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Towing Companies Demand Fair Rotation For City-Contracted Jobs

When a city needs a tow service, perhaps in the aftermath of an auto accident or when an abandoned car needs to be moved, it will typically contract with a private towing company since few cities have towers on staff. However, it seems that in several cases across the country, cities are neglecting to fairly distribute city-contracted towing and vehicle recovery business among each qualified towing company in the area.

The most recent example of this type of situation comes from complaints of several towing companies in Bath, New York. The companies are charging the city with unfairly distributing business to a few preferred companies and not adhering to the impartial rotation among tow services that was originally agreed to when the towing companies signed a contract with the city. This type of favoritism is not uncommon, however and it is not limited to the state of New York. Similar complaints have popped up all over the country.

Towing companies complain of favoritism. (photo by ItsFitting via Flickr)

Towing companies complain of favoritism. (photo by ItsFitting via Flickr)

There are many potential reasons for this behavior. Perhaps, the city plays favorites because it has a special relationship with one towing company, or perhaps it is a situation where dishonest officials are unfairly and illegally driving business to their favorite tow service. Although, no recent news has surfaced of outright corruption, one has to ask why else would this type of favoritism exist.

Not all cities and municipalities utilize a rotational basis for determining which towing company receives city ordered business. Some cities explicitly contract with one particular company or divide the business up by geographical areas. While giving one towing company exclusive access to city-contracted towing and vehicle recovery business can certainly be criticized on the grounds of promoting a monopoly, for some small areas there simply may only be one tow service available or capable of doing the job.

In all of these cases, a city or municipality should be expected to honor the contract that it has entered into with each towing company. Criticism about how they divide up business may be legitimate, but when there is a legal basis for this criticism, a city can expect to potentially face a lawsuit over the apparent favoritism and other questionable behavior.

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