Towing companies have always been a scam.
The average American consumer is under a tremendous amount of pressure these days. The housing market is broken, inflation is on the rise and car prices are going through the roof. To be a car owner in America is getting more expensive by the day, and we're not only talking about insurance and service costs, but the cost of getting in an accident too. Just ask Redford Michigan resident Kellie Rockwell, who was involved in a massive vehicle pileup on I-696 with over 50 other vehicles.
Rockwell had to be towed from the accident scene, and when the bill eventually came, she was dumbfounded.
"You just heard one thump after another after another," she said, "and you just see vehicles going every which way." Rockwell says when describing her traumatic experience. After the accident occurred, local towing company 10G Towing and Recovery appeared on the scene and started assisting people who were stuck in the snow. "The tow driver just walked up to our car, asked if we wanted him to get us out and we said yes because we assumed they were with the police," she continued.
As it transpires, 10G was not affiliated with the cops, and slapped Rockwell with a sickening $9,000 towing bill. That's enough money to buy a decent second-hand Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The bill, which totaled exactly $9,048 was broken down into the following miscellaneous costs: $800 for labor, $525 for storage, $50 for fuel, a $2,195 towing charge, a $395 COVID fee, a $200 mileage charge, a $1,900 "gate/admin" fee, a $250 "extra person" fee, a $650 charge for special equipment, a $275 winch fee, and a $300 flatbed charge. To add insult to a bunch of absolutely made up figures and costs, 10G then added a 20 percent processing fee to get to the grand total. Rockwell was dumbfounded: "My vehicle wasn't that damaged. I wasn't in a ditch. It wasn't wrapped around a pole," Rockwell said. "I was on the freeway. I was simply rear-ended."
Rockwell's insurer, Progressive, refused to pay the insane amount, and the car remained at the towing company. Retired Detroit Police Lieutenant and insurance investigator Tom Berry says this type of solicitation at accident scenes is illegal. "They need to create some laws in Lansing that protect the public from this," Berry said. "Because it's the public that's paying and they're gonna pay (and) pay (and) pay and that's why you pay such high insurance rates," he says. After being approached by 7 Action News, 10G dropped the bill down to $2,500, which her insurer then paid. Tow truck drivers have never had a good reputation, and this kind of behavior doesn't help.