Healing those towing pains

Getting your car towed is never a pleasant ordeal. However, if this unfortunate event ever happens, be prepared to struggle through the hassle of a lifetime.

If you have not experienced the joys of an impounded vehicle, consider yourself lucky. Many towing services are known for their poor customer service and lack of respect for those coming to claim their vehicles.

“I went to a party, and my friend told me it would be fine to park outside a bar across the street. When I came back, my car was gone,” sophomore Debbie Ross said. “They were really rude, and the place was really hard to find. They couldn’t even find my car for a while.”

As frustrating as an “out-of-car experience” can be, there are a few things to remember when dealing with this type of business:

Bring the vehicle’s registration and proof of insurance.

Check the car’s ownership. If it is not in your name, be prepared to have the owner sign and notarize a hard copy contract for the car’s release. Facsimiles will not be accepted.

According to Florida statute 713.78, “A wrecker operator recovering, towing or storing vehicles or vessels is not liable for damages connected with such services.” Check your car anyway to make sure nothing is missing before signing any paperwork.

Make sure the company is charging you correctly. There are set fees and guidelines to which these places must adhere. Refer to the maximum non-consent towing rates of your specific county.

If you feel you have been wrongfully towed and wish for fees to be waived, be prepared to show compelling evidence to support your claim. Towing services generally don’t have time to listen to your plea.

Get your vehicle out as soon as possible or you will incur extra holding fees of $10-$40 per day.

If you have questions or concerns, call the manager or administrative head of the location your car was towed from before going to the garage. They will be able to provide more help than the towing service.

Bring exact change in cash. Many towing services will only accept currency as payment and claim to have no change when you hand over $200 instead of $190.

In general, it is important to act calmly. As rude and unforgiving as the employees may seem and as frustrated as you are about your vehicle, it is counterproductive to pick fights or develop an attitude. Some companies will use every excuse to keep your car impounded, and your lack of cooperation might be one of them.

To prevent the hassle of getting your car taken away, check the expiration date of your parking decal and make sure you are parking in the right spot.

Student housing facilities such as Campus Lodge and Avalon Heights enforce strict towing rules upon both residents and non-residents.

“They need the proper decals, number one. If they have the proper decal, they’re not going to get towed,” said Campus Lodge employee and third-year student Gina Menara. “If they get towed, they usually know it’s their fault.”