Tow Company Cases
Consumers Have Valuable Claims Against Collection Agencies That Access Their Credit Reports To Collect on Non-Consensual Towing and Storage Charges
Towing companies take in great numbers of cars and trucks from the streets and highways every year and claim large fees for towing and storage. To get the car back, the owner must pay the charges, but sometimes the owner cannot afford the fees or the car is not worth that much. If the owner does not pay the towing and storage fees, the towing company eventually sells the vehicle at a lien sale. Generally, the car does not sell for enough money to pay off the towing company’s claim, so there is a “towing deficiency claim” that remains unpaid.
Towing companies hire collection agencies (debt collectors) to collect these towing deficiency claims. Some collection agencies have been accessing the credit reports of the vehicle owners as part of their collection strategy. By looking at the owner’s credit report, the collection agency knows whether the owner is able to pay the claim or worth suing. The consumer’s credit report also gives the collection agent some insights into the best way to collect from the owner – different psychological strategies work better with certain types of people.
This conduct is illegal. The consumer whose credit report has been accessed by a collection agency for a towing deficiency claim can sue for compensatory and punitive damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Our firm has handled a recent case, Pintos v Pacific Creditors Ass’n, 605 F.3d 665 (9th Cir. 2010) in which the U.S. Court of Appeals so held.
Here are the names of the collection agencies that are listed on the website of the California tow truck operators that specialize in collection of towing and storage charges:
AAA Credit Service Collection Agency, Anaheim, California
American Capital Enterprises, Temecula, California
Credit Bureau Associates, Fairfield, California
Finex Group Collections, San Jose, California
Lien Enforcement, Inc., Fremont, California
Rickenbacker Collections, Morgan Hill, California
If you have been getting phone calls or demand letters from any of these collection agencies for towing deficiency claims, or if they have been looking at your credit report, please call us for a free consultation. If you don’t know how to get your credit report or you need help reading and understanding it, we will be happy to assist you. There is no charge for the consultation and we handle all of our cases on a contingent fee basis. We will not ask you for money. We get paid by the opposing party when and if we win your case.