You should always be aware of bogus and unlicensed towing companies, and here’s my story to prove why!
I was driving home one day from my office in San Jose when I didn’t realize I was running out of gas. The most infuriating part about this was that I was in the middle of a freeway, and I wouldn’t get to my exit for another 15 minutes or so, driving at 70 mph. I had completely overlooked this and before stopping in the middle of the freeway, which was both illegal and dangerous, I pulled over at the nearest rest stop, but unfortunately this one had no gas station. So I searched the Internet for the tow company that would get to my location the quickest and found this one, whose website said that their satellite office was only 20 miles from where I was. I waited for about 15 minutes before they got to me, but the peculiar thing was while I specifically insisted on a gas refill, they insisted on towing my car to an automotive repair shop to have it checked for “problems”. I had not had a maintenance check in a long time, so I thought why not. But then I realized, as they were towing my car, not only did they bring me extremely overpriced fuel, I was also legally obliged to pay for a service I didn’t originally ask for. When we got to the shop, a was charged a few extra hundred dollars! And I was shocked to find that the final invoice had so many transportation costs added on top of the gas fuel fee. I was so annoyed at that point because I felt like I was partly to blame, Googling and choosing the nearest tow company I could find instead of asking people I trusted for recommendations.
They took my car in the shop and insisted on keeping it for a day to give it a full maintenance check. I refused, of course, but not after going through a long process of signing waivers and having a talk with my insurance company. It was only when I had gotten home that I realized I might have been scammed. I searched the Internet to check their website again and to look for customer reviews–turns out this so-called company had been blacklisted as being unlicensed and for having under-the-table partnerships with repair shops all over San Jose.
Imagine my horror as I realized I got fuel from an unlicensed towing company–who knows where they might have gotten possibly watered down fuel on the cheap. A week later I got my car checked at a shop I had taken it to before, and I told them my story. The owner told me they’d been hearing of numerous reports of scammers overcharging customers.
On that fateful day I learned a very important lesson: never trust the Internet too much and go the traditional way of asking friends for advice when it comes to things like towing services.