What agencies regulate non-consent towing?
- The state regulates some aspects of towing.
- The county regulates the price of non-consent tows, payment methods, times tow yards must be open, how authorization must be given to tow a vehicle, and what information must be included on the tow manifest/slip/invoice/receipt.
Who authorizes a towing company to tow a vehicle from private property without the consent of the vehicle owner?
An owner or lessee of real property or any person authorized by the owner or lessee may authorize the tow of a vehicle parked on the property without permission if a sign is posted. The authorization must be made in writing. A rebate from the towing company to the property owner or agent is prohibited.
What must the tow away sign say?
- "Tow Away Zone."
- That unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner's expense.
- Name and telephone number of the company towing the vehicle.
Are there any exceptions to the requirement for a tow away sign?
- Single family residences do not require a sign.
- If the vehicle owner is given notice personally that the area is reserved or unavailable for parking.
Is the tow truck required to have a sign?
Yes. The sign must have the name, address and telephone number of the towing company printed on the driver and passenger sides of the tow truck.
When can I get a towed vehicle released?
The tow yard must be open and staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. At other times, it must open within one hour after the vehicle owner requests the release of his/her vehicle. The owner has the right to inspect and note damages to the vehicle before accepting its return and a release or waiver of any kind is prohibited which would release the towing company from liability for damages noted at the time of the release.
What is the legal maximum charge for the non-consent towing of vehicles?
The maximum charge is $120 for a vehicle with a gross weight of less than 10,000 lbs. However, towing or recovery from other than private property, including tows directed by law enforcement or other municipal agencies is not regulated by the County, and may be subject to different charges depending upon who ordered the tow.
What if the tow company uses a special vehicle?
The maximum charge for the tow of a vehicle weighting less than 10,000 lbs. from private property is still $100.
What if the owner arrives before the vehicle is towed but during the hookup?
The maximum charge is $60.
What is the maximum storage rate allowed?
The maximum storage rate is $24 per day, whether indoor or outdoor. Storage fees may only be charged after the vehicle has been at the storage yard for 6 hours.
What is an administration charge and how much is it?
This charge is only applicable when the towing company must actually perform research to determine ownership of the towed vehicle for notification to the owner, lienholders or insurance companies. This research may only be performed after the vehicle has been in the possession of the towing company for 24 hours, and the maximum charge allowed is $30.
When can a towing company charge more than $100 for a non-consent tow?
If the tow is directed by a law enforcement or municipal agency, or if the vehicle weighs 10,000 lbs. or more.
Who handles complaints about towing?
If an overcharge occurred in Broward County, a complaint should be filed with us. A written complaint must be submitted with the following information and documentation included:
- Photocopy of tow receipt;
- If payment was made by credit card, a photocopy of credit card statement (if you have filed a dispute with your credit card company, advise the results of that dispute);
- Date, time and location from which the vehicle was towed;
- Date, time and location at which you recovered the vehicle from the tow company;
- Photocopy of the vehicle registration (reflecting the “VIN” number, license tag number, and the make, year and color of the vehicle); and
- The vehicle model name (e.g., “Camry”).
You should also contact the police department of the city where your vehicle was towed and obtain the date and time the tow company reported towing your vehicle. Include that information on your complaint form, along with the name of the individual at the police department who provided you with the information. Certain municipalities have their own towing ordinances which supersede the County’s towing ordinance on some issues. If it is determined that the issues raised by your complaint are governed by a municipal ordinance, your complaint will be referred to the municipality having jurisdiction.
Broward County Consumer Protection Code: Towing
Consumer Complaint Forms
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Federal Trade Commission
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Florida Division of Consumer Services