Towing company jabs customers with high fees

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KMOV.com

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 14 at 7:03 PM

(KMOV) -- You expect to pay a fee when you're car gets towed. But what about paying for storage fees on days when the tow yard is closed and there's no way to get your car back.

Two News 4 viewers say they got ripped off by the same company.

So we confronted the owner - now he's reconsidering his policy.

It’s ridiculous, totally ridiculous.  

Rolanda Winthrop and Sherrice Bailey-

“It’s horrible”. 

Are both griping about Tipton and sons towing.

They say their boyfriends got pulled over for broken taillights by the Beverly Hills PD.

Both boyfriends got arrested for traffic warrants - leaving the girls with a big mess.  

“He said it's forty for last night, and forty for today.”

By forty, she means forty bucks a day for storage.

Her car got towed at 8 in the evening after Tipton was closed, so she picked it up the next morning.  

“It was definitely not there for 24 hours, no so you got nailed for 2 days. Yes.”  

That brought Rolanda's bill to $242 bucks.

Sherrice says her car got towed on December 21st and was quoted a similar price, but after that had a difficult time reaching the company over the Christmas holiday.   

From the 22nd to the 26th no one picked up the phone, when I called Tuesday it was 567 to get my truck out.  

Ouch! Those storage fees really add up.

It’s a price she couldn't afford - so she gave up.

“I never got my truck back, so you lost your car over the deal? Yes.”

In Beverly Hills police tows always go to Tipton & sons according to the chief.

 Bruce Tipton is the owner - he used to be a Beverly Hills cop back in the 80's.

On top of the fees charged by Tipton, the city charges a 20 dollar tow release fee.  

In 2011 the city collected $9,260 dollars in tow release fees - which means Tipton towed roughly 463 cars in a city with a population of just 574.

Considering the complaints and the company's "F" rating with the better business bureau - I went down to speak with the owner.  

“Is Bruce here?”

There were a lot of people hanging around, but no Bruce. He was out of town. So I called him to ask about sherrice.  

“She's losing her car over the storage fees? If there's anything I can do to work it out with her I will be more than happy to do it Chris.”

Bruce also told me he charges for Sunday storage - a day he's closed, but he might change his mind.

“Yeah I will reconsider that I understand they don't want to pay for a day they can't pick up their cars.”  

And what about Rolando? She got charged for two days of storage but her car wasn't there a full day.  

“Is that fair? I don't know what you think is fair? Sometimes I go to the gas station and they charge $3.79 for diesel I don't think that's fair I’m just stuck there.”  

Bruce says fees are assessed by the calendar day, not the hour. But he agreed to refund Rolando’s $80 bucks, and agreed to give sherrice her car back free of charge - sherrice is convinced it would have never happened without us. More than a month later she was back behind the wheel.  

“I’m happy; thanks for everything, going to try avoid getting towed? Yes.”  

As for Rolando she told me she happened to drive by with her brother as her car was getting towed by Beverly Hills police. She said she asked to drive her car home, but police said no.

The chief says department policy allows a licensed driver to take the car home - but his officer doesn't recall talking to rolanda that night.

Chris Nagus, News 4.

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