New consumer protections tackling predatory towing makes Colorado a national leader

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DENVER – The Colorado General Assembly sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would ramp up consumer protections around predatory towing. In a recent report, Getting Off the Hook of a Predatory Tow, CoPIRG compared state laws around towing and identified a number of abusive practices following a tow that vehicle owners can experience, from charging exorbitant fees to refusing the owner access to the personal items in their vehicle. Based on the new protections, Colorado would be a national leader. 

The bill, HB22-1314, updates Colorado’s towing regulations by adding new consumer protections, including banning kickbacks from towing companies to property owners, capping consumer notification fees and adding new rules that should accelerate how quickly a vehicle owner is notified. The bill also increases transparency around towing costs and fees, providing consumers with an option to get an itemized bill. Towing companies will also have to provide more evidence, including photographic documentation, to prove why a vehicle was towed. 

The bill also empowers the state’s towing task force to evaluate tow rates, make recommendations for changes, and track and evaluate complaints against towing companies in order to hold problem companies accountable.

In response, Danny Katz, CoPIRG executive director, released the following statement:

“Under the best circumstances, getting towed is a painful ordeal, even if it’s justified. For many vehicle owners, however, the pain is compounded because towing companies too often try to take advantage of you when you’re at your most vulnerable. Unethical towing companies have abused Colorado drivers for too long. This bill tackles a number of predatory towing practices including outlawing kickbacks, increasing transparency around towing and costs, and empowering the entity that oversees tow companies to address bad actors and prevent exorbitant fees. Colorado’s new protections against predatory towing make us a model for other states to follow.”