At the Tennessee Tow Show in Chattanooga, Tennessee, we were asked to lead a discussion on the use of social media in the tow business. The term “social media” can refer to many things but in this context we mean communicating and/or posting information, including photographs, on various internet platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, websites, and blogs. With the advent of the camera phone and the speed in which information may be disseminated on the internet, having a well-crafted social media policy is necessary.
At TowLawyer.com we receive numerous complaints about towing rotation list rules not being enforced. Most rotation lists are governed by written rules and regulations which set forth guidelines for participation such as equipment specifications, response times, minimum levels of insurance, storage yard requirements, and call dispatching protocols. Typically the rules also contain prohibitions against obtaining multiple spots on the list by using bogus company names, skipping calls without good cause, etc. Suspension or permanent removal is normally called for in the event of a violation.
A group of disgruntled former tow operators, an unsuspecting tow company, and a commission based payment system where the tow operators were not making minimum wage: the perfect storm of a wage and hour case. Unfortunately, this perfect storm came into fruition for I-70 Towing of Columbia, Missouri in Lanktree v. I-70 Towing, 2011 WL 4729726 (U.S.D. Mo. 2011).
When claiming a possessory lien on unclaimed motor vehicles, most state statutes require the tow company to inquire with their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to determine the vehicle’s owners and lienholders. If the DMV’s records indicate “no record found,” most states allow a tow company to proceed with a lien sale if the tow company publishes an appropriate public notice and the subject vehicle is not retrieved in a certain number of days.