New roadside towing rules draw praise from Ontario Trucking Association

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Ontario Trucking Association offered praise to provincial leaders for championing a bill it says will help vehicle owners “gain some leverage over unscrupulous recovery operators.”

Among the changes, Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act 2014, requires tow and storage providers in Ontario to publicly disclose recovery rates. OTA says heavy-duty recovery rates and service levels have historically been a contentious issue between carriers and a small percentage of heavy-duty recovery companies. The new rules took effect Jan. 1.

“The passing of Bill 15 provides OTA with a new opportunity to assist OTA members in dealing with unfair heavy-duty recovery bills received in the province,” OTA president Stephen Laskowski said in a press release.

In addition to public disclosure of recovery rates, Bill 15 also includes a Consumers Bill of Rights;, establishes qualifications for tow and storage providers; accepts credit card payments from consumers; and requires that tow and storage services provided to customers be authorized.

The press release also stated that OTA “intends to investigate whether the actual bill heavy-duty recovery companies charge at roadside reflects the rates they are officially listing on their websites.”

The Ontario association is asking members to forward them scanned copies of all heavy-duty recovery invoices they received in 2016 and 2017, along with a description of the services provided. OTA will then do a comparison between geographical regions, types of services provided, and posted heavy-duty recovery rates. Invoices may be emailed to otatowing@ontruck.org.

“We expect to discover there are no issues with the vast majority of heavy-duty recovery companies. But, just like any other sector, it only takes a few bad apples to reflect poorly on an entire industry,” Laskowski stated.

In the U.S., The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association continues to address inflated towing fees related to heavy-duty towing and recovery. These efforts have produced changes to laws and regulations in a number of states and have led to multiple refunds to truck drivers who were overcharged.

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