Dear Mahatma: If in an accident can you request a different tow service instead of the tow company next in line to be called by the police? If we want to make a complaint against the tow company taking the car to the wrong place when TOLD where to take it, where and how do we do that? The tow truck driver only gave my husband and son less than two minutes to get stuff out of his car! -- Kelly
Dear Kelly: That's quite a flurry of dissatisfaction.
Let's start at the beginning, which for us was the discovery years ago of the Arkansas Towing & Recovery Board, an agency created by Act 899 of 1989. Who says the General Assembly doesn't look out for the little guy?
We also discovered the board's offices were then located in Searcy. They have since moved to North Little Rock, at 7418 North Hills Boulevard. The board regulates the towing and recovery businesses located in the state, licensing them, and permitting all tow vehicles. The agency also ensures compliance with statutes regarding the industry and investigates consumer complaints.
Googling the agency's website told folks to, and we are not making this up: COME SEE US. So we did. We drove over, walked in, sat down and visited with Steven Rogers, the agency director.
We slap up asked him the question: If in an accident can you request a different tow service instead of the tow company next in line to be called by the police?
Rogers slap up said: Yes. But. Then he gave us a print-out of part of Arkansas Code Annotated 27-50-1207, "Removal of vehicles."
The statute addresses owner preference, meaning the right of a vehicle owner to request a tow company of his choosing to take charge of the vehicle. Here's the but part: Except when the immediate clearing of a public road mandates an expedited towing service.
What about a vehicle's contents? Some personal property may be recovered from a vehicle, such as personal or legal documents, medications, child-restraint seating, wallets and purses and their contents, prescription eyeglasses, or cellphones. No mention of time, two minutes or otherwise.
Ah -- complaint form can be found at artowing.arkansas.gov.
Before filing a complaint, the agency advises consumers to talk to the owner of the tow company.
If at an impasse with a tow company, the agency says, call to speak to an investigator. The number is (501) 682-3801. Oftentimes an investigator can help resolve a dispute. As we all know, a soft answer turneth away wrath. If that fails, a complaint may be filed.
Back to Steven Rogers, director of the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. He admitted to reading this column regularly, poor guy, and wanted us to know he owns a 1970 and a half Ford Falcon Station Wagon with a vanity plate -- DADDY O.
Vanity plate on a Dodge Ram: WTZIT2U. No question mark, but we get it.