YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The state Division of Consumer Affairs has warned two Bergen County towing companies about predatory practices and filed charges that could cost a Jersey City tower $86,000 in fines.
PHOTO: Courtesy ABC Towing, Bergen Boulevard, Fort Lee
Truchan Bros. Auto & Towing, Inc., of Jersey City, is accused of conducting towing operations at 34 parking lots in Jersey City and elsewhere in Hudson County despite not having contracts with the owners of those lots.
The company is also accused of towing from a lot that lacked adequate signage.
Also charged is an Irvington company, A.N.S. Towing & Recovery, of Irvington. Both companies can request a formal hearing on the administrative charges.
“It’s high time tow truck operators respected the rights of New Jersey’s motorists,” said DCA Director Thomas R. Calcagni. “Consumers should not have to guess whether parking in a particular area will place their vehicle in jeopardy.
New Jersey’s Predatory Towing Prevention Act requires towing companies to treat consumers fairly by posting highly visible signs in lots clearly explaining where and when parking is not allowed, the penalties for unauthorized parking, and the phone number and address of where cars are towed.
The division also sent warning letter to nine towing companies, after meeting with their representatives and receiving assurances that they would immediately correct any improper practices and abide by the Predatory Towing Prevention Act going forward.
Those companies include Bergen County Towing of Tenafly and Merger Towing (doing business as ABC Towing) on Bergen Boulevard in Fort Lee.
Truchan Bros. and A.N.S. boost to six the total of towing companies the DCA has taken action against since March, when it filed the State’s first-ever lawsuit under the Predatory Towing Prevention Act.
New Jersey’s Predatory Towing Prevention Act prohibits towing companies from following:
· Failing to release a vehicle that has been hooked or lifted, but has not actually been removed from private property, upon request of the vehicle’s owner;
· Trolling (cruising) for vehicles parked without authorization;
· Paying for information about vehicles parked without authorization;
· Refusing to accept an insurance company check or a debit card, charge card, credit card, or check for towing or storage services, if the towing company ordinarily accepts such payment at its place of business;
· Charging for a towing or storage service not on the Division’s schedule of services; and
· Charging an unreasonable or excessive fee.
MORE INFO: DCA towing brief
Consumers who believe their vehicles have been illegally towed from private parking lots should file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs. GO TO: www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov, or call 1-800-242-5846 (toll free in NJ) or 973-504-6200.
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