‘Wreck Chasers’ Are Charging Crash Victims 1000’s For A Tow

The Pennsylvania Insurance coverage Fraud Prevention Authority is warning drivers in Pittsburgh to watch out when ceding their automotive to tow truck drivers after a crash. The town has been coping with unscrupulous towing firms that overcharge drivers after accidents, when individuals are most susceptible and least more likely to pay shut consideration to charges on an bill. In some circumstances, crash victims have paid over $10,000 to get their automobiles again, in keeping with CBS Information Pittsburgh.

The town is looking these tow vehicles drivers “wreck chasers” as a result of they pay attention in to police scanners and rush to crash scenes. As soon as on the scene, they provide to tow crash victims’ automobiles reportedly with out disclosing charges or briefly doing so amidst the chaos of the crash. When house owners attempt to retrieve their autos from the towing firms, they’re informed they (or their insurance coverage firms) should pay 1000’s of {dollars} to get them again.

Insurance coverage fraud company warns of “wreck chasers” charging 1000’s after towing automobiles

One Pittsburgh driver, Emily Burton, had a invoice totaling over $11,000 after wrecking firm Vince’s Towing transported her automotive lower than three quarters of a mile. Per CBS Information:

She says proprietor Vince Fannick informed her he’d hold the automotive until the invoice of $11,780 was paid.

“You’re benefiting from somebody once they’re susceptible,” Burton mentioned. “I used to be confused. I didn’t know what I used to be doing, and then you definately’re charging me $11,000 to go lower than a mile.”

Whereas by no means offering Burton an bill, Fannick gave her insurance coverage firm a breakdown over the cellphone: $4,380 for the tow, a $4,250 restoration payment, a $1,200 gate payment, a $1,200 administrative payment and $195 a day in storage charges.

This isn’t an remoted case. A dozen invoices obtained by KDKA Investigates present these charges are normal working process with Vince’s Towing. KDKA-TV discovered the identical charges charged in tow after tow amounting to whole fees of $7,000, $8,000, $9,000, $10,000 and $11,000 for towing and associated charges. However Vince’s Towing shouldn’t be alone.

The proprietor of the towing firm insists he did nothing unlawful, and added that the excessive charges are justified by elevated prices of doing enterprise. Emily Burton seemingly signed the bill for the tow on-scene on the crash, nevertheless it’s unlikely she reviewed it beforehand. CBS Information cites Fannick saying that he doesn’t cost house owners, and as a substitute payments their insurance coverage straight.

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However these charges inevitably trickle all the way down to automotive house owners. After CBS Information reached out, Fannick agreed to cut back the payment from $11,780 to $10,280, which Burton’s insurance coverage firm ended up paying to get her automotive again. And whereas these wreck chasers’ practices aren’t strictly unlawful, they’re clearly unethical.

Pittsburgh metropolis officers say they’re drafting laws to forestall tow truck firms from overcharging crash victims. They’re attempting to place in a rotation system to forestall opportunistic tow truck drivers from dashing to scenes within the first place. And they’re additionally attempting to forestall exorbitant charges.

Within the meantime, the Insurance coverage Fraud Prevention Authority says crash victims ought to by no means signal clean tow invoices. And Pittsburgh police claims that drivers can request their very own tow by way of AAA, or request that town’s contracted provider, McGann & Chester, be referred to as. That towing firm fees a flat fee of $180 for a flatbed and storage charges are $25 per day. That’d seemingly whole to some hundred {dollars}, which is a hell of rather a lot higher than just a few thousand.

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