Monroe County Tow Truck Operator Who Overcharged Motorists To Refund Consumers And Pay Penalties

NEW YORK, NY (February 5, 2007)-Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a settlement with a towing service operator in Monroe County that will provide refunds to consumers who were overcharged.

The settlement requires Frederick G. Geiger, owner of Geiger Towing Service in the Town of Greece, to pay a total of $6,336.70 in refunds to 126 consumers who were overcharged for towing services provided by Geiger. Additional refunds will be made to consumers who file legitimate requests with the Attorney General's office by March 5, 2007. Geiger also agreed to pay penalties and costs totaling $4,000.

From April 2003 through August 2005, the Town of Greece contracted with Geiger to provide towing services on behalf of the town police department in instances where motorists' vehicles were abandoned, disabled, or in need of towing due to an accident or arrest. The towing agreements required Geiger to charge towing fees pursuant to a negotiated fee schedule. Despite the agreements, Geiger repeatedly charged motorists towing fees that exceeded the maximum amount permitted. In some cases, unauthorized additional fees identified as clean up, labor, and waiting were charged as well.

Cuomo thanked the Town of Greece Police Department for referring the matter to his office for investigation.

"When motorists are in need of a tow truck they are usually in difficult and sometimes dire circumstances," Cuomo said. "Fee schedules with tow truck operators are established to prevent unscrupulous truck operators from taking advantage of these circumstances. My office will continue to protect consumers in this and other areas."

The Attorney General's investigation also determined that Geiger failed to obtain certificates of doing business for the business names he operated under and that he improperly refused to accept credit or debit cards as a method of payment by consumers whose vehicles were towed under the agreements with the town. New York law requires a commercial tower to accept credit or debit cards from consumers seeking the release of their vehicles if such forms of payment are accepted by the commercial tower in the ordinary course of business.

Consumers who believe they are eligible for refunds from Geiger must file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General's Office before March 5, 2007. To obtain a complaint form, consumers are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at 1-800-771-7755 or visit his web site at www.ag.ny.gov.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Carlos Rodriguez and Chris H. Holland, Supervising Investigator of the Rochester Regional Office.

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