(SACRAMENTO) — Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) and Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) along with the California Tow Truck Association, and the North County Apartment Managers Association have introduced legislation to address predatory tow truck companies who exploit car owners through inappropriate private property tows. “We need to put an end to unscrupulous towing practices that exploit car owners just to increase their profits at the car owners’ expense. At times, car owners are held hostage by these rogue companies’ exploits that cause significant financial and logistical hardships,” said Senator Runner. Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee said, “Many ethical and professional tow truck operators are being unfairly tarred by a few bad actors. This bill will help put the bad ones out of business.”
Senate Bill 1593 will provide more consumer protection and make it difficult for rogue tow truck companies to operate in California. One component of the legislation requires tow truck companies to secure bonding which will help ensure that towing companies are legitimate businesses and also provide consumers financial compensation when they are a victim of unlawful predatory towing practices. SB 1593 also has many additional consumer protections. For example, the legislation clarifies tow truck companies must accept credit cards and that tow truck companies cannot gouge motorists for releasing vehicles after normal business hours tows by placing a cap on to how much they can charge. These provisions will be more heavily enforced with increase fines and penalties for violations of the law so these rogue companies do not just chalk up a fine or penalty as merely the “cost of doing business”. There will also be education components for tow truck companies to ensure they know and comply with the laws. Senator Runner continues, “There are many good tow truck operators in California and in our community. Unfortunately, rogue operators have hurt the industry at the expense of car owners. This legislation will end these predatory practices and better protect consumers.”
SB 1593 is currently in the Senate Rules Committee but is expected to have a hearing in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee in early April.