ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - From time to time we've all had the bad luck to have been towed. But usually, if you call the tow truck, you have control over the process. It's when we are towed without our consent that charges for towing then storage can get high.
This category of towing is called "non-consensual towing." This happens in a few cases, say, you've been pulled over, perhaps you've been ticketed or arrested, and your vehicle gets towed.
Or, you park on private property and walk across the street and shop, come back and find, oops, wasn't supposed to park there and your car has been towed. Either way, you have to find it and then pay the price to get it back.
So even in the case of non-consensual towing you will owe the towing bill and the tab for storing your vehicle until you track it down. It can get really expensive. And sometimes there are some unscrupulous places that will take advantage of your misfortune. Not every place but some.
Call for Action, our volunteer group, sent us this information from Cost Helper who writes that towing and storage by a public agency can range from $100 to $1000. Recovering a vehicle that was towed from private property can get up to $2,000. So you want to know what you're doing to avoid this. Fees depend on size of vehicle, length of storage time and accompanying fines.
So what do you need to know to keep costs down? First, if you're parking, seriously, check signs on the lot to make sure you are OK to park there. And, no, you can't just run across the street and assume it's OK to park in a different retailer's lot. Second, if you're in a collision, call your insurance company for a towing referral. Third, if that's not an option and you call a company on your own, ask on the phone how much it'll cost you. If you are roadside waiting for tow, make sure the one that arrives is in fact the one that you called.
Now last section here. If your car is missing and it's been towed, call the police from that area. Look on the sign that said don't park there in the first place and call the tow company listed on the sign.
Have this at the ready - your car's vehicle identification number, proof of ownership and by ready to pay fines and fees.