You have probably heard the jokes before about hidden fees. The resort fee, the paper-reduction fee, the convenience fee, the fee management fee. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published in the Federal Register some plans in order to mitigate them. When it comes to fees for towing commercial trucks, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) cannot be happier.
As the FTC posts in the Federal Register:
“Commenters stated businesses routinely engage in deceptive bait-and-switch pricing tactics by advertising prices that fail to include mandatory fees and that end up misrepresenting total prices because fees imposed later increase total prices significantly.”
The publication has received well over 60,000 comments, and based on a small sample size, reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
What makes this related to the trucking industry is that the USDOT has published its own support of the regulation.
“When a truck driver’s vehicle is towed, they can’t earn a living until they get it back — leaving them vulnerable to predatory junk fees from towing companies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the statement. “We support FTC’s efforts to stand up for truckers by acting to ban junk fees and prevent predatory towing fees that can cause significant financial harm.”
“Predatory towing negatively impacts consumers, including commercial motor vehicle drivers and trucking companies. It is detrimental to the overall health of the trucking industry, and it’s time to end excessive rates, surcharges, and other unfair fees associated with predatory towing,” added Sue Lawless, Acting Deputy Administrator of the FMCSA in the same statement.
It appears as though the work from the ATRI on predatory towing has managed to have influence on government policy moving forward. Or, it could just be a coincidence, but we could not be happier either way.
This is another example of general regulation/legislation applying directly to the trucking industry when someone might initially not think it would do so, such as what happened with California’s AB-5 Bill, which was originally intended to stem “gig economy” worker exploitation. Hopefully, this regulation will allow truckers and fleets to know right away how much a tow is going to cost upfront, with no more surprises.
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