7 Dos and Don’ts to Remember When Your Car Gets Towed
Published: April 18, 2018 | Updated: March 16, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Car Insurance
Has this ever happened to you? You park your car on the street for a quick errand or to find someone to help you change your flat tire. A few minutes later, you return to the spot where you’ve left your car. Much to your surprise and dismay, your car is no longer there. Isn’t that frustrating?
And, as if life is making a mockery out of it, you’ve just noticed a “No Parking” sign near the place where you parked your now-missing car. Oh, snap. Your car got towed!
While towing isn’t as bad as carnapping, it’s a situation you don’t want to be caught in. But then you have to deal with it—the hassle and expenses included.
What to do and not to do? Read on to know how to properly handle an unexpected car towing incident.
Table of Contents
1. Know Your Rights as a Motorist
If your vehicle is towed without your knowledge, it’s likely because you parked it illegally. Of course, you have to own up to your mistake—it’s a traffic violation, after all. But know that even if you’ve broken a traffic rule, you’re still entitled to your rights against unfair practices such as illegal towing.
One of the first things you need to do after your car has been towed is to check if any towing rule was violated. Check out this guide to towing rules to avoid situations such as extortion or being charged a higher amount than the standard towing fee.
Find out also if the company that towed your car is legitimate and accredited by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to conduct towing operations. Refer to this list of MMDA-accredited towing companies.
2. Call the MMDA Hotline
If there’s an emergency or urgent concern about an erring MMDA or MMDA-accredited towing crew member, you can reach MMDA via its hotline 136 to ask for assistance. The call will connect you with the MMDA MetroBase that coordinates with towing companies in Metro Manila.
3. Gather All Relevant Information
Write down all the important details right away, including the following:
- Date, time, and location of the towing incident
- Full name/s of the towing personnel and their unit/affiliation
- Plate number of the tow truck
If the towing crew members are performing their duties legally, they’ll be willing to provide these details to you.
4. Document the Towing Incident
Ideally, you have a dash cam installed in your car so that you have hard evidence of any road encounter. But if you don’t have one yet, take photos and videos of the towing site, the people involved, as well as your conversations with the towing personnel.
Again, if the towing crew isn’t doing anything illegal, they won’t mind you recording and taking down notes of the incident.
5. Don’t Offer Bribe or Agree to Bribery
Bribing the tow truck or MMDA guy may sound like the easiest way out of the messy situation, but it’s also the worst way to perpetuate corruption in the country. Regardless of who’s initiating the bribery talks, never offer or agree to it.
6. Get Your Towed Car Back
Claim your vehicle ASAP because you’ll be paying a higher storage fee for each day that it stays in the MMDA impounding area. Be prepared to pay at least PHP 1,500 for the towing service fee plus the PHP 500 penalty for illegal parking.
Expect also that you’ll be issued a ticket for your traffic offense. Make sure to settle it as soon as you can.
7. File a Formal Complaint
If you believe that you’re a victim of illegal towing, file a proper complaint against the erring towing company or MMDA officer. Posting your towing incident on social media doesn’t help much. It only serves to warn fellow motorists, but it doesn’t resolve the issue.
Reporting the matter to the authorities may be inconvenient, but it’s better than just letting the abuse pass. All towing companies must follow the Revised MMDA Guidelines for Towing and Impounding Operations. Any violation of these towing rules gives you the right to sue the company involved in illegal towing operations.
According to legal columnist Robby Consunji, a car owner can take a legal action against a towing company. There are three options available:
- A civil case in court seeking damages
- A criminal case with the prosecutor’s office for unjust vexation under the Revised Penal Code
- An administrative complaint with the MMDA for cancellation of the towing company’s accreditation
If you choose to report a towing company to the MMDA, you can call hotline 136 or send a private message to the agency’s Facebook or Twitter account.
Having your car towed is a painful experience that you have to deal with properly. Ever gone through it? How did it go and what did you do? Share your experience and tips in the comments section below.
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.