SALT LAKE CITY -- State lawmakers want to give the hook to predatory towing practices.
Members of the House voted 66-4 on Tuesday to require tow truck operators to accept debit or credit card payments as well as post new signage requirements on costs and forms of payment.The measure now moves to the Senate.
The bill, HB 115, is seen as consumer protection against towing companies that aggressively hook up cars parked in spots for too long or left on the road, and then expect cash payment, sometimes inflating the cost when the car is impounded overnight.
Ogden lawmaker Rep. Dixon Pitcher spoke on the floor during House debate of a Weber County towing company that used binoculars to monitor an area and was quick to get a hook on any car when it was in a nonlegal parking area. He said the conventional tow resulted in a $278 cost.
"Towing is a function that has to happen. However, there is also a side that needs to be considered," Pitcher said.
He said the predatory towing practice is especially unconscionable for people who are "one bill away from one disaster in life."
Rep. Steven Eliason, R-Sandy, found it amazing that so many in the industry have so few payment options.
"I dare you to find another industry that charges over $200 and doesn't take credit cards."