New hotline to tackle cowboy tow truck drivers

The establishment of the hotline followed a recent newspaper investigation which revealed the lucrative and deceptive tactics companies are going to in order to rip off motorists.

The Sunday Mail reported some companies had charged motorists up to $1000 for towed cars to be released from storage, and some claimed they had been charged between $66-$120 per day if they were unable to afford the towing bill.

The report claimed tow companies sign contracts for exclusive towing rights over vacant lots or car parks attached to unit blocks, retail and commercial premises in areas where parking is scarce, with some landlords and body corporates receiving as much as 20 percent of the profits for the service.

Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey told the Courier Mail yesterday, he would investigate the extent of the issues within the industry.

“I’m absolutely livid to see these cowboy operators in the tow truck industry are treating Queenslanders with contempt and ripping them off,” Mr Bailey said.

RACQ’s Steve Spalding said unlike crash towing, which could legally only charge a maximum of $337.15 and included three days of storage, towing cars from private property was unregulated.

“Towing at a charge of $600 or more to recover a car is unwarranted and equivalent to extortion in some situations,” Mr Spalding said.

“This has gone on for far too long, every day motorists are being taken for a ride and we need an outcome that is fair for both parties.

“RACQ is supportive of the Government looking into practical solutions. We can’t have situations where people are left vulnerable late at night on their own without a car to get home.”

Mr Spalding said in the meantime motorists needed to check signage and follow any conditions – if it’s not clear, park elsewhere.

The State Government hotline number is 1800 681 636.