what's the law?
Towing company has various charges
Recently my car and my husband's were towed from the same location at the same time.
Talk about bad luck.
The towing company charged us $362 for each car!
I want to know what the law is: Is there a cap? Drop fee? Can these private towing companies charge whatever they want?
There were about three additional fees, "storage," "mileage," etc., besides the basic towing charge. We had caught them as they were on the freeway; they had not even reached their "yard" yet.
Answer: From Legal Aid's deputy director and Consumer Unit supervising attorney, HRS 290-11 allows a towing company to charge $65 per tow or $75 per tow with a dolly as well as $7.50 per mile and $25 per day or fraction thereof for the first seven days and $20 for subsequent days.
An additional $30 can charged if the tow is made from an above- or below-ground multilevel facility. If you had gotten to the tow truck when it in the process of hooking up your cars, the tow company would have been obligated to unhook the car.
If after reviewing the maximum charges, you feel you were still overcharged, you can take the tow company to small claims court to contest the fees and request return of the amount of the overcharge.
Q: My car was recently repossessed from the garage at my house. I thought they can't come onto private property. Can they do that?
A: From Legal Aid's Consumer Unit supervising attorney, if you are in default of the loan and were unable to work out an agreement or voluntarily surrender the car, the lender can repossess the car. In repossessing the car, the lender must get the car without breaching the peace. If it entered a closed garage without consent or a court order to get the car, then it violated the law. However, if your car was in an unenclosed carport, if someone in the home gave them permission or if they have a court order, the lender is in its rights to take the car from your home.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. Call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.