Don't Be A Victim of Bandit Tow Trucks
Bandit tow drivers are unauthorized people that cruise city streets looking for accident victims or vehicle breakdowns and they are a costly threat for motorists. Bandit towers or their associates may be exceedingly smooth and accommodating or they may try to use the confusion of the moment and intimidate motorist into allowing your vehicle to be towed.
If you are involved in an accident and you need roadside assistance or your vehicle needs to be towed, you can take control over the situation, but you need to be firm and wait for an authorized tow. The Los Angeles Fire Department suggests the following tips for motorists.
Ask the firefighter or paramedic at your accident to call for an Official Police Tow or your motor club, such as AAA.
Beware of anyone who arrives at the scene of the accident and offers advice regarding towing, insurance coverage, attorney services, waiver of deductibles, medical services or providing a free rental car. Often someone other than a tow truck driver appears first to attempt to convince the motorist to use his services. This way they evade the prohibition against a tow truck arriving at an accident scene unsummoned. Once an agreement is made, they will call the tow driver.
Take control; call for the tow truck. Ask the dispatch operator which tow company is expected to arrive. Do not accept service from a tow truck that arrives on the scene unsummoned. You may lose control of where your car is towed.
Look for a uniformed tow truck driver with arm patches, a truck with several large, highly visible decals representing either an Official Police Garage or motor club that was called.
If you do not have a repair location to which the vehicle can be towed, have it taken to the tow facility where it can be put in storage until the insurance company can be contacted. Never let the tow truck driver pick the repair facility
Towing Operation Business Permit Required.
The Los Angeles Police Commission regulates all towing companies in the City of Los Angeles. Under the law, no person shall engage in, manage, conduct or operate a towing operation business in the City of Los Angeles without a written permit from the Board of Police Commissioners. Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 103.204.
The LAPD has set up a hotline for complaints about tow truck operators. If you feel you have been victimized by a towing company or you feel a company has demonstrated unethical and illegal business practices, please to call the Tow Hotline at (323) 680-4-TOW (4869).