Now, that’s the pits.
A Massachusetts man whose Jeep got stuck in a mud pool while off-roading with his girlfriend says a towing company presented him with a bill totaling nearly $49,000 for pulling it out.
Joel Ramer told local TV station WFXT that he ended up in a mud pit last week in Walpole, a suburb south of Boston, and called for a tow. After 12 hours of work, the towing company, Assured Collision, extracted the vehicle.
But when he went to pick it up, Ramer says he was given a bill for $48,835.
“He informed me there was some damage done to the vehicle, but didn’t get into details,” Ramer told the station. “He also informed me the bill was $48,000. I thought they made a mistake.”
In truth, it seems that Ramer and his girlfriend were being naughty in their off-road adventure — in addition to getting the vehicle stuck, he also got arrested and cited for trespassing and disturbing the peace, WFXT reported. Ramer said he was unknowingly on private property owned by a utility company.
Here’s the, er, breakdown of some of the items on the bill: $16,000 for an on-scene supervisor at $1,250 an hour. More than $10,000 for an off-road recovery incident response unit. A $5,000 fee for “dangerous condition liability insurance.” All in all, $48,835.
On Assured Collision’s Facebook page, reaction to the bill was incredulous. “Wow, Assured Collision of Walpole MA found a sure fire way to make a dollar,” said one user. “What a bunch of incompetents,” said another. “48k for not having a clue how to do your job … i wouldn’t trust you to tow a scooter.”
The owner of Assured Collision, whose mission statement is “Price is Important, Satisfaction is Priceless,” told WFXT that the Jeep’s proximity to power lines put his seven-man team in dangerous conditions and that the fees reflect the industry standard.
But the Statewide Towing Association told the station that the rates quoted appear to be out of whack. “Although Statewide Towing Association has not had a chance to review the actual invoice,” said a statement, “the rates quoted … appear to be significantly in excess of the industry standard.”
In addition, the association said the industry standard for an onsite supervisor is between $175 and $325 an hour, not the $1,250 that Assured Collision charged, and that they have never heard of dangerous condition liability insurance, for which Ramer was billed $5,000.
The tow company’s owner also told the station that he is negotiating with Ramer’s insurance company. However, Ramer claims he is refusing to pay anything toward the tow, so the vehicle remains at Assured Collision’s lot, where a lien has been placed on it.