We Check is a universal program that was developed to help protect consumers as well as industries so that anyone can quickly and easily identify whether or not a service operation is in compliance with all current laws and requirements set forth in the service industry.

When a company signs up and commits to the We Check program, they simply require any other tow operator to provide them with the necessary documentation to verify that they are in compliance before allowing them to remove any vehicle from their storage facility. This documentation is then forwarded to We Check, verified, then that company will be added to the appropriate list on the We Check website, which is available for anyone to see.

A tow company that is not in compliance puts their customers as well as other businesses at risk of being held responsible for anything that might go wrong. If a tow operator who does not carry all of the insurance requirements gets hurt while they are loading or unloading a vehicle on your property, or if they get into an accident while towing a vehicle, you could be liable to pay for any medical expenses related to the injury and/or any damages done to the vehicle.

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Supporting Legal Towing Operations

Welcome

I want to thank you for visiting We Check. We are not only a consumer and business advocacy group; we’re a watchdog group for both and a referral service to help your business grow. We will concentrate our initial efforts toward the towing industries but expect to expand rapidly into other industries and trades.

Our goal is to help consumers make informed decisions by identifying businesses which offer value, quality service, and peace-of-mind. By the same token, we want to identify unscrupulous businesses which operate outside acceptable standards.

Consumers are placed in jeopardy every day by businesses that lack professionalism, integrity, and may even be operating outside the scope of state and federal towing laws. Their customers are constantly being “ripped off”, not necessarily because of a lack of state and federal regulation but because of a lack of enforcement. Working together we can fix this problem.

We Cheek can help “level the playing field” by working alongside and with our over-burdened government agencies which oversee consumer fraud and complaints; help responsible businesses continue their professional growth; and, help direct consumer dollars towards reliable professionals.

We’ve all heard the horror stories such as the tower who refused to pay for damage to a vehicle, not because he hadn’t caused the $ 2,000.00 repair, but because he didn’t have insurance; Businesses and individuals alike are facing uncontrollable loss every day because of others not carrying the insurance needed. Simply not carrying the insurance that is required or being allowed to conduct business with no insurance is driving up everyone’s insurance cost, putting some companies out of business and leaving some individuals facing bankruptcy.

To be forthcoming, I own several legal towing companies so that is why we are starting with this industries. We invite others who are interested in helping or creating your own advocacy, for your industry to contact us here.

For the moment, let’s concentrate on the towing industry. Unscrupulous towers have a multitude of ways to gain a competitive advantage over the professional legal towing company owner who abides by rules and regulations.

Look at the list below. We estimate that unprincipled and corrupt businesses which use the listed methods to cheat you, me, the government, and consumers have a nearly $ 650,000 annual advantage over the legitimate business if the devious business owner has multiple trucks. Fewer trucks, a smaller advantage.

 

  1. Using multiple names on one license without a DBA.
  2. Continuing to pay drivers as contract labor while courts have made it clear drivers are employees.
  3. Carrying no workers’ comp on drivers or themselves (not illegal for an individual owner, but if injury occurs while on another tower’s property, that owner’s insurance would be liable).
  4. Forging paperwork.
  5. Not paying taxes on employee’s wages.
  6. Paying employees in cash.
  7. Not having adequate insurance or showing their tow vehicle as a normal passenger truck.
  8. Not carrying adequate insurance on their storage facilities.
  9. Towing customer vehicles with privately owned or “not for hire” trucks. In most cases, these businesses have none of the required insurance or licenses.
  10. Not paying unemployment.
  11. Not paying minimum wages and/or any overtime wages
  12. Not performing background checks on all drivers and owners (a major public concern and danger).
  13. Chasing breakdowns and/or wrecks which is illegal in most cities but still continues.

Following Towing Laws

So, how does this affect the professional towing business and why should they be concerned? The most obvious is if it cost less to run a truck, (fewer overhead costs), then that tower doesn’t have to charge as much. These towers will practically give the service away to get the business because they don’t incur the costs associated with running a legal towing operation. They will underbid the other towers on private, commercial, and third-party contracts because many of those are only looking for a cheap tow.

Second, this leaves the legitimate tower to pay more. One example is workers’ comp. If all businesses had to carry workers comp, the pool of people paying in would be larger. The losses would be a smaller percentage of the gross, and therefore we all would have to pay less. Those who have workers comp, pay more because of those who cheat or simply do not have to participate. All insurance is paid out of a pool whether it is on cargo liability, comprehensive, worker comp or personal injury. The more who participate, the less the amount that is paid by “all”.

Many in my state recently had to pay a fee to unemployment because of money that had to be borrowed by the state to cover unemployment cost. There is a question whether any addition fees would have been required if everyone participated because the state may not have had to borrow the money. The workers whose employers did not pay unemployment for employees had to join other entitlement programs which cost all of us more in taxes. Businesses are closed by the government every day. Liens and garnishments are placed on the owners and most are never collected. Those who run legitimate companies always end up paying the tab. They cheat the system, we pay for it! This problem is flooding the entire nation, in every industry.

We in the towing industry have already given up more than 2 billion dollars a year to third-party road service providers, over and above their contracted rates. That’s approximately $ 8,000 per tower in the U.S. and we’ll never see that money again, but we can slow and eventually stem the tide of money going to competitors who have an unfair advantage and who have no business on the highway.

Reliable Towing

As more and more of the industry is turned over to third party control, it is important that we control all safety related issues, whether it be our workers or the public. I think you all know many of the third parties service providers are only worried about their cost and very few other issues. They asked us to participate in their ongoing behavior by being listed as “additional insured’s” on our insurance policies.

Recently, a third party provider was bragging about their on-going background check program, not only for owners but for drivers also. I have towed for this particular company for 10 years and have never been asked to provide any background checks on anyone of my employees. Any good company does background checks and upon request (and proper paperwork), will supply these to any vendor. We salute those companies who insist on background checks. An example is AAA.

Who is the captain of the truck transporting your family? Who did you just hire or who is serving your customer? It is the only way we are going to make this industry safe for all. We Check can supply an inexpensive background check program also.

Why would you, as a legal towing company owner allow a company you know is running illegally to remove a customers’ car from your facility, possibly taking the job from you and your drivers? We are unable to release the percentage of businesses that are not totally compliant at this time; however, initial research shows the number is unbelievable. We will make this number available once we can confirm.

Our potential customers are being left on the side of the roads and highways for hours, putting them in a very dangerous position. Every second a customer is left on our roads and highways the odds of something going wrong goes up. This is just unacceptable and could invite huge future insurance losses and/or worse.

Support Legal Towing Companies

We are asking for the towing industry’s help. The first steps are to join We Check, check insurance on all trucks entering your facilities and reporting illegal operations to us. We’ll determine if your report is accurate. You will be insuring a “healthier and safer” industry, not only for all our businesses but also for the public.

As to the referral side of We Check, we will list first those members who are compliant. Sole proprietors without workers comp will be listed next under two categories: Members (to be a member you must carry workers comp) and non-members. It will be followed by non-members who have proven compliance and then by those who have not proven compliance. Finally, those who are non-compliant.

You do not have to be a member to be listed here, but we invite your participation. We also invite all over burdened state and federal agencies to come to We Check to help you with enforcement and compliance. Insurance companies, rental companies, fleet managers, repair facilities, manufacturers, and others are invited to participate. We also will invite companies and individuals here to find a reliable towing operation. Whether a member or not, everyone is welcome.

We invite all to join We Check, sponsor our site and join our advocacy. We ask everyone to stop supporting these illegal operations in our industry. We are asking you to prove to customers and businesses owners that you are worried about your customers, driver safety, and the industry as a whole. We ask the insurance, rental, repair shop owners and auto manufacturing industries to think about the safety of our mutual customers and friends.

It is time to get serious. Serving our clients is an honor we cherish every day! It is why we get out of bed every morning or during the wee hours of, to service our customers. Let’s fix problem while we still can.

 

I look forward to the free flow of ideas and conversations from all.

Michael M. Stine
President, We Check Inc.

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