“Before you end up in a ditch, make sure you have a plan,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, which offers consumer reviews on local service companies, including tow truck companies.
(PRWEB) March 25, 2013
The unusually late spring snow storm is causing havoc in states where's it's hit and promising more to come as it heads East. The heavy snow has led to hundreds of crashes and slide offs, sending the tow truck business into overdrive.
“Before you end up in a ditch, make sure you have a plan,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, which offers consumer reviews on local service companies, including tow truck companies. “Do a little research before you hit the road and add the numbers of a few reputable towing services to your cell phone.”
If you don’t know who to call, a shady tow truck driver may try to take advantage of your situation.
Experts say reasonable fees for a tow range from about $70 to $80 for a five-mile tow to a mechanic. In nice weather and during low traffic times, expect to wait 30 minutes to an hour. During winter weather or rush hour, the same tow could take three hours or more.
Angie’s List offers this advice to avoid a towing disaster:
- I’ll call you: Beware of the truck driver who shows up unannounced in an unmarked vehicle offering to pull your car out of a ditch. Reputable towing companies will display their Department of Transportation certification number on their tow truck. That indicates the company is insured and certified for the job
- Fair weather pricing: You shouldn’t have to pay a surcharge because it’s cold. If your car is in a tricky spot that requires extra time or work, expect to pay more. Get a cost estimate upfront before you arrange for the driver to come to you. If the estimate seems high, call another company.
- Snap a picture: Before the tow truck driver arrives, take a picture of your car with your smartphone. That way you’ll have a record of what the vehicle looked like before and after the work.
- Sign off: When you sign off on the job, make sure your signature is right below the dollar amount you’re to be charged. This can minimize the chance that additional fees will be added to your bill without your knowledge.
- Document: Once the job is complete, insist on both an invoice and a copy of your receipt to ensure you’re billed for authorized charges only.
“It’s also important to check your auto insurance policy to determine if you’re paying for roadside assistance,” Hicks said. “If you belong to a third party assistance organization, like AAA, be sure you understand your coverage.”
Angie’s List helps consumers have happy transactions with local service professionals in more than 550 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. More than 1.7 million paid households use Angie’s List to gain unlimited access to local ratings, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine, and the Angie’s List complaint resolution service.