MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – Police said Tuesday there is enough evidence to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged price gouging by some tow truck companies operating in Mobile.
That news is concerning to those in the towing industry that bad actors are taking advantage.
“Taking advantage of a customer really is defeating the purpose of what we do, we serve the community,” said Greg Poole with Pitts & Sons Towing.
Pitts & Sons is one of the oldest and largest towing companies in the area. They said they welcome an investigation to get those abusing the system out.
“I believe it's very good that they're doing some investigation on that,” Poole said. “I mean there are a lot of companies really price gouging people and hurting the companies being equal to other towing companies.”
Mobile Police said this is not an isolated problem and have evidence against several companies the city works with for excessive and inappropriate charging and billing for services never rendered.
“It did alarm us, it certainly brought our attention to some possible bad actors,” said James Barber, Mobile Public Safety Director. “We're certainly not saying that all the wrecker companies are doing anything inappropriate.”
Police said tow trucks that operate within Mobile must follow city ordinances relating to charges. Documents investigators have gotten show some companies may have charged as much as five times too much for some services.
Pitts & Sons Towing said that is bad for business.
“Really it's hurting all the towing companies if you're price gouging because people get a bad taste in their mouth,” Poole said.
Police said if companies are found to have price gouged customers they could slap them with fraud charges.
As of Tuesday night, Mobile Police said those investigations are ongoing which is why they have not named any towing companies.
City leaders are also looking at changes to city ordinances that govern how tow trucks operate to prevent this from happening again.