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By Tow Pro Staff

Thornhill, Ontario -- October 18, 2017 -- The Canadian Automobile Association South Central Ontario (CCA SCO) is calling on the Ontario government to make provincial regulation of the towing industry a priority.

The Ontario-based organization, which is affiliated to the CCA, said the move comes after “continued instances” of “harrowing” stories from motorists involving “unscrupulous” tow truck drivers on Ontario roads.

In a statement released today (October 18) CCA SCO said while changes to the Consumer Protection Act took effect on January 1, 2017, problems persist with consumers being charged excess amounts and/or tow truck drivers not adhering to the new laws.

The organization claims that over the course of 2017 there have been several media reports sharing stories of consumers experiencing issues with tow truck drivers, such as being unable to pay by credit card and not being taken to their destination of choice.

"There currently isn't a centralized forum for consumers to file complaints if they have been overcharged or subject to other problems with service," said Elliott Silverstein, Manager of Government Relations at CAA SCO.

“As a result, motorists are reaching out to police, municipalities and other outlets leading to an inconsistent process across Ontario. Provincial regulation would ensure much needed consistency and clarity for consumers.”

In August 2017, CAA partnered with research firm Ipsos to conduct a survey of Ontario drivers around their knowledge of their rights and the rules and regulations for the towing industry.

The organization said the research indicated that motorists are largely unfamiliar with their rights and do not feel overly protected. It found that the drivers surveyed supported the provincial government establishing rules and regulations that would be consistent in every municipality across the province.

Results from the survey included; 51 percent of respondents said they felt educated about their rights if they required assistance today; 53 percent of respondents were not aware that costs and requirements for towing differ across Ontario; and only one in 10 were aware that tow trucks are regulated at the municipal level.

When asked about their concerns using a towing service; 76 percent of respondents said "being charged an unreasonably high fee"; 75 percent said "having to wait a long time"; 64 percent cited "being misled and told by drivers that insurance will cover costs when it does not"; and 61 percent were concerned about "being towed to a different location than the one specified.”

In addition, 86 percent of those surveyed supported the establishment of consistent rules and regulations at the provincial level, including training and licensing, in every municipality. That figure increased to 93 percent among respondents who had previously used towing services for a collision.

CAA SCO said its representatives are actively meeting with government and opposition party MPPs to address “important consumer safety issues and the need for provincial regulation of the towing industry.”

More information about the CCA SCO can be found on its website at www.caasco.com.