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Drivers question local towing companies billing policy after massive pileup

Drivers question local towing companies billing policy after massive pileup. (File - WWMT)

Some drivers involved in a pileup on I-94 want to know why they're being ask to pay hundreds of dollars to retrieve their vehicle from a local towing company.

Newschannel 3’s Franque Thompson spoke with a manager at McDonald's Towing who said he wasn't available for an interview, but the company charges $75 to $200, depending on how far off the road the car has gone.

One driver says the bill they got is still too high.

Corey Douglas’s wife was driving a red van that was hit during Friday’s 51 car pileup on I-94. He says the next day he called McDonald's Towing and was quoted an $86 hook up rate.

Douglas said, “When I got there to pick up my car the woman said it was actually $400.”

A McDonald's manager says $65 is a flat tow rate, plus $2.50 by the mile on a regular day. When pileups like this happen, the manager says the tow charge is based on how far off the road a car has gone.

A bill from McDonald's shows Douglas was charged $225 for the tow, plus additional fees. He says he couldn't afford it, so the company offered another option.

Douglas said, “I had to give them the title of my van plus pay $220 cash that I did not have. I had to borrow from a friend.”

Now he's out of $220, a title and two car seats that were inside the van. Douglas says thankfully his children weren't with their mom that day.

He said, “Her seat was broken in half and crashed into my son's car seat.”

While a McDonald's manager says the company followed protocol during the big crash, Douglas says he believes they're just banking off of misfortunes.

“It makes you feel vulnerable, almost.” He said, “It almost makes me feel like you can't do anything or go anywhere without someone trying to pull one over on you now.”

Michigan State Police say they don't have contracts with any towing company, but called McDonald's to help clear the interstate and that McDonald's establishes its own price for those situations.

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