Saturday, November 29, 2008

Towing Laws In The State Of Hawaii Photo

With a little more digging, I was able to turn up the particular non-consent towing law in Hawaii, which is HRS 290-11, click here for a link.

The law has some major strengths and some fatal weaknesses...

...and, in my opinion, here they are:

STRENGTH: Caps charges at $65 for a tow, $75 with a dolly, plus caps mileage and storage fees.

WEAKNESS: The law doesn't account for a situation where a towing company sets up shop on distant "Sand Island," possibly for the purpose of maximizing mileage fees. There needs to be a "mileage cap."

STRENGTH: Mandatory free drop after hooking if vehicle owner arrives on the scene. No doubt the law's biggest strength, and a model for other states, cities and counties to follow. (It does have an exception for hookups in an above or below ground, multilevel facility, which is still only a $30 drop fee)

WEAKNESS: No penalty outlined for violating this section of the law.

STRENGTH: Fifteen days after being towed, the legal owner and registered owner shall be notified in writing by registered or certified mail. Hey, at least some kind of written notification is required.

WEAKNESS: Fifteen days? Are you KIDDING me? If people don't come and fetch their car after 3 days, there is clearly a problem. Furthermore, this law is more archaic every day. Notification by phone and email should be required, too.

STRENGTH: Judgment and lawyer fees for excess charges. Not bad.

WEAKNESS: Who is going to hire a lawyer over a few hundred bucks in towing overcharges? The law should mandate much more severe fines and penalties.

STRENGTH: Before disposing of a vehicle after 30 days, notice is required in a newspaper of general circulation in the state. You can call this a strength because SOMETHING is required, but, come on!

WEAKNESS: Legal notice in a NEWSPAPER? Increasingly, this is an utterly archaic form of communication. All legal notices should be published on the internet.

STRENGTH: Towing companies must "accommodate payment" by cash, credit card OR (note the word "or") automated teller machine located on the premises.

WEAKNESS: Yeah, I'm sure they'll be raking in some major fees off that automated teller machine. This is a huge loophole for abuse.

STRENGTH: There is an opportunity for counties to adopt their own ordinances regulating towing operations.

WEAKNESS: What is going to make the counties do THAT except numerous abuses by towing companies?

WEAKNESS, WEAKNESS, WEAKNESS: The law does not require towing data to be electronically accessible to owners, police, towing companies, insurance companies, and all others with a stake in the fate of the vehicle. Instead, it relies on archaic notification mechanisms like CERTIFIED LETTERS and notification in (how quaint!) the legal notices of a newspaper. This law needs to be reformed before predatory towing cuts deeply into Hawaii's all-important tourism industry.


Anonymous said...

Apparently the mandatory free drop after hooking if vehicle owner arrives on the scene does not apply to A*** Towing Company located in Sand Island. They towed my car tonight even when my son who had the key to the car was right there ready t move my car. But instead the tow truck driver told my son to get me. While my son ran upstairs to wake me up wake me up the tow truck driver hooked up my car and took up. My son and I went downstairs and saw the tow truck leaving. My son chased him down and the driver came around like he was going to unhook my car but instead asked for my ID. I was about to run back to the house to grab my ID but driver started taking off again. My son and I started chasign him again and I finally had to stand infront of the tow truck so he couldn't leave. My son tried to talk to him in a very nice way to unhook the car but instead he called the cops. I guess the police was not aware of the rules either because all they could tell me after explaining to them what had happened was for me to take it to court. I would love to take A** Towing court but I am already out $287.50 in getting my car back and i don't have the money to pay for the court cost.

Anonymous said...

This same company, A** Towing, towed my daughter's car this past weekend. The car was not hooked up and she came out to let the man know that she was just leaving. He insisted on seeing her license and registration. Because we as her parents are the registered owner, he refused to budge. She called dad, who jumped in his car to go up the hill to Makakilo (we live in lower Kapolei), only to see A** Towing going down the hill with her car in tow. He went to A** Towing in Sand Island, to be told that he owes $295, which he didn't have on him so he had to use their costly ATM machine located on their property. Husband gets into words with A** Towing, they call the cops and the police officer reminds him that beefing with them doesn't work. But he did say that what they did was illegal so to take them to small claims court, which we intend, to get the full maximum amount of $ possible in the court of law. A** Towing knows they are illegally towing cars away but also knows that most people don't know the law and don't have the time or $ to file a suit. We all have to come together on this and do a mass lawsuit so as to put them out of business. A** Towing needs a reality check that we are not dumb or lazy, we are good samaritans who work hard.