The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Tri County Automotive and Towing — Towing problems
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
I recently got into an accident on the turnpike. It was not involving any other vehicles, I ran over a semi tire that was in the middle of the road. I was going to call AAA but the florida trooper had called to get us a tow after looking at the fluid leaking from my car. When the towing company got there, they hardly said anything to me at first. They started hooking my car up to the tow truck and I started asking them questions about what they were doing and what it was going to cost. The towing company told me that they had to tow me because it was classified a crash. I was on the phone with my dad, and he asked to speak with the tow truck driver, but the driver said he was busy. My dad then asked me if it was AAA. I told him that they had a sign on the side of the tow truck that distinguished they were AAA certified. I was not from the area but when I requested them to drop me off at an auto shop that was 2 miles from where I had the accident, they said that they could only drop me there is I could pay $104 in cash. Well then I asked if they took credit cards, and they said they did, so I offered to pay using a credit card, and the driver said that would be fine. All the while, he did not ask me if he could tow my car, NOR did he answer directly any of my questions about how much it was going to cost.
So I thought that it would be fine though just getting it dropped off where I wanted. However, as we were driving, the driver tells us that his boss said he wasn't allowed to drop us off at thee autoshop. We told him that we had the credit cards to pay, but he again said his boss said no. He said he had to drop us off at the service plaza 12 miles up the road. At this point I asked him if there was a mechanic at the service plaza and he said no, and that they would have to take my car back to their lot in Fort Pierce. So I asked, "Will it be free assuming I pick it up in the morning?" He said yes, so I asked the same question again and he assured me yes. And he said if I was to leave the car over night it would be $ 26 dollars a night. He told me that he "knew it was hard to understand" and that even he gets confused sometimes.
As we got to the service plaza, his story changed. He said that in fact he meant "FREE" as in "Insurance" when referring to how much it would cost to pick my car up. In fact it was going to cost me $140 dollars the next morning! He said that he thought that we didn't have money, that was why he didn't take my car to the auto shop I had wanted, and then he tried to offer to drive it back there, but I would have to pay $280 for the trip to the service plaza and then back in the other direction. At this point there was nothing I could do but let them take my car at least till the next day.
I was able to get my grandparents to go pick up my car to tow it home. My car is registered to my grandma so when I called the towing company they would give me no information about it whatsoever. My grandmother had to ride down with my grandfather to get my car released. When they got there, Tri County Automotive and Towing charged my grandparents $455. The break down was:
Time on scene -$156.00
Administration Fee- $36.00
We should have been charged less than $200 (based on the little information the company gave me). Then when I proceeded to call and complain, the lady who answered mocked me and said that she couldn't even tell me the mileage rate because the car didn't belong to me. At that point my grandparents were still in the parking lot, but she lied and said they had already left.
My dad contacted Florida Highway Patrol and they told him that they only work with AAA contracted companies, and that all these towing companies follow AAA's policy of the first 50 miles free. When I checked the AAA website, Tri County Automotive and Towing was not AAA certified or approved. In reality, we should not have been charged anything, and my car should have been towed where I wanted it to be towed.