Old 01-25-2003, 11:16 AM
d12 d12 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Lost Paradise
Posts: 677
Typical Impound Fee?

I'm writting a story in which someone gets their car stolen. What would the average fee to take a car out of impound be?

Scenario: Cops find car parked illegally, tow it, owner reports it stolen. Cops inform owner that the car is in impound. There *should* be a fee to take it out, correct?
Old 01-25-2003, 03:12 PM
InternetLegend InternetLegend is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 3,584
Well, when this happened to me twenty years ago, yes, there was.

I'd parked on a street where parking had been newly outlawed, and the "No Parking" sign was obscured by tree branches (okay, I was just unobservant). When I went out to get in my car, it was gone, and that's when I noticed the sign. I went back in the restaurant and called the police. The dispatcher very snottily told me that there was no way to find out if the car had been towed, so I told her that being the case, I wanted to report a stolen car. She then gave me the number of the towing company.

I don't recall how much it cost to get the car out (and after 20 years, I'm sure that price would be out of date), but it was the standard hookup fee, mileage, and something like twenty dollars extra for the privilege of using their lot for an hour. I don't remember there being any extra fee for parking illegally. Just for comparison, when my car actually was stolen some five years ago, the towing company charged us fifteen dollars a day for storage, plus the towing fee from where it was found.
Old 01-25-2003, 06:18 PM
Badge Badge is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Washington State
Posts: 622
Where I am (Washington state) the impound itself runs about $120 (may be more depending on how far it has to be towed). Then the storage fees are usually $25 a day.
Old 01-26-2003, 01:51 PM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Garden Spot of the South
Posts: 9,135
Hi Badge!

It costs about $150 here.
Old 01-26-2003, 02:24 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 14,089
I don't remember the fee, but an interesting note is that they toewd it on a Monday night, I picked it up Tuesday morning, and they were able to legally charge me for two days storage. They had the car for about 14 hours.
I checked, and even if they towed it at 11:30 pm, and I got it out at 0:30 am the next morning, they can charge two days.
Old 01-26-2003, 03:42 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 11,261
My last experience was ~4 years ago in downtown Houston. $100 fee and a $50 parking ticket.
Old 01-26-2003, 04:44 PM
Luden Luden is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10
Each state/city/county is gonna have different laws regarding towing of vehicles. In California, you can only charge one day of storage if its under 24 hours, and calendar days after that. Cars parked on private propety will usually not get towed by the police unless they were involved in a crime or some kind of registration violation. Here in SoCal, fees for towing will range between 80 to 100 dollars for towing and 15 to 25 dollars for storage per day. Some cities will also charge an administrative fee and that usually ranges from 10 to 60 dollars. If the car was reported stolen, the police will probably not charge the administrative fee.
Old 01-26-2003, 05:30 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: oklahoma city
Posts: 7,886
at work here, we just had a car towed away. the consensus was around 200 clams. towing, ticket, storage, they even had some add on i had never heard of. maybe even two.
Old 01-26-2003, 09:52 PM
Chris Luongo Chris Luongo is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Malden, Massachusetts
Posts: 372
It's often different based on whether it's parked on private or public property, what city/state it's in, and so on. I used to do trespass towing in Massachusetts.

Trespass tow: An unathorized car is on private property, and a private tow company is called to remove it.

Police tow: The police decide to have a car towed by a private tow company because of a collision, or it's blocking the road, or they've found a stolen car.

BTD tow: If your car is simply illegally (but not dangerously) parked on the street, the Boston Transportation Department comes and gets it with their own trucks.

In Massachusetts, these are the maximum fees. I've never heard of anyone charging less than maximum, but the law does allow for it:

Towing fee: 75--- includes 5 miles round trip, from the tow yard to your car and back.
Mileage: Most to companies don't go very far to do a trespass tow. I'm not sure what the per-mile fee is, but figure on $5-10 for mileage, if any at all.
Storage: $20 per day. In some places, a "day" is a 24-hour period, but as mangeorge experienced, some locales allow the tow operator to use calendar-days. I'm pretty sure Massachusetts considers a 24-hour period to be a day.

So, if your car's brought in as a trespass tow or a police tow in Massachusetts, and you come get it within 24 hours, you'll most likely pay $95.

If BTD tows your car, the fees are much lower; less than $50. But there'll be a parking ticket on it too.

Other notes that may help you write your story:
-Private tow companies usuallyaccept cash only; no exceptions.
-If it is discovered that the car isn't legally registered, the tow company won't let you drive it off the lot---you'll have to pay them to tow it to private property, have another tow company come get it, or go get the car registered first.
-The driver will indeed gain entry to the car's interior if needed, to release the parking brake, take the transmission out of Park, straighten the steering wheel, and so on.
Old 01-26-2003, 11:30 PM
SnugTheJoiner SnugTheJoiner is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 487
Here in Phoenix, the signs say $75.00. Apparently impound fees vary from city to city. Decide where your story is taking place, do a little research, and take it from there!
Old 01-26-2003, 11:45 PM
mblackwell mblackwell is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 1,342
When my car was impounded for expired plates last year, it was $6.00 a day. There was also a towing fee, about $30 I think.
Old 01-27-2003, 11:18 AM
Bongmaster Bongmaster is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,920
My car was repossessed a couple of years ago and it cost a fortune to get it back. They charged something like $100 to tow it, then $150 a day to store it.


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