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Proposed state law would ban Ohio towing companies from relying on predatory "spotters"

Exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation prompts new legislation
Posted at 4:11 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 18:43:24-05

COLUMBUS — A new state law that would ban the practice of using predatory "spotters" is being considered by Ohio lawmakers following an exclusive 5 On Your Side hidden camera investigation.

RELATED: Hidden camera: K & M Towing accused of overcharging, using ‘spotter' near West Side Market

The practice has already been outlawed in states like Maryland where lawmakers found the practice unfairly targeted motorists.

"In any other context it would considered theft," said Montgomery County, Maryland's Director of Consumer Protection.

Our exclusive investigation relied on hidden cameras and captured a "spotter" employed by K&M Towing that patrols a lot across the street from Cleveland's West Side Market.

The man who identified himself as the owner of K&M Towing conceded that "spotters" are used "sometimes".

Ohio Representative Tom Patton (R-District 7) sponsored H.B. 113 after reviewing our investigation.

Patton says the practice is used by a small number of towing companies adding that Ohio's tow truck industry supports the legislation because it give an unfair advantage as well as being an unethical business practice.

"This is totally inappropriate. This is somebody making money just sitting, waiting, radio calling in and the rest of the tow truck companies are saying hey--this is an unfair advantage," said Patton.

Read the full text of the legislation below:

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