FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions are provided here as a  convenience. If your question is not answered here or on our site, please call our Customer Service Center.


Resources & Links

Fee Schedule

Philadelphia Rotational Tow System Disabled Motor Vehicle Consumer Bill Of Rights


 

  1. What is AutoReturn?
    X

    AutoReturn is a towing management company that is contracted to dispatch and manage the rotational tow program in Philadelphia. AutoReturn does not issue citations or performs tows. Our job is to dispatch vehicle tows.

  2. Where is my vehicle?
    X

    You can locate your vehicle using our website by clicking on Find Vehicle. If you are unable to locate your vehicle using our website, call our Customer Service Center at 215-933-5031.

  3. Where are the tow yards in Philadelphia?
    X

    Tow companies store vehicles towed in Philadelphia. You may use our vehicle search to find your vehicle.

  4. What do I need to retrieve my towed vehicle?
    X

    You will need:

    • A U.S. Government or State Government issued photo identification
    • At least one of the following:
      • A current vehicle registration card or evidence of title
      • A notarized letter of authorization, accompanied by a U.S. Government or State Government issued photo identification and a current vehicle registration card or evidence of title will be required if the registered owner is not present.
      • Rental agreement
      • Company identification for commercial vehicles
      • Letters and faxes will be accepted from lien holders, insurance companies and rental vehicle companies
    • The required payment for services performed
  5. Who authorizes vehicle tows?
    X

    The PPD generally authorizes tows for accidents, arrests, recovered stolen vehicles, unlicensed drivers, unlicensed vehicles and special events.

  6. What does towing and storage cost?
    X

    Please refer to this tow fee schedule.

  7. What forms of payment are acceptable?
    X

    Philadelphia towers must accept cash and credit cards. Please contact the company which towed your vehicle to find out which card(s) they accept.
    Any person may pay for a vehicle release if the registered or legal owner is present at the time of payment.

  8. What if my vehicle registration is expired?
    X

    If your vehicle registration is expired, you must obtain current registration through the Pennsylvania DMV or use the services of a towing company. You are not obligated to use the services of the company that originally towed your vehicle.

  9. What if my driver's license is expired?
    X

    You may either have your vehicle removed from the storage lot utilizing the service of a towing company or you may authorize another licensed driver to remove your vehicle.

  10. What do I do if I believe my vehicle was towed in error?
    X

    If you believe your vehicle was towed in error, you will need to contact a police supervisor in the precinct where your vehicle was towed.

  11. What if I have a complaint?
    X

    AutoReturn is committed to constantly improving service levels. If you have any comments or suggestions about our service please complete a customer feedback form here.

  12. How do I file a claim?
    X

    Several companies tow, store and release vehicles that were ordered towed by the Philadelphia Police Department. If you wish to report a claim involving damage to your vehicle or missing property you can complete an online claim form here as well as contacting the tow company directly.

     

     

  13. What happens to unclaimed vehicles?
    X

    Unclaimed vehicles are disposed of in accordance with all applicable state and local laws.

  14. What is the rotational tow program?
    X

    The rotational tow program dispatches participating towing companies on a revolving basis to the scenes of accidents and disabled vehicles. The system is intended to ensure a timely response, reduce wreck chasing, allow many towing companies to participate, and protect consumers and vehicle owners from predatory behavior.

  15. Which tows fall within the scope of the rotational tow program?
    X

    According to Chapter 9-605(4) of The Philadelphia Code, a towing company must be dispatched through the rotational tow system when a vehicle is in an accident where police have been dispatched. Towing parked vehicles from private property or driveways, or disabled vehicles from legal parking spaces, does not fall within the scope of the rotational tow program. It is illegal for a towing company to respond to the scene of an accident in the City of Philadelphia where police have been dispatched unless that towing company was dispatched through the rotational tow system.

  16. A tow truck just showed up to the scene of my accident. Should I let it tow my car?
    X

    Before allowing any tow truck to hook or relocate your vehicle, verify with the tow operator and the Police officer on the scene that the tow truck was properly dispatched through the rotational tow system. Tow operators are required to display a dispatch communication on their phone from AutoReturn proving that they were properly dispatched. You should not sign any paperwork or make any agreements with the tow operator unless they can provide that verification. Entering into a “consensual” towing agreement with a towing company that was not properly dispatched through the rotational system can put you at risk of paying exorbitant fees, as well as waiving other consumer protections.

  17. MuMultiple tow trucks showed up at the scene of my accident. Which one should I allow to tow my car?ltiple tow trucks showed up at the scene of my accident. Which one should I allow to tow my car?
    X

    You should verify with the tow operator and the Police officer on the scene which tow truck was properly dispatched through the rotational tow system, and only allow that towing company to tow your vehicle. You should not assume that the first tow truck to arrive on the scene was the properly dispatched one.

  18. I am a member of an auto club or organization that provides for towing. Can I choose my own tower through that program instead?
    X

    No. All tows associated with an accident or disabled vehicle to which police have been dispatched must go through the City’s rotational tow program. However, a vehicle owner is free to use a towing company of their choice if their vehicle is disabled but parked in a legal parking spot and not obstructing the right-of-way, and if police were not dispatched.

  19. Where will they tow my car?
    X

    Tow trucks dispatched through the rotation must tow your vehicle to any location of your choice, as long as that location is within the City. If you are incapacitated and unable to provide a location, Police will instruct the towing company where to move your vehicle and will notify you where it was taken.

  20. Can I inspect my towed car?
    X

    Vehicle owners and their insurance companies have the right to inspect the vehicle at any time during normal business hours without charge, on the same day they make the request.

  21. The towing company wants me to agree to allow them to make repairs to my car. What are my rights?
    X

    No repairs may be made on a vehicle towed through the rotational program unless you sign an agreement which includes an estimate of the cost of repairs. No agreement for repairs may be entered into until 48 hours have elapsed from the time of accident, in the event the owner/operator is injured and hospitalized. Any party who signs an agreement for repairs shall have 72 hours from the time of signing to reconsider the action and void the agreement.

  22. What are my rights as a consumer?
    X

    Each towing company dispatched through the rotation is required to give you a copy of a Consumer Bill of Rights, and provide you with an itemized invoice prior to accepting payment.

     

    Vehicle owner/operators have the right to designate the location to which they want the vehicle to be towed. Vehicle owner/operators must designate in writing any subsequent location to which they want the vehicle towed. The vehicle may not be moved to a subsequent location without the owner’s consent.

    Vehicle owners have the right to inspect their vehicle at any time during normal business hours without charge, on the same day they make the request.

  23. I paid the towing and storage fees in full, but a towing company is refusing to release my vehicle unless I agree to pay more or agree to other services. What do I do?
    X

    Call Philadelphia Police at 9-1-1 immediately, and submit a formal complaint about the towing company here.

  24. I was over-charged for towing and storage for amounts and services beyond what is listed in the regulations. What do I do?
    X

    You should file a complaint here. AutoReturn will then forward the complaint to the appropriate City agency for investigation.