Accident towing industry consultation report

The Consultation Report summarises the outcome of public consultation undertaken by Consumer Protection in August 2020. The consultation sought stakeholders’ views about the need for industry reforms and the options for regulating Western Australia’s towing industry.

The Government is considering towing industry reforms because there are serious concerns about:

  • unsafe, unscrupulous, threatening, deceptive and unethical conduct;
  • excessive towing and storage fees with fees charged in Western Australia being two to three times higher than equivalent tows in other jurisdictions;
  • physical altercations between tow truck drivers competing to secure accident towing jobs and harassment of consumers; and
  • possible links to criminal activity and organised crime.

What is in the report?

The report includes:

  • background information;
  • an overview of stakeholder input in response to the C-RIS and surveys;
  • an analysis of options for reform; and
  • a preferred option based on an assessment against objectives for reform.

Based on the outcome of consultation, there appears to be a strong case for regulation of the accident towing industry potentially through a combination of occupational licensing and fee regulation.

The towing industry in WA is currently regulated under legislation administered by the Department of Transport, who will lead the next stage of the reform process.

Who was consulted?

Consumer Protection consulted with people involved in WA’s accident towing industry, consumers and motor vehicle insurers to find out their views about options for reforming the accident towing industry.

The opportunity to provide input was widely publicised through the media, social media, electronic bulletins and direct contact with more than 6,000 stakeholders.

To help stakeholders wishing to provide input, Consumer Protection released a report in the form of a Towing Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (C-RIS) identifying issues and options for reform.

Consumer and industry surveys were also made available for stakeholders to complete online.

How many responses were received?

A total of 37 written submissions and 414 responses to the online surveys were received from stakeholders including, industry participants, insurers, consumers and government agencies.

What did stakeholders say?

The overwhelming majority of written submissions supported increased regulation of the accident towing industry.

Similarly, responses to the surveys reflected very strong support for regulation with 94 per cent of consumer respondents and 88 per cent of industry respondents expressing support.

In addition, a large number of people who responded to the surveys told us about their experiences. These included 94 specific references to poor and unscrupulous conduct on the part of the accident towing industry and 76 specific references to charging excessive fees.

What were the key issues for stakeholders?

Key issues of concern highlighted by stakeholders included:

  • Charging excessive fees for towing and storing accident damaged vehicles.
  • Poor conduct and unscrupulous practices on the part of some industry participants.
  • Safety concerns relating to crash chasing and physical altercations at the scene of accidents.
  • Possible links to criminal activity and organised crime.

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Consumer Protection
Last updated 24 Feb 2022

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