Victims of Predatory Towing, It’s Time to Be Heard

by Mike Roan

During each of the last 2 weeks* I’ve attended discussions hosted by Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, at the Utah State Capitol regarding House Bill 115. The bill is designed to begin to address what I consider to be the egregious and predatory practices of some towing companies, which tow cars without owner or police action.

Parked cars in Provo.

Parked cars in Provo.

Last week, a group consisting of 12-15 towing companies, along with representatives of Provo City, Ogden City, UDOT, Utah realtors, a couple of property owners and me — as the only regular citizen with no direct economic interest in the issue — agreed to make a few minimal changes to the current statute regulating the towing industry.  Those proposed changes are:

  • Towing companies would be required to accept credit cards for payment.
  • Towing companies would be required to provide people being towed with a copy of ‘their bill of rights,’ which explains state statutes and city ordinances (where applicable) relating to charges, operating procedures, methods of contesting tows, etc.
  • UDOT would study the rates tow companies charge and other aspects of the industry, the findings of which would be submitted to Mr. Stratton in the late summer of 2013.
  • Cities’ and municipalities’ rights to regulate areas not addressed by the state would remain unchanged.

In spite of this agreement, when the amended bill (HB 115) reflecting what was agreed upon was presented to the House Business and Labor Committee on Friday, March 1, the towing industry showed up en masse to oppose the bill.

Those speaking in favor of the bill were Mayor Curtis, Gary Williams (Ogden City Attorney), a representative of the league of cities and me.

If you would like to see the law changed to reduce/eliminate predatory towing in our city and state, please contact your Utah state house and senate legislators now!  If you don’t know who they are or how to contact them, visit le.utah.gov for their names and contact information.

The towing lobby in Utah is very strong and without substantial citizen input nothing is likely to happen. Let your voice be heard!

The learn more about this topic or HB 115 see this report by Fox 13.

Mike Roan is a more than 30 year veteran of the financial services industry. He has degrees from BYU and Northwestern University and is the neighborhood chair of the Riverside Neighborhood. He has lived in states all across the U.S., as well as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian countries. He is a father of six children, a graduate of Provo’s Citizens Academy, and has initiated a number of local initiatives.

*Editor’s note: more time may have elapsed now because the editor took forever to post this after receiving it. 

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