Towing Fees May Increase

Steven Levins
Steven Levins
Barney Robinson
Barney Robinson

HONOLULU (KHNL)--It can happen to anyone. You park in someone else's spot or in a no parking zone, and moments later your car is gone, hooked up to a tow truck and taken away. Now state lawmakers are debating fees that could cost you more per tow.

Those who operate tow trucks want to tack on a few new fees to drivers. But the State Office of Consumer Protection is against the proposed increase.

Say you parked illegally then came out just in time to watch the tow truck driver hook up your car. "You arrive on the scene while the tow truck operator is in the process of hooking up your car. In prior years you could pay tow truck operator at that scene he would drop the car," explains Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the State Office of Consumer Protection.

Under a year old law they have to unhook it for free.

But towing operators want the 50 dollar fee added back on.

"Work had been performed, we got there we hooked up the vehicle we are in the process," comments tow company owner Barney Robinson.

Under a 2007 law tow operators got two rate increases.

Towing fees went from $65 to $75 dollars and mileage increased from $6.50 to $7.50 per mile.

"So the last legislative session we got a modest increase but along with that increase they took away fees we were normally charging so when you tally up plusses and minuses you end up with a wash."

In 2007 lawmaker deleted a $15 dollar overtime charge and tow companies want it back.

They call it overtime but it's 6 pm to 6 am Monday through Friday, weekends and holidays. So it was an additional 15 dollar hookup tacked onto the hookup to help us cover the cost of running our operation during offpeak hours because we normally pay employees a premium to work those days."

The state office of consumer protection feels the proposed tow charges are not fair.

"This year the tow truck companies want the fees re-imposed and we are concerned that consumers are going to be burdened with these fees."