At Risk: Unexpected Charges, Few Resources for Illinois Towing Customers

Illinois’ largely unregulated towing industry is leaving some customers angry and upset after they were forced to pay unexpected bills.

Ellie Frobish, a twenty-year-old college student, was charged nearly $4,000 to get her car out of a ditch it landed in during a snowstorm.

“My friends say, ‘You got ripped off by a pretty girl,'” he said.

The bill included a “salvage-based surcharge” of $1,800 and a fuel surcharge of $724.

Ellie’s father, Eric Frobish, a lawyer, tried to intervene by calling the towing company.

“Basically, he told me in no uncertain terms, ‘This is going to happen one of these ways: You either pay for this trailer, or we’re going to keep your car in storage and rack up more fees until we own your vehicle. car,’” she said.

The total cost of the trailer approached the value of Ellie Frobish’s 11-year-old Ford Taurus.

But Ellie Frobish’s experience wasn’t as costly as Kamayi Denis’ encounter with the same suburban towing company. She was charged $23,188 for removing her pick-up truck and its cargo carrier from a ditch along I-55. When she finished arguing with the towing company and the insurance company, storage fees were added which brought the bill to over $39,000.

“I want them to be held accountable for the harm they are doing to people,” said Denis.

WGN Investigates found that despite more than 100 police reports and dozens of complaints filed against the company with the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau since January 2021, regulators can make bit.

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