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Perhaps your car has broken down on the way to a crucial business meeting and you simply cannot get it started again. Perhaps your battery dies when you’re driving to collect your kids from school, or your tire blows while you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood after dark.
All of these situations are frustrating and potentially upsetting. When you call a local towing firm, you want to believe the expert who arrives on the scene will be honest, ethical and have only your best interests at heart.
In most cases, this will be the case. In others, though, tow truck drivers can take advantage of your vulnerability.
Namely, they will demand a higher rate of pay than you may have been quoted on your initial phone call or charge more per mile towed than the average. Prices vary from one company to another, but you could expect to pay between $30 and $100 for a tow of five to seven miles.
A 40-mile tow generally costs from $100 to $250 and a 100-mile tow will set you back between $250 and $600 on average.
The issue of pricing
While some of these charges may seem somewhat high, you have to bear in mind that the technician helping to remove your car from the scene of an accident or mechanical fault has his or her own overheads. Their vehicle costs money to operate, they have insurance to cover, their fuel and equipment has a price and more.
On top of this, if you call for help in the middle of the night, the operator may be promised better pay for working unsociable hours or overtime. Any and all rates are given have to reflect these factors.
While few towing and roadside assistance companies will list their charges on their website, they should be happy to offer a quote over the phone. One option you have is to call a few local firms and compare their prices, though depending on your schedule and location this may be a luxury you lack.
A legitimate solution
Unfortunately, there are towing firms or individuals with the right equipment out there operating without the necessary credentials. They may pay no heed to the regulations and likely will not possess a license.
They may offer to help in passing, prepare your vehicle to be towed – and refuse to release it unless you pay extortionate fees. You would then have to either pay, try to negotiate or call the police.
One easy way to avoid this is to never accept help from a tow truck operator you haven’t called out, as they could be involved with such predatory towing.
The power of research
It’s vital to do your research before you make that first phone call and agree to a service. Take a look at the company’s website. Are they certified? Are they fully insured, licensed and bonded? Take a few minutes to check and set your mind at ease.
Online reviews are another valuable resource. Towing firms’ social media accounts can provide you with essential details on how reliable, ethical and fair they are, based on previous customers’ feedback.
However, not all legitimate companies have a social profile on Facebook, Twitter etc.. Their services could still have been reviewed at a dedicated website though and should appear high up in search engine results.
The company website should include customer testimonials too. These may be in written or video form.
If you’re involved in an accident and have to contact your insurance company, they are likely to set you up with a reputable towing firm anyway, eliminating the risk of unreasonable charges.
Calling a reputable, certified towing company like J Towing Services should be your priority when in need of towing services and roadside assistance.