2 Investigators: Small Fine For Massive Towing Overcharge

(CBS) – The 2 Investigators reported how a towing company charged a business owner $37,000 to move a semi-truck a short distance.

The Illinois Commerce Commission, the state agency that regulates the towing industry, launched a months-long investigation, recently ruling that G.C.W. Tow & Recovery broke 10 laws.

But the fines for those infractions totaled just $1,000.

“It’s a slap in the face,” says Peter DeWitt, owner of Michigan-based DeWitt Barrels. “Anybody in their right mind would pay $1,000 to get a $36,000 return.”

It all started last March, when one of DeWitt’s trucks got stuck under an overpass near 80th Street and Vincennes Avenue. G.C.W. removed the slightly damaged truck and drove it to a storage lot in Calumet City.

Experts say the job should’ve cost about $3,500. Instead, G.C.W. presented DeWitt with the $37,000 bill.

“Thirty-seven thousand dollars to go basically 10 miles,” DeWitt says. “They didn’t even tow the darn truck. They drove it away.”

Steve Weatherford, the ICC’s assistant chief of police, says it’s not his agency’s fault that G.C.W. wasn’t punished more severely.

“We have to work within the parameters of the law,” he says.

The state’s laws were watered down, the result of a 2013 court ruling.

Illinois government has since revoked G.C.W.’s operating license.

A spokesman for Harvey-based G.C.W. declined to comment.

 

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