While most consumers can get their cars towed without incident, sometimes drivers can fall to the whims of less-than-transparent towing operations. An Ottawa couple ended up with a $4,000 towing bill, and another man received a $12,000 bill after having his car towed.

In an effort to increase driver education the CAA and Ontario’s provincial towing association have signed and are distributing a towing bill of rights. The bill outlines need-to-know information for drivers who need roadside assistance.

Here are 8 things you should know to protect yourself the next time your car gets towed:

  1. You have the right to choose who can tow your vehicle and to what location unless otherwise directed by the police.
  2. A permission to tow form must be provided by the towing company and signed before your vehicle is towed unless you have an auto club membership.
  3. Towing companies must now provide customers with an itemized invoice before they receive payment.
  4. Your final towing bill can’t be more than 10 per cent above the price you were originally quoted.
  5. Towing companies must now accept credit card payments in addition to cash payments.
  6. Towing operators must make it explicitly clear exactly where your vehicle is being towed to
  7. Tow operators must disclose if they are receiving a financial incentive for towing your vehicle to a particular vehicle storage facility or repair shop.

Find out more about the towing bill of rights here.

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