GREENFIELD (KDKA) — Criminal charges have been thrown out against the owner of a local towing company, but his legal battle is not over yet.READ MORE: Lawsuit Claims Driver Involved In Crash On Pa. Turnpike In Westmoreland County That Killed 5 Wore Noise-Canceling Headphones
The body shop at Rohrich Mazda is always busy, but administrative assistant Erin Dixon is tired of paying tow truck operators thousands of dollars to bring damaged cars there.
“Administration fee $125, gate fee, clean-up fee, dolly fee. It’s just outrageous,” she said. “They can just get whatever they want for a tow bill, and they can charge whatever they want because nobody will do anything about it.”
Dixon complained to the Pittsburgh Auto Squad, which filed charges against Brian Haenze, owner of Tag Towing and Collision in West Mifflin, claiming he charged one of her customers double for one tow.
Customers have complained in the past that their cars were taken away from accident scenes only to find them days later at Tag Towing, which charged them high storage fees and towing – sometimes more than $1,000.READ MORE: FDA Advisers Endorse Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids Ages 5 To 11
“Crooks. That’s what I call it. They’re crooks,” Andrew Cassale, of Trout Run, Pa., said. “I was down and out, and they could have helped me out as a fellow man, but that’s just gone today in America, unfortunately.”
But in court, the district attorney’s office withdrew the charges, saying the insurance company which paid the bill should file a civil claim. Outside, Haezne again defended his practices.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “These people say you keep these vehicles hostage, and they don’t know where they are.”
Haenze: “That’s not the case. You can come pick the vehicle up. How do they not know where they are? You know where I’m at, right?”
He maintains, like others, that there is no law limiting fees a tow truck operator can charge and that he’s providing a service.
Haenze says he’s “absolutely” going to continue with his business practices.MORE NEWS: Lightning Finally Get Regulation Lead, Beat Penguins 5-1
There is a movement in Harrisburg to toughen the laws, but right now, they are vague and unclear. There is no limit to what a towing company can charge, which leaves you very little recourse.