What To Do if Your Car is Towed

If you park in a private lot – for example a business, or apartment complex – the owner has the right to have your vehicle towed if it doesn’t belong there. If this happens:

  • locate your vehicle.
    • The towing company must provide you with its phone number, the vehicle’s location, the cost of recovering an impounded vehicle and the payment methods they’ll accept. The information can be posted on a sign, handed to you on a sheet of paper or sent to you by mail. Note: There are exceptions if your vehicle was abandoned, towed on behalf of the police or if your insurance company is paying for the tow.
  • recover your vehicle.
    • You may pick up your vehicle between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday-Friday (except holidays), and within 60 minutes of requesting the vehicle’s release.
  • retrieve urgently-needed personal property.
    • Certain items – such as prescription medication, eyeglasses, identification, wallet, purse, credit card, child safety seat, etc. – may be retrieved even if you’re not recovering your vehicle. The only fee a towing company may charge is a gate fee if it is after regular business hours.

Rules for Towing Companies

  • As of Jan. 1, 2018, a tower needs to get signed authorization from the owner of the parking lot before towing the vehicle. The tower needs to keep a copy of the signed authorization for at least two years and provide a copy upon request at no additional charge.
  • The tow truck operator must also take a picture of your vehicle to show how it was parked in violation of a prohibition posted on a sign at the lot.
  • Unless the tow truck operator is towing your vehicle for a road service company, they may not attempt to solicit your business at the scene of an accident.
  • If you are present at the time of the tow and the hookup is not complete, the tower must release the vehicle at no charge. If the hookup is complete, they may charge a hookup fee, but not the price of a tow. A hook up is complete when the tow truck is capable of leaving with the vehicle, even if the tow truck operator is still working on making it completely safe to tow.
  • If the towing company accepts cash, you will get exact change no later than the end of the next business day. (Not all towers carry sufficient change in their trucks.)

Do You Have Questions or Complaints About a Tow Company?

Oregon State Board of Towing’s site can be found here:
Their phone is: (503) 871-5481
No fax or 800 number at this time.