Cops: Detroit Woman’s $9,000 Tow Bill Not Illegal [VIDEO]
A Detroit woman who received an excessively high towing bill after her car was involved in that massive, 160-car pileup on I-696 last week has been making headlines throughout the state.
Now, the Michigan State Police Department is saying the tow company that issued the massive $9,000 bill didn't act illegally. As it turns out, tow truck companies that are not summoned to accidents by police have free reign to charge whatever they want.
Kellie Rockwell got caught up in the massive pileup after whiteout conditions took drivers by surprise on Super Bowl Sunday.
Rockwell Assumed the Tow Company Had Been Summoned by Police
A company known as 10-G Towing is the company that came to Kellie's rescue.
Rockwell tells WJBK that she assumed the tow truck company had been called by the Michigan State Police. That turned out to be a big mistake.
“The tow driver just walked up to our car, asked if we wanted him to get us out and we said yes because we assumed they were with the police,” Rockwell said.
Attorney Steve Lehto tells the TV station that the Michigan Supreme Court struck down a law that made it illegal for companies to charge excessive rates, rates that go well beyond the value of goods or services provided.
"But that law's gone now, it's been gone now for more than 20 years," Lehto says in the video below. "As a result of that, a lot of unscrupulous merchants are learning, 'Hey, we can do what we want because there is so little recourse if we get caught.'"
Lehto says in a situation like this, consumers should ask the tow truck driver or ask the police if the towing company was summoned by the police. If it was not, it's important to find out how much the company plans to charge before agreeing to let them tow your car.
Rockwell's insurance company negotiated her bill down to $2,500, but she says she hopes Michigan law changes in the future in order to prevent this type of thing from happening to other drivers.