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Always Towing and Recovery Milwaukee, WI- Towing Review

Updated on September 18, 2010

Always Towing & Recovery Milwaukee, WI

Always Towing & Recovery Inc, a private business in Milwaukee, WI.  - This is what they say about themselves:

“We have the experience, the expertise and the equipment to handle even the biggest towing and recovery jobs. We also tow for all insurance carriers, the City of Milwaukee and the County Sheriff's Department. We would be happy to help you out in your time of need! Give us a call 24hrs at …….”

This company offers twenty four hour towing service and auto repossession, as well as other services for vehicles.

Their phone number?

No, I am not going to give you their phone number, because this is what people who were unfortunate to deal with this company say about them (this is the link where you can read all reviews and here is another):

“OMG!!!!THIS COMPANY IS TERRIBLE…. This company is off to RIP YOU OFF!!!... They have rates that are unhuman, rude customer service, and jack @#@!$$ for people to deal with.”- quote from m.B

Q dog wrote: “ they prey on students, their charges are highly inflated and they try to stall the process to reap additional charges, and they lie about the required documentation needed to retrieve your vehicle…. I am shocked the City of Milwaukee uses them as a sub-contracted business. To me they are nothing more than ambulance chasers.”

Amber J wrote: “I'm getting really sick of being woken up by this company their employees have absolutely no common sense or decency. Every time I've had to deal with them because our neighbor across the street has been towed 5 times in the last 3 months it's been Horrible. Don't use them unless there's no other choice!”

You don't watch the time...
You don't watch the time...
You forget about the rule....
You forget about the rule....
You get the consequences.
You get the consequences.

Well, and sometimes you do not have a choice!

Students are often times absent-minded!

On Saturday, September 4th, 2010, my son (a student in a University in Milwaukee, WI) was driving home and decided to stop by his friend for half an hour. He parked his car in a parking lot of his friend's apartment building (one hour parking allowed) and no need to say, his half an hour visit stretched into two hours. When my son went out, he didn't find his car in the parking lot.

He went to the apartment building office (on the premises) to find out that his car was towed for overtime parking. The company that was called to tow the car was Always Towing and Recovery Inc.

Well, served right to my son for his being forgetful and not thinking ahead.

What's next? Next was trying to get his car back, because he cannot go to work without it and he has two part time jobs to help pay for his tuition, rent and etc.

And here starts the saga of bureaucracy, with stalling the process in order to rip additional fees, with draconian rules made to mislead you, with unnecessary steps made up by a private business to make the things harder for you but profitable for them.

I'll tell you that this private business may serve as an example of a government business in my old socialistic country. Bureaucracy, rip off and hidden extortion like this I happen to encounter only in my motherland, Soviet Union. It is unbelievable that a private business might be like this in US.

So that you know where NOT to go if you have choice.

1701 W Mount Vernon Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233:
1701 W Mt Vernon Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA

get directions

Always Towing & Recovery, Inc. DO NOT go to this place if you have choice. Chose another business.

The Saga of getting the car back.

Saturday night, September 4th, 2010- the car was towed by Always Towing&Recovery, Inc.

Always Towing company's office (though they advertise that they work 24/7) is closed on Sundays. And Monday, September 6th, was a Labor day!

Tuesday morning, September 7th, my son called Always Towing company just to find out that there was nobody to talk to until late afternoon. The clerk on the phone didn't sound friendly and could not give any information. The manager was supposed to be in the office in the afternoon. So, my son had to miss his work on Tuesday. He'd rather miss his classes in the morning, but he didn't have much choice. He was able to talk to a manager only after 2:30p.m.

He found out that the initial price of towing was $195, plus $25 processing fee (what's this????), plus $30 a day storage fee.

But he could not get his car on Tuesday, because:

In order to get the car he was supposed to produce a license registration paper, but the paper was kept in the car. He could not take the paper from the car because Always Towing would not allow this. To get access to his car he had to produce a license paper. The closed circle.

So, Always Towing told that he has to go to DMV and get a copy of the license registration paper. It was practically the end of the working day, so this day was lost. Lost for my son, not for Always Towing who got another $30 storage fee in their earnings.

Next. The car was not on my son's name, but on my name. They told my son that I had to come personally to get the car (and I live 250 miles away). Probably, this rotten business realized that they were going too far, so they "allowed" me to fax an authorized letter, saying that I let my son to pick up my car. This is what they told him and me- the letter should be authorized and it may be done in my bank. When an authorized letter (that I did in my bank) was faxed to them within an hour, they did not say anything to my son yet, as on that day they sent him to DMV (end of the day, remember?)

Wednesday, September 8th, my son missed his morning classes and several hours of his work, waiting in a queue in DMV, where he got the copy of a license registration paper without problem even though the car was on my name. My son's friend who gave him a ride to DMV missed his classes too.

When my son came to Always Towing from DMV with a copy of registration paper, they announced to him that the letter from me was not valid, as the letter should be NOTARIZED, and it may be done in a Courthouse. The same clerk who told my son that the letter should be authorized, lied into his eyes, saying that she had told it should be notarized. Dah.... Why would we do it authorized if we had been told ""notarized""??? And why they didn't say that they need notarized letter from the beginning? They thought they might gain another $30 day like this. Little did they know that I lived one block from the Court House and the letter would be faxed to them within half an hour.

So, the final bill that my son paid to Always Towing&Recovery became $390!!!

  • $195 towing fee
  • $25 processing fee
  • $30 daily storage fee (Saturday through Wednesday)= $150
  • $20 TAX.

Quotes from reviews about Always Towing&Recovery.

"Always Towing is a company that makes themselves rich on mischiefs of other people, especially students. Their bureaucracy is unbelievable. They make you obstacles just to milk money from you. They are robbers! I'd wish I knew where to report their business. It's a pity that people depend on businesses like this."

" They prey on students, their charges are highly inflated and they try to stall the process to reap additional charges,and they lie about the required documentation needed to retrieve your vehicle. If you want to have a vehicle towed or your car unlocked or jump-started (which there are hundreds of other companies in Milwaukee to do that ) they may be ok. If your vehicle gets towed by them...bend over! I am shocked the City of Milwaukee uses them as a sub-contracted business. To me they are nothing more than ambulance chasers"

"Place is just out to overcharge you more then any others. If they can recharge you they will as well. I checked my bill, and they threw in a service charge twice, and didn't even want to take it off saying it was a driver error. Plus their driver was very unfriendly. That's what happens when you start a business in a bad area, with poor workers. Probably related to their backgrounds and where they were raised is the 'proper' way to put it. Seriously, not worth anyones time.

  • Pros: None
  • Cons: Charge more then any other local tow truck, uneducated managers who answer calls, poor drivers"

Let's analyze.

  • Let's take the fact that the primary price of towing is ridiculously inflated. $195 for towing a couple of miles? How much do they pay to their driver per hour? Private businesses establish their prices, that's why they are private. But inflating the price is a crime. In my old socialistic country food did not cost much, but the price of, say, winter boots was inflated. It was 120 rubles with an average monthly salary of 80-120 rubles per capita. You couldn't do anything, because it was dictatorship under the name of socialism.
  • $25 processing fee. Hm, I still can't get what's this one for.
  • Next. $30 daily storage fee. What does this fee cover? Keeping the car under the open sky on their premises? The average price of an open parking lot is $1 to $3 daily (my son pays $45 a month). Always Towing inflated this price too (even more expensive than some airports parking lots). Not to mention that the $30 storage fee they start taking from the day of towing (my son's car was towed after 10 p.m). Double dip? This is pure milking of a cow (in this case, a car) on a black top. You can't do anything, because you are trapped by this business.
  • Their rule says that a person has to produce a registration paper to recover his car, but for sure they know that 99% of drivers keep this paper in the car. They would not allow a driver to open his car to get the registration paper, even witnessed by their employee. They would demand from a person to go to DMV to get a copy of a registration paper. This is a pure trick to gain another day of keeping the car and billing $30 for another day of storage. See, they know for sure that it will take at least half of the day to get this paper in DMV (and this is a separate story of a government institution to make simple things hard with all the bureaucracy of lines, numbers and fees with overload of coffee-drinking-employees).
  • So, next day my son brought the registration paper from DMV, he had the keys from the car and he was a listed driver of this car, and also they towed the car from him. Nevertheless, they wouldn't give the car to my son because the car was listed on his mother's name. This trick with authorized/notarized letter was supposed to give them another day.
  • So, after two days of holidays when the office was closed ($60 charged for these days with $30 for the day of towing), lot of of false information, unnecessary bureaucratic paperwork, bouncing from one manager to another and $390 total (not saying that my son had to miss two days of his job trying to recover his car from these extortionists), my son got the car back. Always Towing corporation got two weeks of a student's hard earned salary for several days of using the situation for milking as much money as possible from their victim.

"Go prove that you are not a camel"

In the situation like this you feel a helpless victim in a trap. Exactly like it was in my old socialistic country, where you can't achieve anything without tons of bureaucratic paperwork and dump obedience to the artificially made up rules. You needed a certificate for everything. If you didn't have a certificate, you needed a certificate that you didn't have a certificate. There was a saying, "Go prove that you are not a camel". If a bureaucrat said that you were a camel, it would take tons of paperwork to prove that you were not. Seriously. Not literally, of course, you had to prove that you were not a camel...

But you got an idea, right?


Another surprise the same day.

When my son finally got his car, he found out that there was a ticket for $40 on his windshield.... from the City of Milwaukee, for overtime parking.... Hello....

Even according criminal law a person cannot be punished twice for one and the same crime.

Well, apparently, not when you deal with towing a car due to wrong parking. Everyone involved wants his piece of a pie. Or, rather, City of Milwaukee wanted its part of frosting from Always Towing&Recovery cake.

Hm... the car was parked in a private parking lot of a privately owned apartment complex, not in a city street.... But City gave a parking ticket....

Here, really, go prove that you are not a camel.....

Rip Off Businesses.

Here comes one more surprise, albeit expected. My son took phone numbers of towing companies who are listed as sub-contractors for City if Milwaukee and called them to inquire about the prices of towing.

The prices of towing were approximately the same for all places, in a range of $150. You bet it is high! But what's more interesting, it was a price of towing a vehicle if you needed the towing, i.e., if you call and ask for towing. Here you have a choice of calling different companies, comparing the prices, level of customer service, even negotiating the discount. Towing companies that are not sub-contractors of a city, price their towing services in a range of $100-$120. This is a free market and private businesses.

However, the price of those towing companies goes up ($195) if the towing is caused by wrong parking or the like. So, if you cannot regulate the choice of the towing company by "shopping", if the company is just called to tow your vehicle because you were not attentive enough while parking, then you are trapped. You have to pay inflated prices, go through unnecessary stages of bureaucracy and lot of frustration. Would you call it a way to teach somebody "good parking skills"?

No, it is not! It is an example of prices inflation, an extortion, absence of rights for a victim, profiting on mandatory situation. It is a sample of dictatorship, legal racketeering, framing a victim.

Oh how much it reminds me the ways of my old socialistic country....


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    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Johnny and Mark, you both definitely did not get the point of the article.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Johnny I agree with you you get in an accident an you need them you park where your not suppose to and now your mad im sorry everbody can get a life you probably get mad at the cop cause you got a speeding ticket do right have life steer you right omg get a life

    • profile image

      johnny s 

      5 years ago

      I really don't think there that bad considering they had to tow somebody out of my parking spot I think if you do what your suppose to you wont even have anything negative to say cause they helped me I don't see any negative remarks with people that actually requested there services

    • Sophie Mortimer profile image

      Sophie Mortimer 

      6 years ago

      It's funny you mentioned that younger people have a hard time noticing signs that would result in their car being towed. When I was first driving, I never noticed parking enforcement signs. I was booted several times and towed once before I learned my lessons. Booting, I understood. I paid the fee and they unlocked my car. Towing seemed to run really high. They would post the penalty on the sign, but the bill would be much higher than that. Thank you for tackling that in your article! On the brightside, towing Richmond companies seem to stick to their word so far. I luckily haven't had to deal with them often, but I've only lived here a few years.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      Jim, I reported this company to BBB the first thing after they ripped of us off. BBB just rerouted my complaint to the company and that's all.

      The trick is that they get your pocket the moment they get your car and then they milk you shamelessly and nonpunishably.

      I'd wish that some non-profit lawyer company can investigate them and get to people at least some of their money back.

    • profile image

      Jim, from Milwaukee 

      7 years ago

      3/19/12 It turns out that Always Towing will be getting a property tax bill this year 2012. Because they bought it after the assessment period was over in 2011 the bill still reflected WE Energies property tax exempt status. Theirfore they were not charged property taxes in 2011. (The reviews I read on several different sights mostly reflected a negative tone and they have only been in business less than a year. Also someone called a number of towing companies and found a signifigant (30% to 50%) increase in the charges that towing companies that were contracted by the City of Milwaukee charged as opposed to those who did not have city contracts. I would rather see out tax dollars going to teachers than towing companies!)I am bringing this fact to the attention of several alderman.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      3/19/12 This company, Always Towe & Recovery currently pays NO property taxes. If you go to the City of Milwaukee Assessors sight and look up the address, 3700 West Wells Street, and click on the appropriate links at the bottom of the page you will discover that they are property tax "exempt". A private business being property tax exempt, isn't that special. Considering that the land takes up almost a full city block, Cha Ching at the taxpayers expense. All these people that have complaints should add them to the Better Business Bureau, BBB, web site. Then call their alderpersons and complain...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well the total bill should have been $382.10. Storage is not suppose to be taxed. Also under WI Statue 779.415 storage in a vehicle less then 20,000 lbs should be $10.00 per day.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      unnamned, no one argues that (quot) "If you don't park where you are not supposed to you won't get towed".

      The question is not if the concept of fine was right or wrong, because it was right.

      BUT! The amount of money and the way the towing companies are holding the situation are mere and pure examples of a rip off! Taking advantage of people who legally got under your power.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Here is the city tow lot information.

      Vehicle Towing

      City Tow Lot Information

      Location: 3811 West Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53215.

      Phone Number: (414) 286-2700 FAX Number: (414) 286-5093.

      Business Hours: M - F, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sat. 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

      Closed on the following holidays: January 2nd, Martin Luther King Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and the Day after Christmas.

      Tow Fees

      Towing fee is $105.00.

      Storage fee is $20.00/calendar day.

      Notices of Towing

      Placard for abandoned vehicles parked in excess of 24 hrs.

      A placard is an orange sticker placed on a vehicle window that serves as a towing warning. After a vehicle is placarded, a notice is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. A vehicle that obtains a placard will be towed after 72 hours if the vehicle is not moved.

      1st Notice:

      A notice of towed vehicle will be sent to the vehicle owner. If the owner does not retrieve the vehicle within fifteen days from the notice, the vehicle may be recycled.

      2nd Notice: A second notice is sent to vehicle owner if the vehicle is of substantial value. If the owner does not retrieve the vehicle within 15 days of this 2nd notice, it may be sold or recycled.

      How To Reclaim a Towed Vehicle

      To reclaim a vehicle you must bring the following:

      Vehicle Title - must be in owner's name. If you do not hold the title to the towed vehicle, you cannot obtain the vehicle.

      A valid driver's license (if you are driving the vehicle from the lot). If you do not have a driver's license, you must have a valid state-issued photo ID and be accompanied by someone with a valid driver's license.

      Proof of valid liability Insurance for the vehicle to be retrieved. A valid insurance card containing the name of insurance carrier, insured and vehicle information (make, model, year and VIN) is required.

      To retrieve a vehicle on behalf of an owner, you must have the vehicle title, a valid driver's license, and a properly notarized letter from the owner authorizing you to retrieve the vehicle. The notarized letter must identify the vehicle by color, make, model, VIN, license plate number, and tow number. If you do not have a valid driver's license, you must have a valid state issued ID and be accompanied by someone with a valid driver's license.

      No personal checks will be accepted. Charges must be paid in cash, a money order in the exact amount, or by MasterCard or Visa credit cards. The credit card must belong to the person using it.

      Accumulated towing and storage fees must be paid in full before any vehicle may be released.

      Disputing Tow/Fees

      To dispute the legality of your tow, you may obtain a review by the Parking Citation Review Manager at 951 N. James Lovell Drive, 2nd Floor.

      Business Hours: M - F from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. (walk-in only).


      If you have questions regarding your towed vehicle, tow fees, or towing procedures, call the Tow Lot Office at (414) 286-2700.

      Need more details? Click below on Frequently Asked Questions.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Check the city tow lot. You will find the same type of procedures and prices. This is run by the city of milwaukee. If you don't park where you are not suppose to you won't get towed!!!

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      Elaine, sadly, but you are so right.... I saw more negative reviews posted on insiderpagers site about this company. Same story again.

      I reported their ways to BBB, but they just ping-pong the complaint to each other and no actions are taken. Always Towing still have their sky prices and hidden ways to milk you out of your money.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am so glad I got to your blog! This company is awful. They prey on students who forget how they park. Though of course, people who park wrong are guilty, but this company makes lots of easy money this way. Their prices are just inflated and they make obstacles to you to get more money from your pocket!

      It's a thieves business!

      They did to my son exactly what you wrote here.


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