My brakes failed yesterday as I was driving back to work in Burbank from West Hollywood. Luckily, I managed to steer the truck around the large delivery truck I was behind and parked safely on the side of Olive, across the street from Dimples in Burbank. I first called a tow company in Burbank who told me the wait would be 90 minutes. Still pretty shaken after nearly smashing into a truck, I declined, as I was parked in direct sun, was out of water and am currently 5 and a half months pregnant.
At 2:20pm, I called MG Towing after seeing that they had a high Yelp rating and offered a 10% off check in deal. When they answered, I asked how long it would be for a flat bed to get to me to tow a 4×4 truck. The dispatcher responded by saying he had a guy in the La Canada/Flintridge area and he could be to me in 20 minutes. Relieved at the prospect of getting picked up so quickly (I was honestly still expecting a 45-60 minute wait), I gratefully accepted and checked-in to receive the 10% off deal. The fact that I called them “professional” in that check-in now makes me sick to my stomach.
A young man named Simon showed up, and after commenting “isn’t this too much truck for you?” got everything loaded up. On the ride to my mechanic, Simon proceeded to explain to me how the main company he works for (Anna’s Towing) is part of a network of partners in area (Valencia, NoHo/Burbank/Hollywood, and Greater LA), and when you call one of them, the dispatcher looks at whoever is in range and has them answer the call. Meaning that if you call MG Towing, you’re not necessarily getting an MG Towing driver, and MG Towing will try to deny being connected to the driver at all – which seems pretty shady since MG Towing is still the one dispatching the call. Simon also mentioned that this often delays his paychecks because the hours have to be verified for each of the companies whose calls he answers – something I’ll make sure to mention when I talk to the BBB.
After making some more sexist comments about how he was surprised a woman knew how to navigate the streets in NoHo (I advised him how to go around the block so he could pull straight in) Simon, parked in the middle of the street in front of my mechanic, totaled up my bill, and before even giving the price, asked how I would be paying. I said that depended on the charge and proceeded to show him the 10% off Yelp deal that he then needed to verify with his supervisor. After figuring out what 10% off would be (I tried to explain that he could just multiply the total by .9, but that seemed to be too complex for him to understand), he showed me my final price: $332.56. Mileage charge $10/mile – totally normal. Towing charge – $295.00
I thought this seemed very high for a tow, but I was exhausted, overheated, hadn’t eaten in a few hours, and was mostly worried about being pregnant in a truck with a stranger with my truck hooked to the back, so I didn’t exactly feel empowered to argue with him about it. I think most women who have ridden in a vehicle with a male stranger can empathize with that feeling of vulnerability.
When my boyfriend (TJ S.) learned of the charge, he wrote a Yelp review to point out the ridiculously high charge; ironic, as on their Facebook page, MG Towing claims “MG Towing are offering all types of towing services, with a super high attention to safety and reasonable prices comparing to the market.” Poor grammar aside, $295 for an initial hook up fee is nowhere near a reasonable market price. Even for a 4X4 truck, the market average for hook-up is $100-$160.
This morning, we noticed a new Yelp review by a Tj S. S. with my boyfriend’s picture, apologizing for the negative review and not knowing how to take the negative post down.
My boyfriend called to confront the owner about it and he adamantly denied it. When my boyfriend asked why the charge was so high, the owner claimed I called and demanded service in 20 minutes (which I absolutely did not), and that it was rush hour. Rush hour? The driver received my information at 2:24PM and I was dropped off at the mechanic at 3:23PM. This is all on my service report.
The owner then offered to send us a check for $50 to take down the negative review. We refused. The fake review was taken down within the hour. Good thing screenshots exist.
If you’re on Yelp, please vote my review useful so they company can’t flag it and get it taken down. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, please share this so no one else uses this company. I’m not even worried about the money at this point. I want this company to be held accountable for their disgusting business practices and make sure no one else gets taken advantage of.