Chris Cooney has been a member of AAA, the American Automobile Association, for 10 years. In June 2018, he thought of his membership when he needed help getting his car to a repair shop.
"There was a problem with either the keys or the ignition and they weren't talking to each other. The car wouldn't start. So I needed to get the car towed," Cooney said.
He called AAA and they sent tow company MG Towing to transport his 2006 Mercedes-Benz.
Cooney says he followed behind the tow truck in another car.
When the tow truck arrived at the shop, Conney says he heard a loud noise.
"At the time I didn't see exactly what it was and then I got over to the car and saw it and I started taking photos," Cooney said.
Cooney snapped photos showing what he says is damage caused during the tow.
"AAA's reaction was to send me to deal with the contractor," Cooney said. "The contractor was rude and sort of stiff armed me and told me I should sue them if I am not happy with them."
We reached out to AAA and received this statement:
"AAA has high standards for our service providers and we take all member concerns seriously. In general, when our members raise issues with our independent service providers, we thoroughly investigate the claims and attempt to reconcile the situation for the parties involved. In this case, our member brought his concerns to our attention in June 2018 and we thoroughly reviewed the available information, including a picture of the described damage that our member provided and a signed damage waiver obtained by the service provider at the time of service where our member indicated areas on his vehicle that had existing damage. At our member's request, we also re-investigated this situation in January 2019. Both times, our investigation did not show sufficient evidence that the provider caused additional damage to the member's vehicle."
Cooney says the waiver was to acknowledge scratches to the left side of his bumper, not the crack on the bumper's right side.
"I didn't have any problem releasing them from liability for something that is already there," Cooney said.
A representative with MG Towing denied Cooney's car was damaged in their possession. Over the phone they told us they do not plan on claiming responsibility for any damage.
"If the tow company damages your car because of the process of towing the do so in a careless way, the consumer has the right to get that repair done, the repair cost from the tow truck company," Attorney Igor Hernandez said.
Hernandez says consumers are entitled to fight for repair costs in court but says if you choose to sign a damage waiver there is a good chance it benefits the company more than the consumer.
"If you sign this and I wreck your car, chances are if I go to court, the tow truck company is going to win," Hernandez said.
Cooney says he is now stuck with the bill to repair his car. He's also looking for a new roadside assistance program.
"The fact of the matter is they don't seem willing to acknowledge that the car was damaged in their possession," Cooney said.
MG Towing does not have any complaints listed with the Miami-Dade County's Consumer Protection Office.
If you want to find out if a company has any previous complaints, or want to file a complaint, you can reach out to your county's consumer protection office.