VOLUME 43, ISSUE 21
ISSUE DATE:NOVEMBER 7, 2011
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
Proposed Amendment: N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.4
Schedule of Other Non-Consensual Towing and Storage Services
Authorized By: Thomas R. Calcagni, Director, Division of Consumer Affairs.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 56:13-14(a) and 56:13-19.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2011-228.
Submit written comments by January 6, 2012 to:
Thomas R. Calcagni, Director
State of New Jersey
Division of Consumer Affairs
Office of the Director
P.O. Box 45027
Newark, New Jersey 07101
The agency proposal follows:
A "basic tow" is defined in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.2 to include a bundle of specified towing services. N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.4 permits a towing company engaged in non-consensual towing to charge a fee only for specific services, one of which is a "basic tow." The Division of Consumer Affairs (Division) has received several complaints from consumers regarding bills received for towing services. Specifically, the bills did not explain the services provided to consumers as part of the "basic tow" and the consumers were not clear as to what services were actually provided as part of the "basic tow." In order to ensure that a bill presented by a towing company is as clear as possible, the Division proposes an amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.4, to require that a bill provided to a consumer list all services provided as part of a private property tow or other non-consensual tow, and that the bill list the services actually provided as part of the "basic tow."
As the Division has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.
The Division believes that the proposed amendment will have a positive social impact because it will inform consumers of the towing services actually performed as part of a private property tow or other non-consensual tow.
As the proposed amendment requires that a towing company list the services provided as part of a private property tow or other non-consensual tow and does not affect the charges for those services, the Division does not believe that the proposed amendment will have an economic impact.
Federal Standard Statement
49 U.S.C. § 14501 preempts states from regulating prices, routes or services of motor carriers. This preemption does not prevent states from regulating safety or imposing insurance requirements on motor carriers or regulating pricing for non-consensual towing. The proposed amendment does not impose price, route or service requirements on towing companies engaging in consensual towing services. Since the proposed amendment does not regulate towing practices that are Federally preempted, nor are there Federal laws or standards applicable to the regulation of non-consensual towing, a Federal standards analysis is not required.
The Division does not believe that the proposed amendment will either increase or decrease the number of jobs in New Jersey.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The Division does not expect the proposed amendment will have any impact on the agriculture industry in the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
It is likely that the majority of towing companies employ fewer than 100 full-time employees and would be considered "small businesses" under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq.
The proposed amendment imposes no costs and will not require towing companies to employ any professional services. The proposed amendment does not impose any recordkeeping or reporting requirements, but does impose compliance requirements as detailed in the Summary above.
As the compliance requirements contained in the proposed amendment are necessary to ensure that consumers can understand bills for towing services the Division believes that the amended rule must be uniformly applied to all towing companies and no exemptions will be provided based on the size of the towing business.
Smart Growth Impact
The proposed amendment will have no impact on the achievement of smart growth and implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.
Housing Affordability Impact Analysis
The proposed amendment will have no impact on affordable housing in New Jersey and the rule would not evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed amendment pertains to itemization of towing bills.
Smart Growth Development Impact Analysis
The proposed amendment will have no impact on smart growth development and the rule would not evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2, or within designated centers, under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, because the proposed amendment pertains to the itemization of towing bills.
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus):
13:45A-31.4 Schedule of other non-consensual towing and storage services
(a)-(i) (No change.)
(j) A bill for a private property tow or other non-consensual tow shall include a list of all services provided to a consumer for which the towing company is charging pursuant to (a) above.
(k) A bill for a flat fee rendered for a private property or other non-consensual basic tow shall enumerate the towing services actually performed as part of the basic tow.