“Predatory towing” is a curse for many freight forwarders, says ATRI – Transport Routier

A report released today by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) examines the causes and actions the trucking industry can take to address what is commonly referred to as “predatory towing.”

According to ATRI, overpricing is the most common form of towing abuse, affecting 82.7% of trucking companies. Additional service fees also angered 81.8% of trucking companies, who were forced to do business with unscrupulous towing companies.

Tractor truck pulled by a heavy-duty tow truck(Photo: iStock)

Most of the shippers surveyed also had difficulty getting their truck or goods back, had their truck impounded for no reason, or had a towing experience that was described as “amicable” when that was not the case.

The study finds that the great variability of rules from one city or region to another encourages this type of chaotic situation.

The ATRI report also includes opinions from legal experts who suggest strategies to help trucking companies identify and avoid instances of predatory towing, properly analyze towing invoices and, if necessary, dispute them.

“Predatory towing is a costly problem for both shippers and honest towing companies that has been ignored for too long,” said Shawn R. Brown, vice president of safety for Cargo Transporters.

He said the ATRI report sheds more light on some of these practices and will help fleets and regulators combat them.

The full ATRI report (in English) can be downloaded free of charge at Click here.


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