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Tow Company Warning and How to Protect Yourself When Towed

See how a tow company damaged a Toyota and what they tried to do to avoid responsibility for the damage their employee caused.

Tow Company Car Damage Woes

Rather than adding insult to injury, many vehicle towing services actually add more injury to the existing damage of their clients’ vehicles.

Perhaps it’s because they can always claim the vehicle was already damaged that way. Perhaps it’s because rarely does a customer ever discover that some of their billed damage is attributable to bad service AFTER an accident has happened because the garage and towing company are in cahoots. Or, perhaps it’s because the job description does not exactly engender the brightest minds or the best moral character.

Whatever, the reason(s) is/are, the fact of the matter is that you will find numerous complaints about towing companies and the service they provide ranks right up there with some chain vehicle lube centers and timeshare salesmen.

However, this does not mean to imply that ALL towing companies are bad---just that like when it comes to having your vehicle serviced, you also have to take some precautions when having your vehicle towed.

A Tow-Damaged Toyota

Case in Point: A recent Toyota Maintenance YouTube video shows what happened when a tow truck driver decided to ignore the built-in towing brackets on the underside of a 2004 Toyota Matrix XR and get creative by inserting tow hooks into whatever underside body holes he could find.

The result of the creative tow hook insertion is underside body damage that will eventually lead to water damage to the interior of the car over time if the damage is not repaired.

Related article: Consumer Reports Reveals How to Find Hidden Problems in a Used Car Before Buying It

The Video

Here’s what one mechanic found as evidence of a bad towing service rendered and how the towing service owner tried to weasel out of any responsibility:

Tow company damaged customer's car

Protect Yourself

Granted, the majority of the time when you need a towing service does not easily allow for enough time to do a thorough background/reviews check or helpful recommendations of who to call. However, there are some measures you can take to lessen the chances of bad service and/or outright scams.

Call your insurance provider while on the scene of an accident or break-down. The service agent will often have a number for you to call or will even send a vetted service to your car.

Avoid a tow truck service that just “happens to be in the vicinity” ---often these are predatory services with police/EMS scanners on busy rush hour traffic fishing for an easy mark to charge exorbitant fees for their services.

Don’t use a shop recommended by a tow truck driver---the risk of potential conflicts of interest and/or scamming is too great.

Consider enrolling with a roadside assistance program that takes responsibility for their vetted tow truck recommendations in case of damage.

If you see a tow truck driver cause damage to your vehicle, do not accept a cash payment upfront---doing so could prevent legal action down the road if the damage turns out to be more substantial than the payout.

Take photos of your car before the tow truck begins to do their service. Be sure to go all around the vehicle and especially underneath.

Always remember, just because you hand your keys over to someone else, this does not remove you from any responsibility should anything bad happen while your car is in their care. In other words, there is always a risk using any towing service---even a legitimate one.

Most important of all: Get out of the way---tow truck drivers have a dangerous job due to the risk of passing-by drivers careening into the not just police/EMS vehicles, but tow trucks as well. Stand well away from the vehicle even though you might be tempted to get up-close to make sure they are treating your vehicle like they should.

Related article: Oil Change Customer Sued for Death in Car Service Center Incident

COMING UP NEXT: Do Not Buy a Used Rental Car for This Reason

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pixabay