12-15-08 New Boise Tow Ordinance Protect Citizens from Overcharges
Boise, Dec. 15, 2008 - A new Boise Tow Ordinance is designed to protect citizens from being overcharged if their car is towed without consent.
The new ordinance deals with non-consent towing, which is any vehicle towed from public or private property without the consent of the vehicle owner or driver.
Background: The ordinance is the result of numerous citizen complaints to the city about overcharging or being locked out of their cars after being towed without the owner or driver's consent from parking lots, streets or private property. The Boise City Council passed the ordinance June 30th, 2008. Since then, the Boise Police Department has been working to license tow companies that want to conduct non-consent tows in the city. Under the new ordinance, any tow company that wants to conduct non-consent tows must be licensed by the City Clerk's Office. Currently 18 tow companies have met the new Boise City licensing requirements, which include tow company owners and drivers passing criminal background checks, and vehicles passing safety equipment inspections.
"This ordinance is a way for the city to protect car owners from tow charges that many citizens complained were arbitrary or excessive," said Boise Police Capt. Scott Mulcahy, who worked with police administrative services, the Boise City Attorney's Office, and the City Clerk's office to craft and implement the ordinance. "This ordinance is a compromise between legitimate fees that tow companies have a right to, and fair and consistent business practices citizens can understand and comply with."
What the new Ordinance means to Citizens: If your vehicle is towed from a lot, the new Boise City ordinance means there must be signage with a phone number to contact. Tow companies must also have a contact number in the phone listings.
If your car is towed without your consent, tow companies must:
- Give you a record of the tow including an itemized invoice and who authorized the tow.
- Be available to you 24/7 to allow you to get your vehicle, or get things out of your vehicle.
- Must accept credit cards for payment.
Tow companies must also abide by a fee schedule set in the ordinance. Set fees include:
- Tow Fee Rates - Light Duty Vehicles (3/4 ton or less cars and trucks)....................$125
- Daily Storage Rates - Release of the vehicle within 24 hours of the wrecker arriving at the scene of the tow.....$125 plus mileage*.
- If the wrecker is on scene but the vehicle is not hooked up yet when the owner/driver arrives... $50 plus mileage*.
- If the vehicle is hooked up but the wrecker has not yet left, to release vehicle........$125.
*$4 per mile
If citizens find their vehicle towed without consent, and they have a complaint about fees or service, citizens may now call the Boise Police Department Impound Unit at 577-3874 or 577-3876.