Rogue towing: Some tow companies not paying fines

WGN Investigates
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CHICAGO — The practice of rogue towing has been under fire for years.  

Tow drivers listen to scanners and are often the first to arrive at accidents.  According to complaints, they convince victims that they work with the city and insurance companies to tow wrecks.  Then, when it’s time to get your vehicle, the cost is way more than you were told. 

The Illinois Commerce Commission cites them, but WGN Investigates found that many of the businesses aren’t paying those fines.  

Hearings on a city ordinance to crack down on rogue towing are scheduled for Thursday.

Through records requests, WGN Investigates looked at the fines levied by the Illinois Commerce Commission.  As of July of 2020, just over $11,000 in fines were issued but only $850 had been paid to the Illinois Commerce Commission.  Most of the fines were for illegal practices.   

Ed Forsythe with the Professional Towing & Recovery Operators of Illinois has a theory on why towing businesses are not paying up.   

“Because they back away and change their names,” he said.  “Like you and I change our socks, they change their names.”

On Thursday, the City Council Committee on Finance will hear from industry experts on ways to develop a licensing system in Chicago. 

PTRO of Illinois released this list of what it considers as reputable towing operations.

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