a crucial meeting and feel terrified that you won’t get there on time. You depend on a tow truck driver to help you get back on track, and the majority have your best interests at heart. But not all of them do. Towing scams are sadly common, with unscrupulous operators taking advantage of people’s trust. What can you do to avoid towing scams?
Use a firm recommended by friends
Untrustworthy tow truck operators may offer to help drivers in need as they pass by, but you obviously have no idea who they are. Never accept assistance from a driver you haven’t called first. If you’ve been involved in a collision, it could have been staged by the other drivers and the tow truck operator in unison. Their fast arrival on the scene would be more than just coincidence. One quick, easy way to avoid this towing scam is to call a firm recommended by your friends or family. They will have first-hand positive experience and their recommendation will be genuine. Reach out to them for advice before calling the first one you come across.
Check reviews online
If you can’t get a recommendation from a friend, online reviews are a terrific resource for finding trustworthy towing firms in your area. Social media pages or review websites will feature different feedback from customers, good and bad. This gives you the details you need to make your decision. If a firm has little online presence and offers little information about their qualifications or background on their website, that could be a warning sign. Their website could be a mere formality, used to provide paper-thin support for their unscrupulous dealings.
Confirm a price up front
When you find a company with a good reputation and a solid online presence, make sure you confirm the price before they send the driver out. The best towing companies provide you with an upfront cost and will have no hidden charges — it’s vital that you clarify all this immediately. Otherwise, a tow truck driver may try to demand more money from you once they have your vehicle rigged up ready for transportation, essentially leaving you at their mercy.
Ask for ID
Believe it or not, some questionable towing firms may scan radio communications to steal potential jobs from competitors. Unsuspecting drivers will be pleased to see help arrive and assume they’re from the company they called. However, in this case, you would have no idea what charges to expect or if any other costs will be added.
Ask to see the driver’s credentials when they reach you, and pay attention to the truck itself. Does it carry the logo of the right firm? Does the number match the one you called?
If it’s an unmarked vehicle, that could be a red flag. Never let a driver intimidate you into accepting their service, and if they refuse to show their credentials, call the police. The simple threat of the authorities’ involvement could be enough to chase them away.
Toro Road Runners is an experienced towing firm in the Bay Area, delivering high-quality towing and roadside assistance solutions.