File photo: Alon Skuy
Cape Town -  A Table View towing company that insists a car owner pay an “extortionate” fee for the release of her vehicle could be in trouble with the National Consumer Commission for failing to disclose its fee structure.

Last weekend Janice Atkins’ Toyota Yaris was in a crash at the intersection of the R27 and Porterfield Road. She was initially charged R11 500 by West Coast Towing for the release of her vehicle - a fee she called extortionate.

This was then brought down to R9 500, and then again to R7000. But she has refused to budge, and complained to the NCC, which is now investigating.

NCC spokesman Trevor Hattingh said the case has been forwarded to the commission’s legal services department.

“When you want to undertake a service, the tow truck driver should have given her a rate," he said. "He should have given her a quote, she should have agreed. Once there has been an agreement the contract is valid.”

'Small operators disadvantaged'

West Coast Towing manager Barney Fourie confirmed that Atkins had not been informed what it would cost her to have her vehicle removed from the accident scene and stored.

He said small, independent operators such as his were being disadvantaged by the big players in the towing industry who often sat on the approved panels of insurance companies.

“The company that manages the insurance company’s towing is charging R3000 for a tow, but pay their contractors only R1 000 per vehicle. She brought a known gangster to the premises where the vehicle is stored to remove it.

“I would have loved to help her, but after that stunt she pulled, she’s not getting jack,” insisted Fourie.

City Traffic Services spokesperson Richard Coleman said the tow truck industry was not regulated by current city by-laws.

Cape Times

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