KC company with history of alleged predatory towing back in business under new name

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For almost two years, the FOX4 Problem Solvers team told you about concerns with a towing company called 24/7 Towing.

Several people said the company would show up at crash scenes, without first being called by the crash victim or an insurance company. Then the tow company would charge huge fees for customers to get their car out of impound or fixed by a single repair shop in Northmoor.

After FOX4's stories and pressure from the city, 24/7 Towing seemed to vanish. But now it looks like they're back in the game and using a new name.

Tiffany Penaye has seen better days. The back end of her 2008 Nissan Altima was smashed in after she skidded on black ice late Tuesday night.

"I called insurance like I always do and said, 'Hey, I need a tow. I've been in an accident,'" Penaye said.

After sitting in the snow along Interstate 435 for almost an hour, she was thrilled to see a truck from KC Towing pull up.

"We were just shaking, so when he said he was from the insurance company, we were just grateful," she said.

Penaye said her insurance company prefers a wrecked car go to the customer's home, then a claims adjuster comes to check things out. But when the tow operator pulled up to her house, she said he refused to leave the car.

"'You pay me right now or I take the vehicle.' I said, 'How much? $100-200?' He said, 'No, much more than that,'" Penaye said.

The bill was $980. Frustrated and unable to pay on the spot, KC Towing left with her car.

Minutes later, her phone rang. It was another tow company, who had just gotten to the crash scene, asking if she'd already gotten picked up. She told them KC Towing company had gotten her car.

"Immediately he said, 'Oh no, that's that predatory tow company. They changed their names, but I know it's still them,'" Penaye said.

In fact, the Missouri Secretary of State's website shows William Benfer Jr., the same man Problem Solvers exposed for operating 24/7 Towing last year, is the registered owner of KC Towing & Storage.

"They're crooks. They shouldn't be allowed to operate in the community around hardworking people," Penaye said.

She said the driver with KC Towing also handed her a business card for Northstar Autobody in Northmoor, as the shop that would handle her repairs. That's the same shop Benfer was tied to with 24/7 Towing.

FOX4 went there to confront the owner. He told us to shut off our cameras.

Off-camera, the owner said he gives his cards to a lot of tow companies and denied any business relationship with Benfer or KC Towing.

But right beside the business, there was a tow truck marked 24/7, and we saw a second tow truck driving away marked KC Towing.

"I thought that would never happen to me. I'd never have to call Problem Solvers or anything. And yeah, they just prey on people," Penaye said.

FOX4 made multiple attempts to contact Benfer, but he hasn't gotten back to us.

But around 5 p.m. Wednesday, Penaye said her car was finally returned.

The insurance company sent a new tow operator to pick it up from KC Towing, and they told her she's extremely lucky it was even found.

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