MASSPIRG urges Boston to support the Consumer Towing Bill of Rights

Media Contacts

MASSPIRG testified today before the Boston City Council’s Committee on Government Operations in support of basic consumer protections in the car towing industry.  The proposal, Ordinance Regulating Predatory Towing Practices and Establishing a Towing Bill of Rights (Docket #0901) was introduced by Councilors Breadon and Edwards.

“The proposed new towing rules are important consumer protections for Boston residents and those who work in and visit the City. Under the best circumstances, getting towed is an ordeal, even when justified,” said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director. “For many drivers, however, the situation is compounded because the current consumer protections are weak and outdated.

The proposed city ordinance includes mandating that towing companies publish and display their rates, accept payment via credit card as opposed to solely cash, requiring a photograph of the vehicle’s parked position before towing, providing itemized bills detailing charges, and reimbursement for damages related to towing or storage. The legislation also prohibits tow operators from cruising or surveilling private property without cause, as an involuntary tow must first be initiated by a request from a private property owner.

The ordinance follows the recommendations outlined in our May 2021 report  “Getting Off the Hook of a Predatory Tow in Massachusetts.” MASSPIRG Education Fund identified 14 common sense towing protections that should be available to consumers. Massachusetts only mandates 6 of the 14 consumer protections.