INDIANAPOLIS - The city is taking action because of an Eyewitness News investigation into unfair towing practices.
13 investigates captured the video no one will soon forget - my truck was illegally towed. After our four-month undercover operation, we blew the whistle on local towing companies taking advantage of you and your money.
It led to the new city ordinance to protect consumers against predatory towing. On Thursday, the city announced more help.
"The Department of Code Enforcement will provide another layer of consumer protection through dedicated hotline and email resources," said Mayor Greg Ballard, speaking at a news conference in Broad Ripple Thursday morning.
You can now report when your car is illegally towed, giving the date, time, location, brief description of complaint, and contact information.
For legal tows, you can report if your rights are abused like charging you more than $150 for the tow. If you're made to pay more than $30 a day for storage fees, you've got a case. You must be able to claim your vehicle 24/7 and pay with cash or credit card.
If any of the rules are broken, your complaint will be investigated by the city. The company's operating license may suspended or revoked.
"I said when we passed this ordinance that it was the first step that it was going to be a process and today we're taking that additional step to provide more protections," said Ryan Vaughn (R-City-County Council president).
There is now new signage posted in Broad Ripple so everyone's on notice and drivers can park around the city without fear.
"We're excited to welcome back those visitors who may be used to be frustrated with not understanding where they could and couldn't park. We'd love to have you come back to visit our village," said Elizabeth Marshall, Broad Ripple Village Association.
The new rules, effective immediately, include:
· Towing fees for passenger vehicles capped at $150. Storage fees capped at $30 per day · Signage must be posted in plain view at the entrance and exit of any private parking lot indicating that vehicles are subject to tow · Motorists must be able to claim their vehicle 24 hours per day, seven days a week · A representative of property owner must sign tow order for each vehicle prior to towing · Towing companies must accept cash and credit
The city will now require towing companies to obtain business licenses, which will require them to provide proof of insurance, background checks on drivers and secure storage lots for vehicles. Mayor Ballard says the city has already issued ten of those licenses.