DENVER, CO – The House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee today passed legislation to crack down on predatory towing, improve industry transparency, and ramp up consumer protections. HB24-1051 passed by a vote of 7 to 3.
“Imagine waking up to find, through no fault of your own, that your car has been towed – this is an expensive and devastating reality for thousands of Coloradans across our state,” said Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins. “While the Towing Bill of Rights laid a strong foundation to protect vehicle owners, we’re doing more to improve transparency within the towing industry and prohibiting predatory towing companies from patrolling parking lots to look for vehicles to profit on. This important legislation puts consumers first by requiring property owners to authorize residential non-consensual tows and gives the Public Utilities Commission new tools to hold bad actors accountable.”
“Towing companies have a massive advantage over everyday Coloradans, and we need to do more to level the playing field,” said Rep. Tisha Mauro, D-Pueblo. “Our legislation works to dismantle financial incentives for predatory towing practices, specifically patrolling parking lots, and drastically improves consumer protections. Under this bill, if a vehicle is illegally towed, the towing company would have to make it right by returning the vehicle within 48 hours at no cost to the owner. This legislation also institutes new towing transparency and oversight measures so we can prioritize consumers.”
HB24-1051 would improve oversight, transparency and fairness in the towing industry in Colorado. Specifically, this bill would direct the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to promulgate new rules for towing carriers, including requiring carriers to disclose additional information necessary for effective oversight and meaningful reporting. It would also end the practice of towing carriers patrolling, monitoring or policing properties to enforce parking restrictions on behalf of property owners.
Importantly, HB24-1051 changes the incentive structure for towing companies and property owners by requiring the property owner, not the vehicle owner, to authorize and pay for non-consensual tows in certain circumstances. Unauthorized vehicles would still be towed at the expense of the vehicle owner.
Another portion of the bill aims to ramp up consumer protections by requiring companies to return a wrongfully towed vehicle to the original location within 48 hours and at no charge, and improving parking lot signage to explain towing regulations clearly in both English and Spanish.
In an effort to improve long-term transparency in the towing industry, HB24-1051 would allow the Public Utilities Commission to suspend or revoke a towing carrier permit in certain circumstances and the bill would address conflicts of interest for members of the Towing Task Force.