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A Guide to Avoiding Illegal Towing

Illegal parking is a serious problem in most major cities. Your car will likely be towed if you do park illegally, but your parking infraction is no excuse for the towing company to take advantage of your situation by charging you obscene prices. One of the reasons some towing companies are able to get away with this is simple: Drivers don’t know their rights. Yes, it is legal for a towing company to tow your vehicle should it be parked illegally—and you should never park your car in a designated area or on private property—but what’s not legal is for the company to make up prices as they go along, Should your car ever be towed for a parking infraction, keep these guidelines in mind.

  • Ask the Tow Truck Driver to Write Down the Price: After removing any valuable items from your car, ask the tow truck driver to write down the exact price of the tow. We know of cases in which towing companies refused to release a vehicle unless the driver agreed to pay far more than the agreed-upon price, so make sure to ask for an exact price in writing.
  • Ask for the Tow Truck Driver’s ID: There are plenty of bogus towing companies in San Jose, and the best way to avoid falling into their hands is to ask for the driver’s ID and the name of the towing company. If possible, call up 411 and check that the company is listed there, Call the police if you have reason to believe that the driver is not working with a legitimate towing company.

Of course, the best way to avoid the headache of having your vehicle towed is to obey the information and rules on parking signs. Still, it helps to be familiar with the rules we listed above, for cases in which towing companies move legally parked cars are not unheard of.