City of Milwaukee To License And Regulate Towing From Private Lots

City towing ordinance would prevent over charging and would require a license for towing companies to tow vehicles from private lots in Milwaukee.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

September 10, 2015

Milwaukee, WI – On Tuesday, Milwaukee Common Council Licensing Committee (MCCLC) voted to begin licensing and regulating companies towing vehicles from private lots. People could pay a minimum of $50 to get their vehicles released to towing truck drivers on the spot before their vehicles can get towed from the lot. Also, the MCCLC decided to use a single license for junk dealers, scrape haulers and others.
The new City towing licensing regulation ordinance goes before the full Common Council for a vote on September 22, 2015.
Scrupulous towing companies targeted vehicles in private lots and towed them without police involvement and charged victims from $100 to 300 on the spot to release vehicles or more than $400 to get it release from a towing lot pound.
Wisconsin state law allowed towing companies to tow vehicles without a license and set a limit in charging for towing, but some companies over charged victims.In March, Hispanic News Network U.S.A. reported that hundreds of Latinos in a weekly basis were subject to excessive towing costs for parking at a private lot located at 1247 S. César E. Chávez Drive. The private towing company ABYSS Towing used a look out spotter parked on the street from Monday to Saturday and kept an eye on who parks in the lot and if that person goes somewhere else to shop. Once the spotter can confirm the person is not doing business with the businesses that allow parking for their customers, then a tow truck is alerted and it comes to tow the vehicle within minutes.
Sometimes a flatbed tow truck is used, in that case, they tow one vehicle at a time and then park it a couple of blocks away. Once three vehicles are secured for towing, they are all towed at the same time.
If a victim can catch the tow truck driver at the scene and doesn’t want the vehicle towed, the victim has to pay $200 in cash and some cases they wouldn’t even get a receipt from a tow truck driver. If the tow truck gets to take the vehicle to a private tow lot, the victim will most likely have to pay between $150, $180, $250 and up to $350, not including storage costs.
In a regular day of towing, ABYSS Towing could clear more than $6,000 for towing at least 20 vehicles at $300 to $350 each.
A State law (2013 WI ACT 76) took effect October 2014 allowing anyone to tow a vehicle without being bonded or licensed creating a scamming operation for profits. Under the 2014 state towing law, private towing companies are required to charge a maximum of $105 per regular tow and $20 per day for storage.

It’s cheaper to get towed by the City from the street, including storage compared to ABYSS Towing, a private contractor getting towed from a private property. Checkout what the City of Milwaukee charges for towing, according to their Web site.

● The towing fee is $105.00

● The flatbed towing fee is $125.00, when a flatbed tow is required

●The relocation moving fee is $25.00 for uninsured drivers

●The outdoor vehicle storage fee is $20.00/calendar day

●The indoor vehicle storage fee is $30.00/calendar day

Video: ABYSS Towing autos from S. Chávez Dr. in Milwaukee: https://youtu.be/J5hwpgvjEHo

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  1. #1 by Bobbi Krajewski on September 21, 2016 - 3:21 pm

    I have had a similar situation with Abyss Towing. I am going to do everything I can to make sure this doesn’t happen to more people. I am planning on going to the next hearing for them to get their license renewed to talk about my experience and try to make it so they can’t renew their license. If you or anyone that has been victimized by Abyss would like to do the same contact me. bell.bobbi@att.net

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