8 Tips to Avoid Towing Scams in Ottawa
There are Tow Truck Scams?
It’s been such a problem in Ottawa that as of January 1st of this year, towing companies are now subject to the rules and regulations set forth by the Consumer Protection Act of 2002. They are required to post prices clearly online, provide detailed invoices and disclose all locations. But even with all these precautions, fraudulent activity continues to occur.
It is speculated that the incident allows a certain range of under the table crime since most of the time, you’re out of options when you call for a tow truck. Even though it’s easy to just take the first option that pops up on your smartphone, it’s safer to know the signs of a possible scam. These scams lead to crazy inflated prices that take their victims by surprise.
What Can I Watch Out For?
To best protect your wallet from fraud or inflated fees, you need to make sure you understand the parameters of the interaction and how to steer clear of any shady pitfalls.
Ensure you know exactly who you’re working with and what their fees are. If they don’t have a website that clearly states those prices, they can change their mind anytime they’d like. Without a written contract, with your signature and no named price, the freedom is theirs to lay down the parameters. When seeking assistance, be sure to define these limits and rules before anything else occurs.
If the need for flat tire repair or roadside assistance was due to an accident, you will want to make sure your insurance covers the towing service. Understanding how your insurance deals with towing will help you make a better decision. They will likely cover trustworthy companies and will likely cover a portion of the expected costs.
Although showing up to save the day is a great moment in movies, it’s scarier in reality. If someone shows up to help you, unsolicited, it is best to not accept these services. Even though they seem like a nice towing operator, this miraculous gesture may be in hopes of pocketing extra cash.
If you’ve found a company to work with, make sure to get all the transactions on paper. You will want note of all fees including company name, storage, towing and other possible miscellaneous charges. These fees may change without notice if they are not secured in writing. At Canadian Towing, they guarantee to provide all of the above without question for tow services and roadside assistance.
Other than getting a copy of the itemized receipt, you want to be sure you know where your car is going. There have been severe scam cases in Ottawa that have resulted in full auto theft. This is another item that is good to get in writing.
When you contact the company, be sure to ask for a truck description. When the tow truck shows up to help with tire repair or just getting your car out of a sticky situation, double check the company name on the side or lookout for clear markings.
If you have already contacted the company but still things seem shady, don’t hesitate to contact the police department. Refusing to provide receipts, leave the scene or comply with regulations is major red flag behavior and should be alerted to the authorities immediately.
There have been instances of tow truck bandits collecting personal information to complete insurance type scams later. They only need your name and contact information, beyond that may be infringing and dangerous. If they try to get more, call your insurance company and be sure they give the go ahead to relay claim numbers.
Stay Safe and Save Money
As a consumer, you need to know your rights just in case something happens. These scams may seem farfetched, but there have been numerous instances over the past years. If you’ve fallen victim to these scams you may want to contact a fraud department or the Better Business Bureau to get your money back. Contesting ill charges is always a wise decision.
There are so many companies out there, it can be hard to differentiate the trustworthy ones. Canadian Towing has maintained a positive reputation amongst their customers for their adherence to regulations and their kind service. If you’re a local to the Ottawa area, you may find this company a perfect hero to a tough situation.