Towing companies: finding one you can trust

Whether your vehicle has engine trouble, runs out of gas, is involved in an accident or simply breaks down, getting a reliable towing company can be a challenge. Choosing the first towing company available without doing your homework and checking it could be the cause of a huge headache and empty wallet. When you’re looking to get your vehicle towed, your Better Business Bureau offers some advice for finding a trustworthy towing company.

Over the last year, towing companies were inquired about more than 481,000 times and also recorded almost 2,900 complaints with BBBs across North America. Locally, this industry was inquired about more than 3,400 times.

When searching for a towing company, your BBB offers these tips:

• Ask family and friends who they’d recommend. If they’re pleased with who they use, you’ll likely be too.

• Ask about fees and service. Also, find out how far the towing company will tow your vehicle. Some towing companies may charge by the mile. Don’t settle for the lowest price. It may not be the highest quality service.

• Be sure truck operators are professional. Also, make sure tow trucks will arrive when promised.

• Inspect your vehicle before being towed. Make sure there is no damage from the tow and any items you had in the vehicle are accounted for. Don’t be afraid to take pictures for documentation.

• Find out if your insurance company covers the tow.

• Determine if you must pay up-front or if you can pay through your insurance company.

• Ask for a detailed invoice.

• Make sure the towing company is properly licensed and insured.

• Find out if the towing company is a member of an association like the Towing and Recovery Association of America. A company belonging to such an organization shows commitment to professionalism.

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Remember, a good place to find a reputable towing company is through your insurance company. Many auto insurance policies come with 24/7 roadside assistance.

You can always get help from your BBB, like a list of BBB Accredited towing companies and business reviews on ones you’re considering. Contact your BBB by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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