Tow Truck Company Charges Car Owner Additional $150 Cursing Fee

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - We've all paid a little more for something we thought wasn't worth it. Sometimes food is pricier at one place and cheaper at another. The same can be said when it comes to towing costs.

A Huntsville woman could not believe how much she paid a tow company simply because they say she cursed!

Mahogony Grandison told WHNT News 19 a tow truck company applied a cursing surcharge to her towing bill. If this so-called cursing fee wasn't enough, Grandison had to make more than one automatic teller machine transaction to take care of her total bill.

'I love my car. I am going to ride it until the wheels fall off,” Grandison said while laughing.

Grandison wasn't in such a happy mood a couple of weekends ago.

“Apparently, I was parked illegally. I take full responsibility for that,” said Grandison.

Grandison parked her car while visiting a friend at Lakeshore Crossing Apartments.

“It was my first time visiting. I didn't know. My friend that lives there failed to tell me,” added Grandison.

Grandison noticed her car wasn't the only one towed. She heard from others in her situation it would cost $200 to get her car back.

Grandison got a case of sticker shock when the tow truck company asked for $350.

“I was like ma'am, why am I being charged so much? You just told another young lady our cars are $200 a piece,” added Grandison.

WHNT News 19 found out the sudden $150 price-hike was for cursing. Grandison’s receipt backed up her story.

“They had scratched out some stuff and put $200 and at the bottom. They put $150 for foul language,” added Grandison.

Grandison asked WHNT News 19 to find out what's up.

“I have seen your segment thousands of times, and was like I know someone can help me. I felt like you would be the perfect person that can help me out in this situation,” added Grandison.

So, WHNT News 19 called Affordable Towing.

An employee answered, “Wrecker service, can you hold one moment please.”

An employee picked up and that's when it got interesting.

'WHNT NEW 19 asked, “Do you guys charge when someone curses at your?”

“They called on her behalf. They threatened us. They cussed at us. I wrote foul language on there because I didn't know what else to do,” said the unidentified employee.

Grandison told me no one called the company for her.

“I explained multiple times it was not me. I even apologized for the person who did curse them out. They were not hearing it,” added Grandison.

WHNT News 19 continued digging to get a better idea of what the company's staff thought happened.

“She was threatening, cussing, saying she was going to do this and do that. We were being nice, coming out and letting her have her car after hours at 3:00 a.m.,” said Daniel Bradford, owner of Affordable Towing.

Both sides agreed, independently, things should have happened differently.

WHNT News 19 still had one question.

Why is there a cursing fee for $150 noted?

“Well, with all the harassment we had, we had to do something,” added Bradford.

The fee doesn't break any consumer laws, but begs the question...

WHNT NEWS 19 asked should the owner have done that?

“Well, not really. Like I said, I talked to my wife and other drivers. We could, if she wants to make an agreement to come and apologize about what she did. We'll agree to give her money back, or at least some of it,” added Bradford.

Employees at the tow truck company insist Grandison was a bad customer. They gave WHNT NEWS 19 a copy of a police report filed when Grandison was there to pick up her car. The report taken by Huntsville Police reads there was a verbal argument.

Still, the company is willing to make nice with Grandison. WHNT NEWS 19 thanks Mr. Bradford.


  • Amy

    Do you know how many times as a server I have been cussed at???? I would be rich if I could charge them this price !!!I am cussed at almost DAILY !!! But I have to smile and nod !!!! This is what happens when you work with the public !!!!

    • the outlaw

      probably a sign that you may be a bad server, most people never accept the consequences of their own actions and then blame others for their shortcomings.

    • Brenda

      I d like to say can we as USA citizen of America that work and pay taxes allowed to get cursed by an employer that works for a towing company . I ws cursed out called all kinds of ugly names from a man that ws trying to tow my car for parking in a place with no tow zone . Do we realy have any rights as a citizen I ws called some of the worst names and all I said ws wht awhy are u taking my car he went off and cursed me being very unprofessional and unethetcial wow what can I do to have this comp educate there employers

      • Brenda

        Oh and shouldn’t I get a refund for getting cursed ????? I fidnt even get an apology wow and where in the world are our rights to respect people I never said an word to this man anyway God takes care of those tht repect an care … Peace there’s none left in this world

  • Ben Burks

    I wouldn’t use them.If they wanted compensation for harassment then they should have pressed charges and sued her.Who do they think they are?

  • Michelle

    Working with the public can be really hard at times. The customer isn’t always right. Especially if they aren’t being nice with a nasty mouth.

  • alan mitchell

    affordable is a great company especially to work for it’s those guys in Florence you have to watch out for

    • emily

      200 for an impound. Not tow. It’s a pretty reasonable price. At the tow comoany I work for it can range betweeb 160 and 300 for a single days storage.

  • all me

    I work with people on a daily basis and if people got charged for what came out of their mouth when addressing others, this place would be a cleaner place

  • Mike Jones

    Way to rip off people. As if the orig charge was fair. Scumbag tow truck company deserves a bad rap. I’ll be sure to blackball them from our company.

  • Laura

    My Husband Is A Tow Truck Operator In Huntsville & Until You Have Been In This Situation, you really don’t need to comment! Jimmy, It CLEARLY states in the article that SHE ( the customer ) was illegally parked, therefore, It was NOT a regular tow It was Private Property Impound! & I think Affordable was in the right to charge her for running her mouth! That’s the person’s in the office’s way of getting respect, & as long as you keep cursing at me the higher the price goes up! I am human just like you, I didn’t tell you to park illegally! PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!!!!!!

    • TowMan

      I have worked in the towing business many times and it never failed to meet a jerk while doing my own job. Repo work and removal from tow away zones is the worst because there is always someone there to put their own two cents in who don’t even own the car. Wait until you get called out at 4 am in the morning to release a car to a jerk with his rude drunk crew. Wonder why so many towing operators carry guns?

  • amanda

    my parents own a towing business in North Alabama, and they deal with people that curse them, threaten them, pull guns on them, come to get a car ready to fight. Honestly I think if more towing services would charge fees such as this, people may start thinking before they act. I say good job and be proud that the owner stood up for the public against abuse!

  • David

    Tow truck companies that tow for parking violations are not exactly known for their scrupulous business dealings. They may not deserve to be cursed at, but when you make your living watching for people to run in for 3 minutes to pay a bill, swoop in and tow their vehicles, leaving them stranded and possibly costing them work in addition to towing charges, what do you expect? You want people to be nice? Get a nicer job.

    • Susan

      David….I have no idea how things are in your neck of the woods, but where we are, tow truck drivers do not just sit in wait for somebody to park illegally. They do not have the time. My husband owns a towing company and it is not financially advantageous to have one of our drivers just sitting around for the possibility that someone might park illegally. Ive said it once and I’ll say it again….we are the first ones you call when your in trouble and the last ones to get any respect.

  • Aubrey

    I understand that tow companies deal with a lot of irate and upset customers but you know that is something that comes with the job. If you can’t handle it then you picked the wrong profession. Being a dick and charging a huge fee won’t prevent this behavior in the future. If anything, you are provoking worse behavior because you are creating bad publicity for yourself.

  • Donny

    Ok I understand the abuse part, but what happened to our free speech right? I’ve worked in the retail world for over 15 years! Unfortunately we run into these type customers quite often, but that does not warrant a charge at all. 150$ wow! People need to keep in mind that these customers wether They are retrieving a towed vehicle or buying parts to fix a sink at home, or are simply having a bad day. Im not saying it’s ok to curse at the people that are trying to help you, but sometimes when we as humans get frustrated and really don’t mean the things we say. But I think that we all need to just step back and look at the situation is it really worth $150 or a verbal retaliation back towards that person? We all need to try and treat these people with kindness and maybe one day when we are having it tough those same people will treat us with the same!!!!

    • Tee roberts

      Read again what u said. Think before you open your mouth. Bad day or not does not warrant ignorance. Sometimes good manners goes a long way. So u come with your bad day and that person has already reached his boiling point. Here comes a gun. Somebody is dead. Bad day huh. Think about it sir

  • David Davis

    Good for the tow company! Too many people think it’s ok to abuse someone over the phone or internet. I think these guys shouldn’t refund themoney A better use would be to donate I towards foster kids for chrChristmas.

  • Mike

    As a wrecker driver, I deal with this kind of situation on a regular basis. If you read the article, it states that this was a private property tow for an illegally parked vehicle, that’s why the cost is more than a normal tow. As far as the additional charge, we are not paid to deal with abuse and threats because a vehicle owner decides to be ignorant, particularly after being ignorant to the posted signs warning them that their vehicle was illegally parked. The owner of the wrecker company is actually being very generous in offering a refund for an apology. I’m all for free speech, but that doesn’t mean ou can become abusive and threatening to another individual. I give credit to the towing company owner for being so reasonable.

    • Rick

      I too am a driver/owner of a tow truck! I totally agree with what you have written. No one realizes what we sometimes go thru to load and unload a vehicle without keys! I do agree we deal with attitudes more than we should however I don’t think I would bluntly put on there ,foul language fee, I would say I also have a gate fee and vary that with their attitude! I tow for several dealerships and just may need to tow that customer again. Some companies here do private propert tows only so their prices make the rest of us look like crooks. Be safe!!!

  • Ralph Connor Jr

    I wouldn’t give Affordable the time of day let alone use their services. Why? While they have a valid concern, their response clearly indicates they can’t professionally address the business case to be made. Being the nicest people in the world is great but presenting your business professionally at all times, in all circumstances puts a world-class business head over heels above the competition.

    An employee answered, “Wrecker service, can you hold one moment please.”…

    Doesn’t sound like the greeting of a reputable, world-class towing service to me.

    I wrote foul language on there because I didn’t know what else to do,” said the unidentified employee….

    Business rules are either not existent or were broken. You have to “know what to do” and be able to make a decision to act that is timely, ensures that safety is considered, and ultimately supports the claim to be a top notch authority in your field. A simple stumble like this can “wreck” your reputation as a business owner, pun absolutely intended.

    “She was threatening, cussing, saying she was going to do this and do that. We were being nice, coming out and letting her have her car after hours at 3:00 a.m.,” said Daniel Bradford, owner of Affordable Towing…

    Mr. Bradford, that’s the business you’re in and if you’re going to be in the rotation to tow illegally parked vehicles for the city 24/7, you need an operation that returns the vehicle to the registered owner 24/7 if you’re going to be considered top notch..

  • bob

    Maybe she’ll think twice before cussing out some other person that’s just doing their job! Verbal abuse is totally uncalled for …..Way to go Affordable Towing Co.!

  • Angel

    I absolutely love this. Good for you Affordable Towing. I own a tow co on Long Island, NY. I have been on the receiving end of that same abuse several times. I never thought to charge them for it. Maybe they will think twice before treating people in that manner. WTG!!

  • John

    Absolutely Ridiculous. Definition of Thug. Who are they to play the part of disciplinarian over another adult? Reading comprehension also goes a long way to those of you that think the person charged the fine was the individual doing the cursing.

    Apparently a hot headed family member or friend called them when they found out what had happened to her. She has no control over that.

    The price you pay for living in the bible thumping, live however you want monday through saturday but go to church on sunday, belt.

  • Jen

    I would definitely use this company. I love that they did this. So many people now are so rude and just get away with it because they use the “free speech” argument. BUT, as soon as someone says something they don’t like, they complain. It goes both ways. This woman was sited in the police report as verbally arguing. That means she was arguing. I love it. I hope more companies start doing the same thing. I don’t care who you are. This sense of senority that people have is disgusting. They need to be knocked off their pedestals.

  • heather

    Cracks me up. How many times do towing companies get cursed at, threaten, I’ve had one guy call me a c*m guzzeling ****. It is always the towing companies fault that the vehicle got towed. Like I make you drive on a suspended licence, its my fault you never registered your vehicle. I have actually charged an addional fee to a vehicle where the guy was a complete jerk. He got angry, threating me, cussing me out, because he got into a wreck, totalled his vehicle, didn’t have insurance. He didn’t think we should charge him for the tow. It got so bad he was escorted out of the office. So yes I charged an addional $25.00 for I called an Admin Fee.

  • Ashley

    I work in the office of a wrecker service and we do the police impounds and have people talk down to us. Not very often though.Hey it’s not my fault you were doing something to get your car impounded.. I do by all means agree with Affordable towings decision. I wish my boss would do something like that.. I always tell everyone i don’t make the prices i just work here… I support affordable towing 100%

  • steve

    I dont think he charged her enough this is this mans living. Someone called and had this car towed because it was parked illegality and he is just doing his job and this foul mouth thing comes in with threats screaming and cussing no one shuld have to put up with that. I would have locked the door and made her wait another day.

  • James Coble

    Sounds like an excuse to rip somebody off. I’ll let anyone curse at me for $150. Affordable does not sound like an appropriate name for this company.

  • Dewey Campbell

    Idiots!!.I’m not saying what the woman did was right but,tacking on a 150 dollar “cursing” fee? that’s FRAUD and they should lose their liscence and be put out of business!!!!

  • M WIlson

    If you do not want your car towed then don`t put yourself In that sItuatIon. I don’t put up wIth mouthy people. we remove them from the property or hang up the phone. when you can act lIke a cIvIlIzed human beIng we wIll be more than glad to help you out. there have been a couple of tImes that we just let them have the car back because they were nIce and explaIned cIrcumstances and It was just the rIght thIng to do.

  • kathy

    I work at a wrecker service and we get cussed out and threaten on a daily base here it starts out with the charges then it turns in to being our fault why we have there car here ,they need understand we didn’t tell them to go out drink and drive drunk, drive without lic, tag , insurance , I have to pay it they are not above the law we all have jobs and we all have to pay the same prices I just tell get their asses out until they can talk to me like lady,

  • Darlene

    If we had a consequence for every time a person cursed and made people like me feel disrespected maybe then we would have less aggression towards one another. It is so sad that our whole nation has accepted this language as common place, It makes us all feel uneasy though that there is a disrespect to each individual. It is funny that when I have cursed people look mat me cause that is not my normal I say sh and the room gets quiet. I realize that I have said something that not many are use to hearing out of me. I was always taught that cursing is a foul way to express yourself and I do believe in this.

  • Susan

    The bottom line is, unless you own a towing company or work for one, NO ONE has ANY idea what towing companies go through just to make a living. Most people go to work and know beyond a shadow of a doubt they will be paid for the work they provide….not towing company owners. It is not guaranteed. Imagine being out on a truck rollover, your out there 8 hours, with 10 of your employees… have to go, more than likely you were called by the police. Half way through you find out the driver is uninsured. You don’t get to pack up and go home. NO, you have to do your job knowing you’ll have to pay employees for their time but your gonna get screwed in the end. The laws aren’t on your side, the police aren’t on your side and the very people who need help, more times than not are not on your side. Would I have charged a fee for this customers behavior? Probably not. Do I understand it? Sure do. Good for them for standing up for themselves!

  • Eric

    WHNT, Really with all of the problems or good deeds that people do in the world this is the story you spent time to work on? Or is it just a slow news day?

    Why should I as a wrecker driver/owner put up with the foul mouth of another person when they made the mistake? The driver made a mistake and should take his/her hit and go on!

  • Sean

    That would never fly, in Peoria, IL. We have consumer protection laws, here and that charge would be considered price gouging. A tow company could lose its license to operate, over something like that. I’m glad I live in a place where the consumer has some protection from shady business practices like that. Also, she enjoys something called “freedom of speech”, which guarantees her the right to express her frustration, with all the foul language she wants to use.

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