Towing after an accident
It’s your choice
You have the right to decide who tows your car and where it is towed – you don’t have to choose the first tow truck that arrives at the scene after an accident or breakdown.
You can choose to have your car towed directly to a repairer, your home, or a storage yard.
If possible, contact your insurer before you agree to have your car towed as many insurers will only pay the cost of towing a car from the scene of an incident to their nearest approved repairer.
If your car is obstructing traffic on a major road in the metropolitan area, Main Roads WA may help relocate your car to a safer location at no cost. From there, you can arrange a towing service to take your car to your preferred location. You can call Main Roads WA on 138 138.
Be in the know before you tow
A tow truck driver must tell you the maximum cost and is required to give you towing information including an Authority to Tow before you agree to have your car towed. Tow truck drivers must not intimidate or force you to use their services. It is important to read and understand all of the terms and conditions before you sign any contract. Know the price before you agree to the car being to be towed.
Important: Australian Consumer Law (ACL) does not regulate the cost of services, Consumer Protection generally can’t assist if you feel you have been overcharged.
Authority to Tow - read the fine print before signing
Tow truck drivers must provide you with a completed Authority to Tow form and cannot tow your car unless you sign it. They must give you a copy as well.
The Authority to Tow form must include specific information:
- Where your car is being moved from and to;
- Your name and address;
- The number plate and make of your car;
- The tow truck driver’s name and contact number; and
- The tow truck’s number plate.
Do not sign the form if anything has been left blank, or if you’re unhappy with the terms and conditions. Read the fine print to avoid being locked into having your car repaired by a particular repairer. These types of contract terms may be considered unfair under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). If you believe that a term is potentially unfair, contact Consumer Protection to discuss further.
If your car is towed to a storage yard, tell the tow truck operator your car is not to be repaired without the authorisation of you or your insurer.
Department of Transport’s Tow truck consumer advice has more information.
If you have a complaint, you may have rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
You should try to resolve any disputes with the towing service first. If you are not happy with their response, contact the Consumer Protection Contact Centre on 1300 30 40 54 or by email for further assistance.
If all your attempts to resolve this issue don’t work, you can lodge a complaint with Consumer Protection.
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