WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council removed the cap on towing fees related to private property Tuesday night.
The decision came after the State Supreme Court ruled that cities cannot regulate those charges when a towing company picks up your car from private property, like an apartment complex.
A city spokeswoman said council members originally put the ordinance in place because people claimed wrecker companies charged way too much. Now, some towing companies worry that will happen again.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Mark Gabriel, who owns Hooked Up, a Wilmington towing company. He added that taking the price cap off of private property towing is a big mistake.
“I don’t see anything good coming out of it,” Gabriel said.
He worries some towing companies will drastically increase prices and take advantage of the public. Several people we talked with agree.
“That would definitely hurt my pocket,” one driver said.
Wilmington had a cap of $100 if your car is towed from private property, but the state Supreme Court ruled cities do not have the power to regulate that price.
Some folks hope the companies will stick to an “unofficial” cap.
“Towing companies should have some type of integrity,” a driver said.
Another said, “I think they’ll still have a cap based on competition.”
But, Gabriel said folks should be prepared to pay up.
“The prices will only increase,” he said.
Gabriel’s business mostly tows cars that are wrecked or broken down, but he said for businesses that do a lot of private property towing, removing the cap will show their true colors.
“There are legit companies out there that do that type of work, and I’m sure you won’t see an increase in their rates,” Gabriel said. “Then there’s gonna be guys out there charging way too much.”
Gabriel said he thinks about a third of companies will up their price.