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CAA, Ontario association sign towing bill of rights

Towing bill of rights pledged, signed
WATCH ABOVE: The CAA and Ontario's provincial towing association have committed to a new Towing Bill of Rights, outlining consumer protection that is covered by law. As Sean O'Shea reports, the industry says it's trying to combat 'bad apples' that overcharge some drivers.

The CAA and Ontario’s provincial towing association have signed on to a towing bill of rights in an effort to educate drivers who need roadside assistance.

While claiming most operators in the province are honest and trustworthy, the organizations acknowledge there are problems with some drivers.

“There are operators who do not prioritize customer service and have been taking advantage of people in need at the sign of the road,” said Terese Di Felice, CAA’s vice president of government and community relations.

READ MORE: Tow truck driver refuses to give Toronto man’s van back unless more than $12K paid

Joey Gagne, president of Ontario’s Provincial Towing Association, said pointed to the need for education.

“We’re trying to get the public to be more informed to watch for the bad apples,” said Gagne, who also runs Abrams Towing in Toronto.

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Although new legislation came into force in Ontario in 2017 addressing consumer rights, an Ipsos online poll for CAA South Central Ontario found only 51 per cent of respondents feel educated about their rights.

READ MORE: Towing customers claim Toronto company charging exorbitant fees

The same survey found that 85 per cent of respondents felt somewhat or not at all protected by legislation or regulation In their dealing with towing companies.

“The biggest issue we have is the consumer: the motorist is not educated … they don’t know how to protect themselves,” said Gagne.

In an effort to change that, the CAA and association has printed and distributed copies of its eight-point bill. Among a consumer’s rights:

• To decide who can tow your vehicle
• The towing company must provide an itemized invoice
• The final bill cannot exceed more than 10 per cent above the quoted price
• A tow operator must notify you where your vehicle will be towed
• Two operators must disclose if they are receiving a financial incentive for towing your vehilce to a particular storage facility or repair shop.