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New Tow Trucks Rules Approved in Broward County
Consumer Protection a Priority
DATE: August 18, 2016  
MEDIA CONTACT:  Kimberly Maroe 
Public Information Manager, Broward County Commission 
PHONE: 954-357-8053

BROWARD COUNTY, FL - It's not exactly a selfie, but the series of photos will come in handy if you suspect your car has been damaged while being towed. 

Photographs of a vehicle's condition (front and back) prior to being towed and a photo confirming the violation that justifies the need to remove a vehicle is one of several revised tow truck industry regulations developed by Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen and passed by the County Commission. 

"These new regulations are to protect the consumer," said Commissioner Bogen.

Under the new rules, consumers will be able to voice complaints about tow truck companies to a hearing officer and if a towing company can't process a credit card for payment, the vehicle must be returned free of charge with payment billed at a later date.  If the mandated photos are not retained by the towing company, the vehicle owner must be provided a refund. 

The new regulations also allow the County to revoke a business license if a company is banned in another jurisdiction or if they violate the county regulations three times in one year. 

"This Board of County Commissioners has done everything in its power to protect the consumer as much as possible, and there are a lot of wonderful people who own tow companies. But, there are a lot of bad players out there too, and so we are trying to create compromise that balances the regulation of the towing industry and protects the consumer. That's what we've done here today," said Commissioner Lois Wexler. 

"Consumers have to have protection, but by the same token, I don't want to infringe upon small businesses and be overly burdensome," noted Commissioner Chip LaMarca.

Some changes are beneficial to the towing industry. Commissioners agreed that tow truck companies can charge a 2.5% fee for credit card use, which could be increased in the future. 

'If the industry asks to increase that, I certainly want to have some backup to see what the actual charges are. Because you can have a lot of different deals with credit card companies," said Commissioner Tim Ryan.

Companies can also now print required consumer instructions on the back of an invoice, instead of a separate sheet of paper under a previous law. 

"Processing two sheets of paper can be expensive. Basically if you have a complaint, you may call the Broward County Environmental Licensing and Building Permit Division and it has the number on the back of the invoice.  I think this is a fair amendment and good amendment and would save some trees as well," said Mayor Marty Kiar.

Commissioners approved the new regulations 7 to 1 with only Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief voting against the revised ordinance.  "I'm just saying in an abundance of caution and in an effort to be reasonable that some of this stuff really is too far reaching for me," said Vice Mayor Sharief.