When conditions worsened along Highway 24 in Manitou Springs last Friday, state troopers forced several drivers to abandon their vehicles.
Among them, Bobby Frazee's Chevy pick-up.
When he got the tow bill he was shocked to see it was $467.
It cost $154 for the actual tow plus $90 for three days of storage. He didn't mind that, but balked at extra charges like $45 because the key wasn't left in it.
I went with him to Gary's Collision and Alignment, and met with the owner, Gary Steinberger. Gary says he had to perform 30 minutes more work because he didn't have the key.
Gary says, "We charge a fair rate for our services out there. The risk of our employees, Workmen's Comp. The State Patrol approved our price sheet, our rates. We can charge more if we wanted to... but we don't. We charge under the maximum that's allowed."
I asked, "Out of the goodness of your heart could you reduce your bill somewhat? What we're hearing from other companies is that they wouldn't have charged as much, so I'm just asking if you could entertain that notion."
Gary said, "If you were starving for food. If the grocery isn't giving it to you for free, you're going to pay for it."
In the end, Gary refused to adjust his rates, so Bobby paid $467 to get back his truck.
He's now asking State Patrol to take Gary's Collision and Alignment off their list of tow companies.
We'll let you know what happens.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission issues permits for tow truck companies and sets a maximum amount for each charge.
The state agency also handles complains. Below is a link to that website.