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Criminal & traffic law

Getting towed: Your rights when dealing with tow-truck operators

Complaining about a tow-truck operator

Making a complaint about a tow-truck operator

If you have a complaint about your car being towed – for example if it was damaged, or you think the fee was too high – you should first complain directly to the tow-truck operator. You should put your complaint in writing. It’s also a good idea to send a copy of your complaint to the landowner, if it was towed from private property.

Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2017, s 5.12

Tow-truck businesses have to keep a register of all the written complaints they receive. They have to keep the register available for it to be inspected by a police officer or traffic warden at any reasonable time. Complaints have to stay in the register for at least two years.

What can I do if I’m not happy with the towing operator’s response to my complaint?

If you’re not happy with the outcome after complaining directly to the tow-truck operator, consider one of the following options:

  • contacting the NZ Transport Agency – the NZTA deals with licensing of tow-truck operators and enforces the legal requirements that apply to tow-truck operations (see: “Legal requirements for tow-truck operators”)
  • taking the issue to the Disputes Tribunal, if for example you want compensation for damage to your car (see: “The Disputes Tribunal”)
  • complaining to the police if, for example, you were assaulted.
Next Section | Wheel clamping

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Driving and traffic law

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres/

For Community Law’s guide to applying for a limited licence and template application forms: communitylaw.org.nz/resources/legal-letters

Waka Kotahi – New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi’s site provides a wide range of driving and road safety information, including on topics covered in this chapter.

Website: www.nzta.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 699 000
Email: info@nzta.govt.nz

Search your question on Waka Kotahi’s resources section: www.nzta.govt.nz/resources

New Zealand Police

The New Zealand Police’s “frequently asked questions” section provides helpful information, particularly the “Driving/road safety” and “Tickets/infringements” section.

Website: www.police.govt.nz/advice-and-services/faqs

New Zealand Government

The New Zealand government website sets out more information about driving fines and penalties, including how to pay for infringement notices.

Website: www.govt.nz/browse/transport/driving-fines-and-penalties

Consumer Protection

The Consumer Protection website has useful information on a range of consumer topics, including private parking tickets and the towing and clamping of cars.

Website: www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/help-product-service/cars/parking-clamping-towing

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