We often hear of motorists who, after being involved in a car crash, have their vehicles towed away either without their permission or to storage places that charge excessive daily rates.
While this practice is generally done by unethical tow truck operators, it can be avoided when motorists are aware of their rights.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- If you are insured, contact your insurance provider for advice. Do not let anyone else contact them on your behalf.
- If your insurance includes cover for towing, contact the emergency number provided with your cover,
- If you are uninsured, it is your right to choose which tow truck service you will use, however, make sure you understand their terms and conditions and get such in writing before permitting them to tow your vehicle away.
- Always check and read any documentation carefully before signing.
- Get all the relevant information from the tow truck operator before allowing him to move your vehicle. This should include:
- their name
- company name,
- company registration or association registration number,
- contact number and office physical address
- the physical address of their storage yard (if it is different from their physical address),
- registration number of the tow truck vehicle.
- Take a video/photographs of your surroundings and vehicle including when it has been attached to the tow truck before it leaves.
- Establish upfront, and in writing if possible, how much the service is going to cost (including per kilometer rates), and how much any storage costs will be, especially if you do not have any cover.
- Remove all valuables from your vehicle before it is towed.
It is important to note that not all tow truck service companies are unprincipled. There are accredited service providers who adhere to strict rules of conduct. Motorists should not feel obligated or allow themselves to be intimidated into doing anything they don’t want to do.
Being covered by insurance is the best option, but even without it, no-one has the right to take your vehicle without your consent