INLAND EMPIRE (CBSLA.com) — A lawmaker is working with the California Highway Patrol to investigate accusations of price gouging by tow truck companies following last week’s fire in the Cajon Pass.
The towing fees ranged from a few hundred dollars to a jaw-dropping $2,000 for drivers who left their cars on Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass and ran for their lives from the North fire.
“I was horrified,” said Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-33rd District).
“Obviously, these are people who have already been through a very traumatic situation having to abandon their cars on the 15 Freeway due to the fire and, to add insult to injury, by price gouging like that is just unconscionable,” he said.
Obernolte is now working with the CHP to investigate accusations of price gouging by tow truck companies contracted through the CHP.
“In adding things up, we can’t come up with any way that it could be more than the high hundreds of dollars for a tow job like this, even if it took a substantial amount of time,” he said.
Obernolte says anyone who received a bill for more than $1,000 should contact his office because he says fees that steep are illegal.
He is considering legislative solutions to put an end to alleged price gouging.
“Just because a tow truck operator had to wait a couple of hours to get on the freeway, we don’t think it’s fair to charge the motorist for that wait time,” he said.
Some towing companies already refunded drivers their money, while others are standing by their prices.