OOIDA member fights for tow bill charged before Mother’s Day ’07

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 5/9/2008

Julie Harned hopes Mother’s Day 2008 turns out better for her than the 2007 holiday did.

Harned, an OOIDA member and co-owner of the DanTrans LLC trucking company of Sturgis, MI, was stuck with a $5,500 towing bill after a DanTrans driver hauling a load of Mother’s Day flowers hit a bridge in Chicago last May.

Harned said a truck shop and tow service unfairly overbilled them, so she pursued a civil lawsuit. The court ruled in her favor, but a year later, the shop still hasn’t repaid them.

“I’m struggling as it is,” Harned said, adding that the total cost for missed loads and overbilling was $18,000.

According to Harned, Kelly’s Truck Center towed a DanTrans truck and reefer on May 10, 2007, to the mechanic shop after the accident, offering to make repairs to the company reefer. Kelly’s workers locked the DanTrans truck behind a gate and wouldn’t allow the driver back into the cab until the bill was paid more than two weeks later, she said.

A Kelly’s driver hauled the DanTrans reefer loaded with Mother’s Day flowers to a Wal-Mart in the area, damaging the load when stopping abruptly, Harned said.

Managers at Wal-Mart stores rejected the load, negating the load and costing DanTrans another $500 to dispose of the flowers.

“We have a statement from the Wal-Mart manager stating that the flowers were all over and off the racks,” Harned said. “Drivers were in back trying to pick up the flowers.”

The Harneds won a $6,000 judgment against Kelly’s Truck Center in Cook County Circuit Court. It was later reduced to $2,045.

The owner of Kelly’s Truck Center in Melrose Park, IL, wasn’t available Thursday, May 8, and didn’t respond to three phone messages left by Land Line on Friday.

The Better Business Bureau rates Kelly’s Truck Center as “unsatisfactory,” and also stated that the shop had not answered any complaints.

The shop hasn’t responded to Harned’s requests for payments and may owe thousands more with interest, Julie Harned said. Kelly’s has 30 days from late April to decide whether they’ll appeal the judgment.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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