Towing fees are set by law and might rise
A group of us decided to get some drinks after work recently. We were in seven vehicles, and we all parked in a theater parking lot. We weren't there for more than an hour and a half or two, but when we came out, all our cars were gone. It is our fault because we did not read the parking regulations. Two cars were towed to Sand Island, but five were only towed to a nearby lot, which was in a dark alley. We all ended up having to pay $160. We asked the towing company why we all had to pay the same amount, but were told only that we had to pay $160 cash each or we wouldn't get our cars. I feel that was very unfair. What are the regulations that govern these towing companies?
Answer: First, contact the state Office of Consumer Protection.
"The statute is quite specific as to what (towing companies) can charge and under what circumstances," said Stephen Levins, Office of Consumer Protection executive director.
But before the office can determine whether there was any violation, you need to file a complaint that can be investigated, he said. Call 587-3222.
Chapter 290-11 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes sets forth the fees that towing companies can charge, such as no more than $55 per tow, or $65 for a tow using a dolly; a mileage charge of $6.50 per mile towed; and storage fees of $20 per day or fraction thereof for the first seven days and $15 per day thereafter.
If your vehicle is towed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday to Thursday, or from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, the towing company can add an overtime charge of $15.
If your vehicle is in the process of being hooked up but not yet towed, the company can charge an unhooking fee of $50. For difficult hookups, "meaning an above- or below-ground hookup in a multilevel facility," the company can slap on a towing surcharge of $30.
A bill has been introduced in the state House to deal with the problem of abandoned or derelict vehicles. Citing increased costs to towing companies for "the valuable public service" they provide in "removing many of these vehicles in a timely manner," the bill would increase the fees for all tows.
House Bill 895 proposes to increase towing fees to $65 ($75 if a dolly is used); mileage fees to $7.50 a mile; storage fees to $25 a day for the first seven days and $20 a day thereafter; and the overtime fee to $20.
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