Toronto, ontario -- Setembember 15, 2017 --
Tow Truck Drivers in the Toronto area may be facing some new rules surrounding towing rates.
The city's municipal licensing and standards division is recommending setting a fixed towing rate of $250—up from between $166-$188. Tow truck operators may also have the option of charging an additional $100 fee for "recovery services," if a vehicle needs to be winched into position before it can be towed.
There have been issues in the past of tow truck drivers overcharging those they tow for. In an effort to solve this particular problem, the driver and tow truck driver will have to agree to a service cost before the damaged vehicle is moved.
The city's Carleton Grant says protecting drivers who may be upset or in a state of shock largely motivates the rule changes.
"You need that certainty that it's not going to end up at $1,000," Grant told CBC Toronto.
Tow truck drivers will be required to set out a list of how much fees cost. However, rates will now be tied to inflation. As well, tow truck operators will be able to charge $3.25 per kilometer once they drive more than five kilometers beyond city limits.
Recently, CBC Toronto noted of one man who was charged more than $800 for a tow after being assured he would be reimbursed for the cost. The reimbursement, however, was never given. This is one of many questionable tactics some tow truck drivers have employed in order to make more money out of a job.
Doug Nelson, Executive Director of the Bracebridge, Ontario-based Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO), welcomes the city's changes. "Toronto's written a lot of good stuff in there [the new rules]." But he doesn’t think it will be enough.
"It doesn't work now, and it's not going to work," Nelson said.
Nelson says this is the case because tow truck operators caught breaking the rules in one city can just set up in a neighbouring city. Nelson says the PTAO wants to see the province control tow truck licences, so there's more to lose by having a licence revoked.
"The consumer needs to be protected," said Nelson.
Grant says the city has been working with the province on the proposed changes. Queen's Park introduced new consumer protection laws for the towing industry in 2015, which came into effect at the beginning of this year.
While Nelson would like to see the province alone oversee the towing industry, Grant says the city has good reason to remain involved.
"We think we can provide that additional level of enforcement that the province may not be able to do," he said, noting the city works closely with police.
The city has dealt with an average of 150 complaints per year about tow truck operators in the last five years, statistics provided to CBC Toronto show. Charges have been filed in fewer than 500 of those cases.
If approved at committee next Monday, the changes require city council's approval before becoming enforceable on Nov. 1.