NJ fines two tow companies under anti-predatory tow law

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 12/30/2011

New Jersey may be notorious for occasionally high tow bills – but the Garden State is cracking down on tow companies that allegedly abuse their authority.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs recently fined three tow companies for improper practices as defined by the state’s Predatory Towing Prevention Act.

New Jersey filed administrative fines against Truchan Bros. Auto & Towing of Jersey City, NJ, for allegedly conducting towing operations at 34 parking lots in Hudson County, NJ, despite not having contracts with owners of the parking lots. A.N.S. Towing & Recovery of Irvington, NJ, is accused of conducting towing operations at two parking lots in Newark despite not having a contract or proper signage at the lots.

Truchan Bros. faces a civil penalty of $86,000, and A.N.S. faces penalties of $7,000. Both companies have the option of contesting the charges and requesting a formal hearing.

In addition to the three companies cited, New Jersey’s division has sent warning letters to nine additional towing companies regarding improper practices related to the state’s Predatory Towing Prevention Act.

Companies warned include A.T.Towing & Auto Transport of Perth Amboy; All Tow Transport of Harrison; Bergen County Towing of Tenafly; Citywide Towing of Hawthorne; Jaylynn Towing & Recovery of Perth Amboy; Merger Towing and ABC Towing of Fort Lee; R&D Autobody and Towing of Dunellen; RK Towing of East Brunswick; and Rich’s Towing Services Inc., of North Brunswick.

“It’s high time tow truck operators respected the rights of New Jersey’s motorists,” said Thomas Calcagni, director of the state’s division of consumer affairs, according to a news release. “Consumers should not have to guess whether parking in a particular area will place their vehicle in jeopardy.”

Under the anti-predatory towing law, New Jersey tow companies are not allowed to troll or cruise for vehicles parked without authorization, or to refuse an insurance company check or debit card, credit card for towing or storage services. They also can’t charge for a towing or storage service not on the state’s official schedule of services, nor can they charge “an unreasonable or excessive fee.”

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