News7 In Depth


Detroit enacts new towing laws, companies express concerns

Posted at 11:25 PM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 06:08:44-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — There are some changes coming if your car is towed in the city of Detroit.

Jermaine Smith can’t wait for the new tow laws to go into effect.

“It’s been a really rough day for me,” he says.

His car was towed and now it’s costing him to get it out of the yard.

“It's almost cheaper to buy another car because the loops and hoops you have to go through,” Smith adds.

The city of Detroit is trying to remove some of that stress with tow laws to protect predatory towing. City council voted unanimously on a towing ordinance. One of those key changes is payment options. All forms of payment must now be accepted.

One towing company says that is a concern. Denise Boyce Hardison says there is a reason why they prefer cash.

“People stop payments on credit cards. People stop payments on checks. So it’s best for us to accept the cash up front and we know we are paid,” said Boyce Hardison.

She is also part of the Detroit Towing Association.

Boyce Hardison says there are many questions about these new laws. Especially on the one about ‘tows must be stopped if owner arrives before the vehicle is removed.’

“I don’t understand what they are talking about there. Is it a private property tow or a police authorized tow?” she asks.

7 Action News did reach out to City Council President Brenda Jones. We are waiting for answers and clarification.

In a statement sent to WXYZ Mayor Mike Duggan says, “The approval of this new ordinance is an important step in reforming the city's troubled towing process and I appreciate the efforts of Council President Jones and Chief White to get it passed. We will now move onto the next steps to assure accountability and transparency in the towing procurement process.”

Detroit Police Chief James White adds “It [ordinances] also includes regulations that will help the Detroit Police Department (DPD) monitor towing activities taking place in Detroit. I am happy that the DPD was able to help craft this ordinance and appreciate the work Council President Brenda Jones contributed to this matter.”

This ordinance comes just two weeks after former council member Andre Spivey pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge. Spivey admitted to taking $35,000 in brides over 4 years to help a towing contractor get a lucrative deal.

A deal the city is working to make with residents is the hardship waiver fee for tows. City leaders say owners may have to bear the cost “should the department find that there is a hardship the company must waive the tow fees and the inducement to do that is to have the contract,” said Commander Michael Parish.

“If we are releasing vehicles without payment then we are going to be in a hardship,” Hardison says.

If you feel you have been a victim of predatory towing you're asked to call 313-596-8832.