By: Luke Jones, Published on January 30, 2017 05:41 PM, Last Update on January 30, 2017 02:43 PM
The Ontario Trucking Association has reacted to the passing of the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 and says it will investigate roadside towing charges from firms that conduct heavy-duty recovery. The investigations will focus on weather the companies are making rates equal to what are advertised on their websites.
OTA says it will ask members to send invoice scans of any heavy-duty recovery. The group will also ask that descriptions of the services paid for during 2016 and 2017.
“OTA will then do a comparison between geographical regions, types of services provided and posted heavy-duty recovery rates,” the association reports.
Members will be expected to continue sending invoices through 2017 with the aim to be able to conduct year-on-year comparisons to ensure companies are charging the amounts they advertisie.
“The passing of Bill 15 provides OTA with a new opportunity to assist OTA members in dealing with unfair heavy-duty recovery bills received in the province,” says OTA president Stephen Laskowski.
New laws for towing and vehicle storage were introduced in Ontario on Jan. 1. The province acted after consumers consistently complained about towing companies overcharging for recovery. Under the new rules, tow and storage companies in Ontario need to publically disclose their fees and rates in full.
“Vehicle owners gain some legal leverage over unscrupulous recovery operators,” says Laskowski.
“We expect to discover there are no issues with the vast majority of heavy-duty recovery companies,” Laskowski emphasizes. “But, just like in any other sector, it only takes a few bad apples to reflect poorly on an entire industry,” he points out.
“If we can identify abnormalities among certain regions, this will assist OTA in holding informed discussions with the Ontario Provincial Police, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and the Ministry of Transportation,” Laskowski adds.