Towing Industry Defends Its Billing Practices

FTC May Target Predatory Towing Companies

In a recent public-comment session sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), tow company operators pushed back against what they termed DOT’s overly simplistic view of which fees and charges are or are not predatory. The Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA) disputed the recently released American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) report on predatory towing, saying ATRI relied too heavily on input from “aggrieved operators.” ATRI, they said, also failed to distinguish between excess fees agreed upon by the company whose trucks are being towed (consensual) and “nonconsensual” tows.

TRAA also contended that DOT’s attack on towing fees fails to account for the complexity of some towing jobs, especially those that are in response to a crash or other emergency.

TRAA urged FMCSA to conduct its own research into “improper billing” even though the agency has publicly stated that it believes the correct approach is through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is engaged in a “junk fees” rulemaking process. A representative from a coalition of towing companies took particular aim at truckers’ failure to carry adequate towing insurance or who have none at all. Truckers commonly have a $2,500 towing limit which doesn’t take into account that towing heavy-duty trucks requires heavy tow trucks that are expensive to operate.

ICSA is closely monitoring the issue and will keep its members informed.

Supreme Court Overturns “Chevron Doctrine”

10 July 2024

Anyone who has been in business for any length of time can cite a number of times that federal regulatory agencies have had a free hand in regulating businesses such as trucking. That is why carriers and other industries that want a fair fight to challenge regulations in the future may have been given a gift from the U.S. Supreme Court June 28.

Miss the Deadline to Challenge a Regulation?

10 July 2024

This session, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Chevron doctrine, a longstanding policy under which lower courts almost always sided with regulatory agency decisions where the intent of Congress was not clear. Overturning Chevron opened the door, many legal experts believe, to allowing challenges against many existing regulations.