Ontario Increasing Transparency for Drivers Using Towing and Vehicle Storage Services
New Rules Will Strengthen Consumer Protection
Ontario is reminding consumers that, as of January 1, 2017, new requirements are in place for tow truck or vehicle storage services designed to increase transparency and strengthen consumer protection.
The new changes will ensure tow and storage providers:
- Have permission from the consumer or someone acting on their behalf before towing or storing a vehicle
- Publicly disclose rates and other information such as the provider's name and telephone number on tow trucks as well as in places of business
- Accept credit card payments from consumers (and not insist on cash only)
- Notify consumers where their vehicle will be towed
- Allow consumers to access their towed vehicles to remove personal property at no charge between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on all business days
- Give consumers an itemized invoice listing the services provided and costs before receiving payment
- Disclose if they are getting a financial incentive for towing a vehicle to a particular vehicle storage facility or repair shop.
Protecting consumers is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- There are approximately 1,200 tow truck businesses, with 3,000 tow truck drivers in Ontario.
- Sixteen Ontario municipalities currently have by-laws that license towing businesses.
- The new rules are being brought forward as a result of changes made by Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act.
- The province is also taking action to improve the safety of tow trucks and their operators by including tow trucks in the province's existing Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration system as of January 1, 2017. This change will improve road safety through government monitoring and enforcement measures.
“Our government is committed to protecting consumers at home and in the marketplace. Consumers in need of a tow or roadside assistance in Ontario can have confidence that the tow truck service helping them will do the work safely and will deal with them in an honest and fair way. Our new rules will help drivers make informed decisions when getting their vehicle towed.”
“Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America. By including tow truck operators in the province’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration program we are improving road safety and are ensuring that we are effectively monitoring and overseeing operators.”