SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle City Council announced Wednesday that they will take steps to limit the fees tow companies charge -- action prompted by one man's tale of being charged nearly $800 last month when his pickup was towed from a private lot.
McGinn said in a press release Wednesday that the Seattle City Attorney’s Office determined the city has the authority to limit towing rates by private companies on private property.
“Based on that information, we are moving forward on legislation to provide those consumer protections,” said McGinn.
Councilmember Nick Licata said he plans to introduce legislation next year to set a cap on towing fees in the city.
“It is reasonable to charge people who park on private property when they aren’t authorized to. However, they shouldn’t have to pay whatever the towing company decides, no matter how high the rate,” said Licata.
“We will also be looking at issues of notice, whether directions to recover a towed vehicle are sufficient, how someone can challenge costs and whether laws about disposal of towed vehicles are being followed,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess.
The story of the $800 tow was first reported by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat.