OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — An Oklahoma City man was surprised when a tow bill he thought would be a couple hundred dollars at most turned out to be nearly $1,000, with the tow company refusing to give him his car back until he pays. The tow truck driver claims he’s legally allowed to charge everything he did.
It was an icy Monday last month, when Lawrence Wesson was trying to make some money.
“I was out doing DoorDash because doing DoorDash in the ice storms, they tend to pay a lot more,” Wesson told News 4.
Unfortunately for him—that day ended with his car spinning out on that ice in Edmond, too damaged to drive back to his house near Yukon.
Police came by and called him a tow truck.
He says a driver named J.B. with Edmond-based All City Wrecker showed up, and loaded up his car.
But Wesson says J.B. refused to tow the car back to his house.
“And I quote exactly what [J.B.] said… ‘I will not take a risk of ruining a $100,000 truck for a couple hundred dollars,’” Wesson told News 4.
Instead, he says J.B. offered to take it to his impound lot, where Wesson could come pick it up once the ice melted.
“He said, I can drop it down the street for maybe $150 or something,” Wesson said. “He said that he wouldn’t charge me the $20 storage fee.”
So Wesson was shocked when J.B. gave him a bill for $796.29 when he went to get his car later that week.
“So now it’s like he’s adding all these other charges that are ridiculous,” Wesson said.
It included a hookup fee for $112 dollars, as well as numerous administrative fees—one of them for $250.
He was even charged an after-hours release fee for $45, even though his car still hasn’t been released.
“So I asked him, can I get proof that you paid these fees, that you actually paid for this,” Wesson said. “He said ‘Oh, no, I ain’t got this. I don’t have to show you that.’”
The Corporation Commission’s rules mention several other miscellaneous fees that a towing company may charge, but none of the allowed fees include the miscellaneous admin fees All City Wrecker charged Wesson.
News 4 caught up with J.B. at All City’s impound lot on Friday.
“It’s not that hard to figure out, I don’t even know why you’re here,” J.B. told News 4. “I told the guy I’d put it in my lot and I wouldn’t impound it. I would just hold it my like till Wednesday. It’d be $250 at that point.”
He claims Wesson didn’t come to pick up the car until 5 p.m. on Friday that week, so he went ahead charged him the fees.
News 4 asked J.B. how much he was charging Wesson as of Friday.
“The current fee is $638,” he said.
But the bill Wesson shared with News 4 shows All City Wrecker wanted him to $796.29 as of January 22.
News 4 asked J.B. to explain why he charged Wesson certain fees like that after-hours fee, which Wesson says J.B. never told him about.
“We don’t tell them up front. We let people know this office is open eight to four and you could figure it out on your own,” J.B. said. “But not everyone can count, so I can’t help the world.”
According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s website, a towing company cannot charge more than $81.25 for a hookup fee for a car his size. It also says a company cannot charge more than $15 per quarter hour for the release of a car between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.
It also says “when billed, the justification for and time spent releasing a vehicle after hours must be documented on the face of the invoice.”
The bill Wesson showed News 4 did not mention any justifications.
J.B. maintains everything he charged Wesson is allowed under his interpretation of the law.
“So even if we didn’t do anything, we can charge it because that’s what the law says,” he said.
First appeared on kfor.com