A state investigation into customer complaints is still under way.

The City and County of Honolulu has told its towing contractor to temporarily stop charging an additional tow fee while it investigates all the instances it has been applied this year.

Since Jan. 1, All Island Automotive Towing charged at least 120 people a $900 fee or multiples of it, totaling at least $100,000. The extra tow fees drew the attention of insurance companies and the state Office of Consumer Protection.

In a letter sent June 28, the Department of Customer Services requested that All Island produce all invoices that included a $900 charge for the “non-statutory and difficult hook up,” plus documentation to justify each instance.

The department is now reviewing the invoices and speaking with the company, CSD spokesman Harold Nedd said. “We don’t have more to add at this point.”

gate closes Makepono All Island Automotive Towing invoice
An All Island Automotive Towing invoice shows the $900 charge for a “non-statutory and difficult hook up.” (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

The charge — $900 for every 15 minutes of hook-up work after the first 15 — was intended to allow the company to charge more for jobs that required multiple tow trucks or involved pulling vehicles from hazardous locations like ravines or streams.

State law limits how much tow companies can charge to $65 per tow, $7.50 per mile, $75 for a dolly, and $25 for each of the first seven days a car is in the impound lot. They are not authorized to charge other fees except for “reasonable amounts for excavating vehicles from off-road locations,” another law states.

In the letter to the company CSD director Kim Hashiro wrote “The City reminds All Island that this charge is limited to these types of situations and must not be applied to other types of circumstances.”

Hashiro previously said that the company was simply following the contract which permitted the $900 fees.

Geico and other insurance companies asked the National Insurance Crime Bureau to investigate the charges for evidence of insurance fraud, but because the fee was written into the city contract, the bureau determined it was a civil matter to be hashed out among the parties.

The Office of Consumer Protection is continuing the civil investigation into five complaints against All Island, according to executive director Mana Moriarty. He declined to comment further.

Hashiro also requested a meeting with All Island to discuss the contract and “to clarify any misunderstanding All Island may have regarding the appropriate and permitted use” of the $900 charge.

“Until this meeting occurs,” Hashiro wrote, the company “shall not” apply the fee.

Kanoelani Perry, who owns the company with her husband, Paul Perry, declined to comment.

“We are under contract with the city,” she said, adding that she needed to speak with city officials before talking to a reporter.

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