Tow truck drivers are scam artists - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Tow truck drivers are scam artists

Just got a tow bill for $800 for moving my bike 12km on a flat bed. The whole operation took less than 1/2 hour.

I was rear ended on my bike back in November. Before the police even arrived at the scene two different tow truck drivers descended to offer their help. They park on the highway overpasses waiting to descend. They had been monitoring police/fire scanners. They kept pestering me to take my bike however I refused as they only where the kind of tow trucks with a hook. One driver even told me the police officer told him to take my bike. I checked with the officer at the scene to find out he lied. Instead I called for a flat bed out of the yellow pages. He arrived in 2 min and was very good. When I asked how much he said he did not know it depends on time and mileage. Put bike on flat bed and took it to the nearby dealer. He submitted the bill to the dealer for the insurance company to pay. It was only then I discovered it was $800. I told him I thought he was scamming the insurance company and his response was what do you care, if I was charging you it would be a lot less. I've since found this is standard operating procedure in the local towing industry. The problem now is the insurance company is refusing to pay for the tow and I am now on the hook, excuse the pun, for an $800 tow bill. I recently heard a similar story on the news only it was a $1200 bill in that case.

Last edited by twowheels; 12-13-2017 at 11:03 PM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 11:09 PM
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I feel your pain.
The only time I have ever called a tow truck (for a break down) the driver would not even unload until after I had given him my credit card and he had waited for confirmation that he had been paid.
It's a very mercenary industry.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 11:58 PM
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Thats why i have AAA Roadside Assistance. For me and the girlfriend its about $100.00 a year and just the regular membership they will tow a motorcycle on a flat bed up to 100 miles. (I believe up to once every 30 days. Will have to double check that though)
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 08:36 AM
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Not sure how your state law works, but I seem to remember that you were rear ended by another driver-- placing them 100% at fault. If that's the case, 100% of the reason that your bike needed to be towed was a neglectful error on the part of their insured driver. That being the case, it would seem that the neglectful driver (or their insurance co.) would be responsible for any expenses related to the incident.

They may be trying to weasel their way out of paying, but will likely pay. Your insurance carrier may help with guidance and know whether your State law would require the other driver's carrier to pay-- there are some quirky loopholes out there. More times than not, an at-fault claim will cover all expenses. It's one of the reasons we have insurance in the first place, to help ensure that that an entity can pay these costs on our behalf-- if/when an individual can't afford to pay for another individual's damages, out of pocket. Helps protect their insured from being sued by you to cover related costs.

Keep us posted. I think they will pay for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
Just got a tow bill for $800 for moving my bike 12km on a flat bed. The whole operation took less than 1/2 hour.

I was rear ended on my bike back in November. Before the police even arrived at the scene two different tow truck drivers descended to offer their help. They park on the highway overpasses waiting to descend. They had been monitoring police/fire scanners. They kept pestering me to take my bike however I refused as they only where the kind of tow trucks with a hook. One driver even told me the police officer told him to take my bike. I checked with the officer at the scene to find out he lied. Instead I called for a flat bed out of the yellow pages. He arrived in 2 min and was very good. When I asked how much he said he did not know it depends on time and mileage. Put bike on flat bed and took it to the nearby dealer. He submitted the bill to the dealer for the insurance company to pay. It was only then I discovered it was $800. I told him I thought he was scamming the insurance company and his response was what do you care, if I was charging you it would be a lot less. I've since found this is standard operating procedure in the local towing industry. The problem now is the insurance company is refusing to pay for the tow and I am now on the hook, excuse the pun, for an $800 tow bill. I recently heard a similar story on the news only it was a $1200 bill in that case.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwwoodard View Post
Not sure how your state law works, but I seem to remember that you were rear ended by another driver-- placing them 100% at fault. If that's the case, 100% of the reason that your bike needed to be towed was a neglectful error on the part of their insured driver. That being the case, it would seem that the neglectful driver (or their insurance co.) would be responsible for any expenses related to the incident.

They may be trying to weasel their way out of paying, but will likely pay. Your insurance carrier may help with guidance and know whether your State law would require the other driver's carrier to pay-- there are some quirky loopholes out there. More times than not, an at-fault claim will cover all expenses. It's one of the reasons we have insurance in the first place, to help ensure that that an entity can pay these costs on our behalf-- if/when an individual can't afford to pay for another individual's damages, out of pocket. Helps protect their insured from being sued by you to cover related costs.

Keep us posted. I think they will pay for it.
We have no fault insurance in Ontario. As such I am unable to collect directly from the guy who hit me or his insurer. I have checked with a lawyer friend on this. I can however choose to sue my own insurer however the cost and effort of doing so is not worth $800.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:42 AM
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You pay for insurance. If part of that is they pay for towing then get a lawyer. Sounds like this thread should be titled "Insurance companies are scam artists".

If you don't pay for towing then you made the call and are stuck with it.

The one and only time I had to be towed I got an estimate up front. Nobody would be touching my bike if they couldn't tell me about how much it would cost.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 11:09 AM
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$800 is outrageous. I'd expect about $150 for a similar tow in my neck of the woods. I've never needed it for my bikes (knock on simulated wood veneer), but I have free tow coverage thru the AMA, which includes all bikes and cars I own as well. It worked great when my son who is away at college needed "his" (my) car towed recently. I wonder if something similar is available in Canada -- there must be an AMA-type organization, eh?

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 11:38 AM
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Any company that bills insurance typically charges them more, see windshield replacement, flood damage and the entire US healthcare system. Because of that - it's pretty standard for an insurance company to reject many claims at the outset and see how hard you'll fight it.

You may consider calling this towing company and getting an email quote to move your bike from A - B (record it if they won't), perhaps call around for quotes. Once armed with 'normal rates', simply call them and explain there is no insurance and see if they'll cut the price to that - effectively calling them out on the comment, "what do you care, you're not paying". If not, you do have small claims court and your newly gathered evidence to show you've been gouged at the scene of an accident. Social media posting (facts, not slander) can also create pressure, complaints to the local oversight agency (City Hall, etc) may help. That this happened at the scene of an accident may give you some leverage. Important to note that he didn't quote you the price, only a framework (time and mileage) - so there's some argument there was no verbal contract to pay an amount that would be considered 'unreasonable' by most.

You may even find some human interest angle with a local TV or newspaper ombudsman, using the whole 'preying on the victims' angle.

Just suggestions, of course.

We had a similar problem with an accident here in AZ, same 'what do you care' attitude, cop standing next to me refusing to let a helpful passer-by load the bike on his trailer to take to my home - cop made the tow guy quote a price, knowing their yard was about 40 miles away - he answers "not more than $100". Insurance covered it, so don't know if it ended up $1,000 - but the cop had the note in his book.

Good luck.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:26 PM
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Similar but different situation occurred with an ambulance ride for my daughter, years ago. We had a hefty bill for a 100+ mile trip from our city to another city where a children's hospital was located. We eventually got the bill, which was obviously expensive. I called the ambulance company and asked what kind of discount they could offer for a full/immediate cash payment... we received around 25% off.

One thing I've learned throughout life and my career-- most things in life are negotiable. I negotiate things such as sanitation service, vehicles, appliances, parts, and just about every significant purchase in between. It doesn't cost anything to respectfully ask for a discount, and often, reasonable requests are accepted.

Hope you can get this discounted.

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Originally Posted by PHX_Joe View Post
Any company that bills insurance typically charges them more, see windshield replacement, flood damage and the entire US healthcare system. Because of that - it's pretty standard for an insurance company to reject many claims at the outset and see how hard you'll fight it.

You may consider calling this towing company and getting an email quote to move your bike from A - B (record it if they won't), perhaps call around for quotes. Once armed with 'normal rates', simply call them and explain there is no insurance and see if they'll cut the price to that - effectively calling them out on the comment, "what do you care, you're not paying". If not, you do have small claims court and your newly gathered evidence to show you've been gouged at the scene of an accident. Social media posting (facts, not slander) can also create pressure, complaints to the local oversight agency (City Hall, etc) may help. That this happened at the scene of an accident may give you some leverage. Important to note that he didn't quote you the price, only a framework (time and mileage) - so there's some argument there was no verbal contract to pay an amount that would be considered 'unreasonable' by most.

You may even find some human interest angle with a local TV or newspaper ombudsman, using the whole 'preying on the victims' angle.

Just suggestions, of course.

We had a similar problem with an accident here in AZ, same 'what do you care' attitude, cop standing next to me refusing to let a helpful passer-by load the bike on his trailer to take to my home - cop made the tow guy quote a price, knowing their yard was about 40 miles away - he answers "not more than $100". Insurance covered it, so don't know if it ended up $1,000 - but the cop had the note in his book.

Good luck.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by weljo2001 View Post
Thats why i have AAA Roadside Assistance. For me and the girlfriend its about $100.00 a year and just the regular membership they will tow a motorcycle on a flat bed up to 100 miles. (I believe up to once every 30 days. Will have to double check that though)
Up here, you need the CAA Plus Membership (http://caaneo.ca/membership/compare-memberships). I have it, and it's worth it.

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Last edited by DaveC; 12-15-2017 at 12:51 PM.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2017, 01:19 AM
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tell your local news. they love stories like this and can probably get you off the hook (pun intended) all together
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2017, 11:46 AM
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I have the "Good Sam" towing coverage ($89/year), which covered picking-up my V 650 last season and taking it to a dealer about 30 miles away. It ALSO towed my pickup about 150 miles when I had a problem while hunting in the Alberta Rocky Mountains at -40 degrees.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2017, 02:39 PM
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AMA offers towing for bikes cheaply as well as AAA's RV coverage (which is pricey)
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2017, 02:38 PM
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A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Those bills are rather ridiculous ! Isn't there an upper limit fixed on how much per mile/km cost of towing on a flatbed should be?

The standard procedure here in India to get a friend to help with the tow or a stranger. Push the bike with a leg from another motorcycle. Tow it with a tow rope. Everything is allowed.

Or if the bike is not at all fit to be pushed on its own wheels then negotiate with a transport pickup that happens to pass by. Negotiating is necessary, unfortunately you'll need to have a good idea what's the ideal towing rate.

RSA is a very new concept and usual charges range from $10-40 per year as subscription and there is some towing rate per km if the tow radius from nearest of point of their vehicle is above 20 kms or so. Also its painfully slow to respond and arrive.

My usual rescue procedure, payment accepted in beer.
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