Analysis of towing laws shows protections for NC consumers are among the worst

New report shows that among 15 possible protections against predatory towing, North Carolinians only have good protections on 2 fronts.

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Driving is picking up again as the number of North Carolinians heading to social gatherings, in-person work and vacations moves closer to pre-pandemic norms.

More driving means more parking – maybe in unfamiliar areas.

Parkers have always run the risk of getting towed, but a recent report from NCPIRG Education Fund shows that North Carolina consumers may be at higher risk for predatory towing practices than drivers in most states.

“Right now our state has among the fewest strong protections to ensure fair and transparent towing practices, leaving our residents vulnerable to everything from exorbitant fees to towing companies not being required to visually document why a car was towed,” said Katie Craig, State Director of NCPIRG Education Fund, “North Carolina can — and should — do more to
protect drivers from predatory towing.”

Of the 15 areas for possible protections against predatory towing analyzed in the report, North Carolina was found to only have two areas of strong protections and moderate protections in two other areas. Meanwhile, some other southern states had stronger protections in many areas, including ten out of 15 protections in place in Georgia and eight out of 15 in Florida.

The report, Getting Off the Hook of a Predatory Tow Part II, also highlights a new trend that exacerbates the risk of predatory towing: Towing companies are giving private property owners kickbacks when the landowner notifies the companies about vehicles to tow — whether the vehicle is defying parking regulations or not.

Our new analysis, an update to our comprehensive 2021 report on towing protections in every state, finds that 16 states currently ban kickbacks, as others are considering such laws.

Unfortunately, North Carolina does not have these protections in place either and there is no legislation currently under consideration.

Overall, 13 states still don’t require a towing company to even notify the vehicle owner or driver that their car has been towed or where it’s being stored, so many people, returning to find their car gone, might think it was stolen.

And 46 of the 50 states don’t require a towing company to photograph the vehicle before it’s towed, to document the claimed violation.

“Towing regulations should make sense innately,” Craig said. “It’s OK if drivers face consequences for parking improperly on someone else’s property, but no one deserves to be wrongfully towed, or face unfair fees or other abusive practices even if the tow was justified.”

You can click on this link for more information and helpful tips on how to avoid predatory towing.

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