Tow truck companies in Mississippi must abide by the rules set forth by the state when towing vehicles. Tow trucks often remove vehicles that are abandoned, at the request of a police officer or the vehicle's owner. The state of Mississippi enacted legislation on July 1, 2006 to allow towing companies to place a lien for the price of towing and storage on all vehicles removed by the company.
The Mississippi legislature amended Section 85-7-251 of the Mississippi code of 1972 to allow tow truck companies to place a lien on all vehicles removed. Liens may be placed for the amount of towing and storage, and tow truck companies may keep the vehicle in their possession until the debt for these charges is satisfied. This applies to all vehicles removed at the request of the vehicle's owner, law enforcement or a property owner where a vehicle has been abandoned. Towing companies that fail to make a good faith effort to comply with the law are not entitled to retain the vehicle. Towing companies that fail to comply with Mississippi law must file an action in court in order to receive compensation for the price of towing and storage if the vehicle owner fails to pay.
Mississippi law requires all tow truck companies to follow certain procedures when enforcing a lien for towing and storage fees. Towing companies must report within 24 hours to local police regarding any vehicle that has been towed, unless the vehicle was removed at the request of the vehicle's owner. Owners of vehicles that have been removed must contact the towing company within five business days of towing. Towing companies must make an effort to obtain the name and address of the lienholder and must make an effort to determine ownership of the vehicle, including checking the vehicle for documents with the owner's name and address or tag information. Once the identity of the vehicle owner has been determined, the tow truck company must notify the owner by certified mail regarding the amount due on the vehicle for towing and storage.
Owners of vehicles that have been towed must pay the towing and storage fees on a timely basis. Tow truck companies that do not receive compensation for these fees can sell the vehicle to pay for these charges. Towing companies must publish a notice of sale in a newspaper of general circulation for a period of two weeks. If the vehicle owners do not respond, the vehicle can be sold by the towing company. Any amount collected from the sale of the vehicle that is in excess of the total amount of towing and storage will be held by the towing company for six months. If unclaimed by the vehicle owner within that time, the money becomes the property of the county in which the vehicle was towed.