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$500 to $700 towing charges leave metro Detroit drivers furious

Posted at 7:20 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 07:20:09-04

(WXYZ) — Fed up and furious, driver's across metro Detroit whose vehicles were towed from the freeway after weekend floods say the cost to recover their vehicles is outrageous.

“My car was on the shoulder with no water damage. (It was) $639; 6% service fee for using a credit card, too,” said motorist Kelsey Cinciarelli.

Outside Goch & Sons Towing in Southwest Detroit, customers are lined up and fed up over what they call unreasonable prices to pick up their vehicles. Some waited for hours to learn there's about a hefty price tag they didn't expect.

“It’s like $600. Been here all morning long. Really what this is, is exploitation,” said one local resident.

Both inside and outside 7 Action News found no list of pricing, which state police require to be posted for customers. However, the owner, Mike Goch, agreed to speak with 7 Action News.

“State police came out with a price recommendation sheet. Most are around $500 or less. I’ve had no one complain at the window,” he said.

Another resident whose vehicle was towed said there's an additional $30 a day charge each day your vehicle is left at the tow business.

"This is not going to be a $50-type of tow bill," said Lt. Mike Shaw with Michigan State Police.

Digging for answers, 7 Action News learned prices many are complaining about actually are laid out in a state police list of recommended billing. While they can charge their rates, 7 Action News asked state police, who contract with towing companies, just how the numbers are determined.

"I’m a state trooper, not a tow truck operator," Lt. Shaw said. "What the prices are I don’t know.”

7 Action News also asked about charging for storage on Sunday when the tow shop is closed to people who need their vehicles.

“Goch and Sons was closed. Is that fair? That’s between the consumer and person who towed the car,” Shaw said.

A records search indicates Goch & Sons is not accredited by the BBB. We also checked with two other companies, but they would not compare prices to Goch & Sons during a flood. In the meantime, people swiping credit cards are telling 7 Action News they are getting the cold shoulder at the payment window, which has them flooded with anger.

“I’m furious. I had to call off work today,” Kelsey Cinciarelli said.

Lt. Shaw adds that any company that's abusing its authority could be in danger of losing its contract. Complaints are being directed to the Michigan Attorney General's consumer protection office.