The Week's Features
Three-time cancer survivor is doing what he loves
App, web-based service provides lien-holder contact information
Digital Recognition Network CEO lays out company's vision
Unit designed to bring greater awareness to Move Over law
Buddy's gets farmer's tractor with corn silage in open field
Digital Edition
Click Here
Events
Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 17-19, 2017
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
Don't Miss It!
Join Mike Stevens of AAA Texas for foundational training on lockout basics with a focus on damage prevention. Topics include: basic lockout guidelines, discussion of locking mechanisms, safety around airbags and more. It will take place as part of the Towing & Recovery Conference taking place at Tow Expo Dallas, August 17-19, 2017 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas.

towexpodfw.com
logotype
Translate Language  
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingAugust 23 - August 29, 2017

City, State
RATES
North:
Bronx, NY
$125
(Pop. 1,438,159)
South:
Charlotte, NC
$85
(Pop. 809,958)
East:
Baltimore, MD
$85
(Pop. 622,104)
West:
San Jose, CA
$200
(Pop. 1,015,785)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
homediv

Doing Away with Credit Card Fees

15 0bf10By Don G. Archer

What once was considered a cost of doing business is now a thing of the past.

In 2005, 7 million business owners sued Visa and Master Card over service agreements. They claimed the credit card companies were forcing them to bear all the fees incurred when customers used their cards to make purchases.

As a condition of accepting their cards, Visa and Master Card told business owners that they could not pass these costs down to the consumer. They couldn't even steer them to less expensive payment options. If they did so, they would lose their ability to accept their cards.

When this was going on, I owned a convenience store and knew nothing about the suit; but I felt the pinch. A load of gas would come in off the tanker and it might cost me $2.45 per gallon. I would retail it, in step with the other gas stations in my area, at $2.49. This meant that if a customer paid with cash I would get four cents per gallon; but if they paid with a credit card ... well, that's another story.

Depending upon the card used, I would pay anywhere from 2.5 percent to 4 percent of the purchase. This meant, as a business owner barred from passing these costs down, it cost me money to sell them gas. At $2.49, the credit card fees would have been between six to nine cents per gallon, which meant I was losing between two to five cents per gallon.

Why should a business owner pay extra fees based on the type of payment used? It might have made sense in the past. If your business was the only one in the area accepting credit cards, you had an advantage. When profits were higher and margins weren't as slim you could afford these fees; but in this economy where everyone accepts credit cards, there's no need for business owners to continue to pay.

Fast-forward a few years to 2011. I'm out of the gas business, the attorneys have finally quit squabbling and justice has prevailed. Visa and Master Card are ordered to pay back some $6 billion. They were also sent back to the drawing board to rewrite their service agreements, with direction to allow business owners to pass on their fees.

But like any good movie, this can't be the end.

With the precision of surgeons, the Visa and Master Card lackeys began dissecting every word in the judge's decree looking for a "legal" way to comply with the ruling and bring in more revenue.

They rewrote their service agreements to allow business owners the option of passing their fees onto the consumer—as a surcharge.

As a result, the credit card companies were still charging business owners a transaction fee on top of what they were collecting. That fee was bigger due to the surcharge.

To illustrate: With the new service agreements, if you had a $100 sale and added a 3-percent surcharge to the customer, the credit card company will then charge the business owner somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 percent or 4 percent for the entire amount.

($100 x 3 percent = customer pays $103 x 4 percent charged by the credit card company = $104.12.)

This $100 sale nets the credit card company $4.12, and the business owner is still paying $1.12 of it. The numbers may be hard to digest but the gist was—the business owners were still losing out.

After numerous complaints, the Justice Department stepped in and sued the credit card companies. Visa and Master Card quickly settled; after a seven-week trial in 2014, it was ruled that American Express had violated anti-trust laws. Things began to change.

The ruling opened the door for businesses throughout the U.S. to pass on all those fees. My towing business was doing more than $60,000 per month in credit and debit card transactions. If this has taken place from the start, I could have saved more than $2,000 per month.

When I first learned about the changes in the law, I was skeptical. I called the company that did my credit card processing, and they had no idea what I was talking about. It seems that this is so new that only a handful of companies are doing it. They're all using the software of a company called SignaPay, who claim to be the only legally compliant software available.

As far as the viability of passing credit card fees down to towing customers, that's a whole other discussion; but if anybody out there is using this already and saving loads of money, I'm sure others would like to know about it.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at don@thetowacademy.com.
hd-rates

It's OK to Decline Inebriated Transports

ForTB O fc5c6By Randall C. Resch

When the question comes up about transporting the drunken buddy, how are you prepared to answer the officer's request?

Often it's a situation after a DUI arrest that becomes a safety issue for towers when the arresting officer asks, "Will you take the passenger's buddy with you?" (Keep in mind the officer may not let you know that the buddy is a candidate for detox.) Because you wish to serve the police, you agree to transport Mr. Companion once you're loaded and ready to go.

All is well until the officer leaves. Then, the passenger starts to get a little froggy and attempts to liberate his friend's impounded vehicle.

Being placed directly in harm's way is typically not part of any law enforcement contract. Regarding the transport of injured, intoxicated or belligerent people, what's your company's policy and procedure?

While I realize that the police department has plenty to do, asking you to take control of an intoxicated or belligerent person is putting a tower directly in harm's way. Sure, the party may seem all friendly and nice; but once the cops depart, a drunk with a purpose comes alive and may come after you.

Police officers should be in charge of and responsible for transporting passengers off the highway for the safety of the tow operator. If it's an arrest in an area where public transportation is available, taxis or a rideshare program can transport them. If the passenger is intoxicated, a better decision would be to deliver that individual to detox and not release an intoxicated person into a public place.

In one incident, a tow operator agreed to transport a pair of intoxicated males off the highway after their buddy was arrested for DUI. With the impounded vehicle on his carrier, the tower drove the buzzed buddies to a residence; while he was letting them out, the two became aggressive, pulled the towman from the cab of his tow truck, and beat him severely. His injuries included a black eye, bloody nose and bruised ribs.

Although the tower did nothing wrong, the tower chose not to press charges as he did not want to cause problems for his tow company.

If your company tows for law enforcement, I recommend that management contact your law enforcement agencies to determine if (by contract) you're required to transport intoxicated or belligerent persons? My guess is ... that's police work.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
Translate Page
Contact Us

WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
© 2017  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.