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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Wrongfully Charged a Drop Fee

    My question involves a traffic citation from the state of: CA
    I woke up this morning to see my car in the process of being towed and I ran out and asked him to not tow my car. He had the hitch on in the rear, but was in the process of putting the dollys on the front wheels. He told me he could charge me a drop fee for almost $100. I felt that something was off when my car was not even lifted. How can I go about getting my money back? I called and they said just because my car was hitched that they were allowed to ask for a drop fee. However I read these two statements:

    VC 22658
    (B) Upon the request of the owner of the vehicle or that owner’s agent, the towing company or its driver shall immediately and unconditionally release a vehicle that is not yet removed from the private property and in transit.

    My car has not been removed and I asked him to release my vehicle.

    (h) A towing company may impose a charge of not more than one-half of the regular towing charge for the towing of a vehicle at the request of the owner, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession of the private property pursuant to this section if the owner of the vehicle or the vehicle owner’s agent returns to the vehicle after the vehicle is coupled to the tow truck by means of a regular hitch, coupling device, drawbar, portable dolly, or is lifted off the ground by means of a conventional trailer, and before it is removed from the private property. The regular towing charge may only be imposed after the vehicle has been removed from the property and is in transit.

    ^ It doesn't seem too specific to me. Does the car have to be up off of its wheels to even be considered?

    "Towing companies can charge up to one half the regular cost of a tow if the owner returns to the car after it is hooked. This generally has been interpreted to mean attached to the tow truck and at least two wheels are off the ground. The DMV Section, 22658 (h) is not specific.

    Additionally, the tow company can charge the full towing fee if the vehicle has left private property and is in transit."

    Can they charge me a drop fee before they even fully hook up my car?
    "Hooked up means the vehicle is fully prepared for transport by attachment to a tow truck, lifted in tow position, with tow lights and safety chains attached and, if required, placed on a dolly in a raised position and the only thing remaining is for the tow operator to drive away."

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: Wrongfully Charged a Drop Fee

    You have already answered your own question...

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    (h) A towing company may impose a charge of not more than one-half of the regular towing charge for the towing of a vehicle at the request of the owner, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession of the private property pursuant to this section if the owner of the vehicle or the vehicle owner’s agent returns to the vehicle after the vehicle is coupled to the tow truck by means of a regular hitch, coupling device, drawbar, portable dolly, or is lifted off the ground by means of a conventional trailer, and before it is removed from the private property. The regular towing charge may only be imposed after the vehicle has been removed from the property and is in transit.
    Notice it says "after the vehicle is coupled to the tow truck...OR is lifted." You say that the tow truck had the hitch attached to the rear of your car...
    Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,194

    Default Re: Wrongfully Charged a Drop Fee

    You couldn't even come close to arguing ambiguous or unclear when your own description reasonably matched the code section:

    Your words:

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    He had the hitch on in the rear

    VC 22658:

    Quote Quoting vanityb0mb
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    the vehicle is coupled to the tow truck by means of a regular hitch

    You can bet your bottom dollar that if that tow truck driver couldn't get his 1/2 fee within seconds of him getting there, your car would have been "in his possession" (meaning: in transit and off the property) BEFORE the dollies went under the front wheels!

    Meaning he'll rush and get it hooked and ready to roll, then the dollies go under and it gets pulled.


    Quote Quoting vanityb0mb
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    "Towing companies can charge up to one half the regular cost of a tow if the owner returns to the car after it is hooked. This generally has been interpreted to mean attached to the tow truck and at least two wheels are off the ground.

    GENERALLY interpreted by whom?


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    The DMV Section, 22658 (h) is not specific.

    The DMV didn't write that code section. That is written by the state legislature!

    And it really isn't that ambiguous!


    And lastly...

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    "Hooked up means the vehicle is fully prepared for transport by attachment to a tow truck, lifted in tow position, with tow lights and safety chains attached and, if required, placed on a dolly in a raised position and the only thing remaining is for the tow operator to drive away."

    That definition comes from the Texas Department of Licensing And Regulations; it isn't binding under California law!
    I am right 97% of the time... Who cares about the other 4%!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wrongfully Charged a Drop Fee

    I too was curious about the drop fee.

    I found an explanation from the California Tow Truck Association.

    You must release the vehicle upon request of the owner or owner’s agent regardless of the owner or owner’s agent unwillingness or inability to pay onehalf your regular towing charge.

    You are entitled to one-half your regular towing charge, but may not require immediate payment as a condition of release. You will have to seek out other remedies to collect the monies you may be entitled to (i.e. owner or owner’s agent billing, collections, small claims court, etc.)
    CVC 22658 (h)

    http://www.jedstowing.com/cttaGUIDE.pdf

    So yes, they can charge you. No you don't have to pay to get your car dropped. If they do not drop your car, they are guilty of a misdemeanor CVC 22658(g)(1)(C).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    8,649

    Default Re: Wrongfully Charged a Drop Fee

    But that point is moot. They dropped his car. He wants to know if he's still out the 1/2 tow fee. The answer is yes.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wrongfully Charged a Drop Fee

    But he is educated now, should he face this situation again.

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