Towing Abandoned Vehicles

Posted on Mar 27, 2013 in Cars, Consumer Dial Information, OCP

1/5/09 [OCP]

Here is what Hawaii State Law says about towing abandoned vehicles.

Section 290-11, of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires the owner or occupant of a property to post a sign stating that unauthorized parking is not allowed and violators will be towed away. The sign must be large and conspicuous enough to be seen and the sign must also state where the vehicle will be towed.

The maximum amount that can be charged for towing an unattended vehicle is $65, or $75 for a tow using a dolly. In addition, the towing company may charge a mileage charge of $7.50 per mile towed and $25 per day or fraction of a day for storage for the first seven days and $20 per day, thereafter. When the tow occurs between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., from Monday through Thursday and from Friday six p.m. to Monday six a.m., the towing company can add an overtime charge of $15.  In the case of a difficult hookup, meaning an above or below ground hookup in a multilevel facility, a towing surcharge of $30 is applicable.

For example, if at 10 a.m. on Saturday, your car is towed five miles and you pick it up on the same day, your bill would total $152.50. You would be charged $75 for a tow with a dolly, $37.50 for mileage, that is 5 miles times $7.50 per mile, $15 overtime charge and $25 for storage.

If the vehicle is in the process of being hooked up or is hooked up to the tow truck and the owner appears on the scene, the towing company shall unhook the vehicle and shall not charge any fee to the owner of the vehicle.

The charges in the statute are maximum charges provided in the law. Towing companies may not exceed the maximum amounts by adding taxes or any other charges. In addition, the amendments provide that towing operators shall accommodate payment for the charges by cash and by either credit card or automated teller machines located on the premises.

The law requires the towing company to find out the name of the legal and registered owners of the vehicle and to send a notice to the legal and registered owners within twenty days. The notice must include a description of the car, the location of the vehicle, the maximum charges allowed by law and a warning that if the car is not picked up within thirty days, it will be considered abandoned and may then be sold or junked.

If your car was towed away and you are having problems recovering it or believe that you were overcharged, you may file a complaint with the State Office of Consumer Protection. To begin the complaint process, call 587-4272.

Revised by Herbert Rokuta 1/5/09