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August 10, 2011

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Tow company fee is 10 times limit

A VEHICLE recovery company is refusing to return a truck to its driver unless he pays 21,600 yuan (US$3,358) - more than 10 times the maximum amount permitted under new regulations.

Following a collision on the city's Donghai Bridge last Monday, a container truck driver surnamed Zhang had his vehicle towed away by Zhente Co.

Zhente is the only tow truck business near the bridge linking the city and the Yangshan Deep-Water Port.

Zhang, a 30-year-old Henan Province native, told Shanghai Daily that the tow truck company has demanded 12,000 yuan for towing the truck and 9,600 yuan for cleaning the road.

In the past, Zhente has been accused of charging extortionate fees for towing vehicles stranded on Donghai Bridge.

On July 19, a motorist surnamed Chen paid the company 6,360 yuan to take away his vehicle following an accident on the bridge.

The incident sparked public outcry and, in response, the local price bureau issued new regulations to limit tow truck charges.

According to these, the fee for dragging away a heavy vehicle in any part of the city should not exceed 1,500 yuan and cleaning up charges should be less than 600 yuan.

Zhang said the companies were holding his truck and refusing to return it until they were paid.

Wang Changfa, an official with Zhente, told Shanghai Daily that they had charged such high fees because the truck had damaged the road and they used a lot of fuel to drag it off the long bridge.

He said he knew nothing about the price bureau cap on charges.

"We haven't received any new regulations on charges," said Wang.

Local price bureau officials said they were investigating.


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