Tow company pays customers back after KGW investigation

Towing customers get their money back

SALEM, Ore. -- A Salem towing company paid customers back after a KGW investigation into complaints of excessive rates.

“Hopefully, they’re out there to do the right thing,” said Jason Wolfe.  “A lot of people got screwed.”

Earlier this month, Wolfe received a check from Discount Towing & Recovery for $1,022 -- the exact amount Wolfe paid to recover his truck after it was towed in August.

Michael Chuning of Salem also received a check.  His refund from Discount Towing was for $866.

“I wasn’t expecting to get anything back,” explained Chuning. 

A KGW investigation found nearly a dozen complaints about Discount Towing & Recovery.  Many consumers felt the company charged unfair rates.

Read investigation: Salem tow company accused of excessive fees 

In August, Chuning contacted KGW after his daughter had her Toyota Camry towed from a grocery store in Jefferson.  The parking lot was marked “Authorized Parking Only.”

Discount Towing & Recovery hauled the car roughly 22 miles.  An invoice showed the towing company charged a base towing fee of $500.  The dispatch charge was $50, administration cost was listed as $50, and the company tacked on $176 for mileage. 

The total cost of the tow was $816. The company demanded payment in cash.

“They’re giving a lot of other tow companies a bad name because of the amount they are charging,” said Chuning. 

Both Chuning and Wolfe threatened legal action against Discount Towing and its owner Donald Duddles, although neither actually filed suit.

“I think he realized he was in the wrong and needed to make it right,” explained Wolfe.

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In most parts of the state, there’s no restriction on what tow companies can charge.

“I think lawmakers should be doing something,” said Chuning.  “I mean how can you have no cap on the price? That’s ridiculous.”

Discount Towing & Recovery did not respond KGW’s request for comment.  It is not clear if refund checks were sent to other customers.

Both Chuning and Wolfe said there was no explanation or apology letter, just a check marked “Refund.”

Read more:

Officials take notice of tow rates after KGW investigation

Oregon State Police to cut ties with Salem towing company

KGW


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