As you know, in life, perception is everything. I want to tell you a story and give you my perception of an issue with the City of Toledo. On March 3, I was involved in an accident on Bancroft Street. My car was rendered undrivable. I could have called for a tow but was courteously approached by the police officer on the scene, asking if I needed a tow. At the time, I thought, “How nice that this officer is helping me.” (Little did I know.) Then I called my insurance agent and he said I should call for a tow. I told the agent that the helpful police officer had called one for me; he said, “In Toledo, that is not a good thing.” I called the police officer over and told him that I wanted the tow driver to take the car to my body shop. He then, and only then, informed me that he was taking the car to the Toledo Police impound lot– “that is the procedure,” I was told. I was floored– he NEVER told me this is what happens when the city calls the tow and I WOULD NEVER have allowed him to call a tow for me if I had known about this practice. When the tow driver came, I asked him if I could have him take my car to my body shop– he turned to look at the officer and then quickly told me “No.” I told the officer I did not want the tow and I wanted to call my own truck– he said this was not possible as the driver was already there. I then asked them to just push my car to a side street and I would have someone pick it up– the officer, and the driver, refused. My car was taken to the impound lot where I had to pay $200 to get it out ($125 for the tow and $75 for storage for three-and-a-half days). Since then I have called towing companies in town and learned that rates range from $60-$80 for a tow; hardly the $125 I had to pay to have it taken to the impound lot. To hire another company to pick it up at the impound lot and take it to the body shop was added to the cost. I started looking on the web and read a story that WTOL did on the impound lot about the unfair practices of making money on innocent victims (which now include me) who had no idea that this is what happens when you allow the City of Toledo to assist you. The story suggested that the police department/City was going to review these questionable practices and address this issue. That is “code speak” for push it far under the rug so that it is forgotten about. I sent a letter dated March 28 to the Mayor of the City of Toledo; at the time of writing this article, I have heard nothing back from the city. So when you are confronted with a “courteous” police officer offering to assist you, be sure you get THE WHOLE STORY about what happens when you accept the assistance of the “nice” police officer. Don’t end up paying exorbitant costs when other arrangements are just a phone call away.
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