As many of you are aware, the Biden Administration has taken an unprecedented step and partnered with the American Trucking Association, a highly political organization, to attack the towing industry. 
For background, in the fall of 2022, the Biden Administration, via the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its intent to regulate “junk fees.” This proposed rule seeks to limit the use of “unfair or deceptive fees,” and is aimed at addressing items like extra charges from Ticketmaster, overdraft fees assessed by banks, and airline fees charging families to sit together. However, many industries and consumers have taken this as an opportunity to make a claim that any fee they dislike is unfair and deceptive and should be included in the final rule.
On February 7th, the last day comments on the proposed “junk fee” rule were accepted, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Acting Deputy Administrator, Sue Lawless, submitted an official comment to the Federal Register requesting that FTC include predatory towing in the final rule. The letter mainly complains about towers “hiding fees” and not adding them to the bill until it is final. Some of the particular practices FMCSA mentions include:
  1. lack of itemized bills;
  2. per-mile fee;
  3. daily storage rate; 
  4. and administrative fee.
FMCSA, citing a report published by the American Transportation Research Institute in November, is pushing for the final FTC rule to include:
  1. Clarity that tow companies are not allowed to have hidden fees or fees disclosed after the tow – and to make each charge in this category a separate violation;
  2. A requirement for a “total price,” i.e. A maximum total of fees or charges the customer must pay;
  3. A “mandatory ancillary fee” that includes any ancillary fee or charge and prohibit charging any ancillary fee not included in the total upfront price;
  4. A prohibition on charging for an ancillary fee that has “no value” or “costs nothing to the provider”/can be reasonably assumed by the customer to be an included cost;
  5. A prohibition on excessive fee practices;
  6. Guidance on how to implement this around state laws that might vary.
While it is highly unusual for a federal agency responsible for regulating an industry to ask another federal agency to do its job, TRAA has already launched its response, leading the industry in doing so and providing protection for its members. 
  1. Meetings with Members and FMCSA: We have been in contact with several Congressional offices since February 7th. We will be continuing these meetings along with meetings with FMCSA during TRAA's Hill Day the first week of March. We're particularly working with those Members who are leading the fight against “junk fees” and who understand the crucial service and dangerous work tow operators provide. Thanks to our efforts, there are Members who understand that our industry is critical to economic wellbeing and unfair and unjust regulations will hurt small and family-run businesses. 
  2. Official Response to FTC: We are submitting an official response to the FTC objecting to this regulatory overreach and educating them on the reality of working under dangerous circumstances and time constraints to remove large vehicles from roadways.
Want to support TRAA as we defend the industry? If so, donations to our Lobbyist Support Fund are greatly appreciated.
TRAA is the industry's watchdog in DC!



Who We Are

TRAA is the national association representing the U.S. towing and recovery industry. We act as the "voice of America's towing industry" by offering representation, education, and leadership at the federal level. Much of our focus is on representing the interests of the towing and recovery industry on Capitol Hill including promoting positive legislation and opposing potentially negative legislation. TRAA is the industry's watchdog on Capitol Hill!