A Northland woman received a tow bill for more than $1,400 after she needed a tow 14.4 miles.
Raylene DeSuza feels taken advantage of.
“The insurance adjuster called me and he said, ‘Did you look at that tow, it’s $1,435,’” DeSuza explained.
She was shocked. She called Northland Towing after she was hit by a driver who drove through a stop sign at 39th and Forest in Midtown. She requested her car be taken to Precision Collision in Gladstone.
“They put the car on and told me not to worry and everything was going to be OK,” she said. “They said, ‘You have insurance, right?’”
Her car is currently at the auto body shop, but for two days it was unaccounted for.
DeSuza believes she was charged storage for two days when the towing company assured her they would bring her car directly to the auto body shop she requested.
We called the man who towed her car but he did not answer. We visited the address registered to Northland Towing, but it does not appear to be in business.
Still seeking answers, we tracked down the owner and went to his home in Kansas City. He did not answer.
Northland Towing did not break any laws. There are very few regulations on tow companies in Missouri, which is why DeSuza said she is speaking up.
“It's just mean. It's like, why would you do something like that to somebody, and it's obvious to me now the way he was acting,” DeSuza said. “I feel taken advantage of. I was upset and I was vulnerable.”
41 Action News checked with six other local towing companies about estimates for a situation similar to DeSuza’s. The most expensive estimate was $300.
The BBB suggests asking a tow company up front for a price and what the rates are.
The towing industry is under investigation in Kansas City.
"It really comes down to there's really no regulation. There's no statutes to regulate what they do,” explained Eric Anderson, a special agent for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Anderson said investigators have worked for years to bring regulations to the towing industry. The goal is to crack down on the companies who charge outrageous rates to the drivers who have insurance. Anderson said often tow companies will charge different rates, based on if you are insured or uninsured.
“There really isn't a way for them to not pay the tow bill, they have no recourse, they have to pay it,” Anderson said. “The tow companies know they have to pay it, so really that's their only option."
DeSuza filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
“It’s just wrong to do that, and I’m not just going to let it go. I’m just not going to let it go,” DeSuza said.
Lexi Sutter can be reached at email@example.com.