'Just wrong,' fumes mom hit with $450 fee after car was towed

FOLLOWING her daughter's involvement in a car accident, a mother appeared in court to dispute the fees charged by a towing company for the wreckage.

The mother was one of several parents who complained about a towing company with a city contract in Taylor, Michigan - located 20 minutes southwest of Detroit.

Drivers complained about towing charges after a company took their vehicles to an impound lotCredit: WDIV 4A mother said she disputed the charges - now she is in court over the feesCredit: WDIV 4

"This is time; it's stress," Michele Plummer, a mother whose daughter was involved in an accident, told Detroit-based NBC affiliate WDIV.

"We work hard for our money."

Plummer said her daughter was left with a possible concussion after the accident.

Area Towing, a company with a city contract, towed the car from the scene.

The contract grants the company exclusive rights when police need a vehicle towed from public streets, according to the station.

But drivers said the fees assigned by the company are too high.

Plummer claimed she was initially quoted $285 to tow the vehicle back to the family's private home.

But she said the car didn't show up at home.

"I then contacted Area Towing to find out, 'Where is the car?'" Plummer told the station.

"They then said that it was at their impound yard."

‘It’s an error,’ rages driver who paid $50 to park legally but was towed & fined $200 – getting answers was ‘impossible’

The new rate was $450, she claimed.

"I'm down at the impound yard arguing to get her car when I should have been home with my child, that could have had a concussion," Plummer said.

"That's just wrong."

Shane Anders, the owner of the towing company, said that the prices compensate for dozens of drivers who fail to pay their fines and don't have car insurance.

"We're not a tow company," Anders told the station.

"We're a police impound facility."

What to do if your car is towed

Wrongfully or not, retrieving a towed vehicle can be a hassle.

If your vehicle is towed after parking in a "No Parking" zone or other legitimate reason, there are a few steps to take to get it back.

Steps to take when your car is towed:

Try to figure out why your car was towed. Did you not see a posted "No Parking" sign? Did you miss a car payment? Did you return to a lot where you have unpaid citations? Finding the reason can narrow down the phone numbers to dial.
Locate the vehicle. Most states, cities, or counties require towing companies to leave some form of contact information via a posted sign or sent by mail.
Recovery dates and times depend on the company that towed the vehicle, but those times will be posted to the website or can be recited by a representative.
Pay the fees. Be careful to be as prompt as possible, as some tow yards may charge storage fees by the day.

If you feel your vehicle was wrongfully towed, contesting the action can be done with the following steps:

Be prompt - many states have a small window of time where it's acceptable to file a complaint against a company that wrongfully towed the vehicle.
Gather supporting documents: photos, emails, receipts, police reports, and witness statements if applicable. The more evidence, the better.
Get familiar with your local laws, as laws for towing companies vary per state.
Try speaking with the towing company. Sometimes it may have been a simple oversight, and the matter can be resolved quickly.
Contact the Justice of the Peace in your area, as they may have more insight or resources to help. They are often utilized for towing cases.
Talk to a lawyer. Many lawyers have free case consultations, and depending on the case, it may be worth it to utilize a lawyer.

Source: Oregon Department of Justice, National General, Rak Law Firm

Anders admitted the charges were high, but the company was forced to raise them after other drivers failed to pay.

Plummer's credit card company also refused to pay the fees associated with her daughter's towing.

The charging squabble is not the centerpiece of a court battle between the towing owner and the mother.

"I enjoy being tested, and that's the fairest place you can be tested," Anders said about going to court.

"I believe in the system. I don't always agree with the system. But 99% of the time, it's agreed with us."

Area Towing didn't immediately respond to The U.S. Sun's request for comment.


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