Price Check: $5,600 Towing Bill

5:18 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) - When a towing company owner came to 5 on Your Side with a $5,600 bill and said the price his competitor was charging was outrageous, we became curious. He didn't want to be identified, but he claimed the bill was excessive and his competitor was getting the majority of calls when the Missouri Highway Patrol handled the accident.

"I have never in my life seen a bill like this," he said.

The bill was to recover a Jeep SUV that ended up on the other side of a guardrail on southbound Interstate 55 at I-255. The towing portion cost $700, but the company also brought in the grand daddy of trucks; a 60 ton rotator with two operators. That cost $2,550.

"That [60 ton] truck is made for the recovery and towing of tractor trailers. It's far too much truck to have out there to recover a little Jeep," said the disgruntled tow truck owner.

The invoice also had a $637 fuel charge and $500 administrative fee. But what really got under our viewer's craw was the price for the entire job; $5,600.

Mark Miner, the owner of Miner's Towing stands by the bill and says the guy complaining is just jealous. The job he said needed the 60 ton rotator and it was his truck that saved the 2014 Jeep from excessive damage, and kept the highway open. He says he's not the cheapest in town for good reason.

"If we were the cheapest we couldn't afford the very best equipment available and training," said Miner.

The 2014 Jeep cost about $24,000. That means the towing bill is slightly less than a quarter of the car's value. Enterprise, which owns the vehicle, paid the bill and told 5 on Your Side there were no red flags with the invoice.

The Missouri Highway Patrol uses Miner's Towing a lot, but a spokesperson told us they don't play favorites and they've never had a complaint about the company.

This tow truck issue got us thinking about hiring the right tow truck after a car accident or breakdown. If a car is blocking a highway or major road, you might not have much of a choice who performs the service. Often, police or Highway Patrol will dispatch who they want.

However, you can pick your own company in other situations. So, it's definitely worth investigating who has the best rates and the best reputation before you need one.

Reputation matters. Call around and ask for details on pricing, including if the company accepts credit cards, and if they are insured. Once you've found a reliable company with a good reputation place the number in your vehicle or add their number to your phone's contacts list.

If you have a camera on your phone take pictures. You'll want to capture some images of your vehicle before the tow. This documentation could help if any unexpected or unexplained damages occur.

Depending on the situation, your insurance policy may cover vehicle towing in the case of an accident or break down. Insurance companies may even have preferred towing providers they can dispatch on your behalf.


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