Tow truck operators urge regulation Aim is to improve companies' image

November 15, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

Harford towing company owners and employees say they want to change their public image -- so they're supporting legislation that would license and regulate their business.

"The public has this image of some fat old man with his belly hanging out and charging a million dollars for a tow," said Bob Alexander of Harford Towing Co.

"We want to change that image. We're out there to do a public service, not gouge customers.

"In the case of an accident, we want to make their towing experience pleasant, so if something else goes wrong, like a flat tire, maybe the next time they'll call us again."

Mr. Alexander and Billy Tart of Tart's Towing Co. said that regulating the industry, and creating a rotating list of towing companies the Sheriff's Office will call to the scene of accidents, will make the public feel more secure.

Now, Mr. Tart said, a customer who complains about the amount a tow company charges has little recourse, except to file a civil lawsuit, "which is usually too much trouble."

Under the proposed regulations, a complaint would be taken to an appeals board that would include law enforcement and towing company representatives.

A towing company that improperly charged someone an outrageous sum could be punished by being removed from the rotating list.

Although the license fee has not been formally sent to the County Council for consideration, a $100 fee, plus $100 per tow truck, was the amount discussed last Tuesday at a public hearing on the bill. Mr. Tart noted such fees are used in other Maryland counties and in Baltimore.

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