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This company states that they offer towing, recovery and salvage services.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Schmidt's Auto, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Schmidt's Auto, Inc. include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 7 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

7 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 3 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 3
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 4
Total Closed Complaints 7

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

3 Customer Reviews on Schmidt's Auto, Inc.
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 1
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 2
Total Customer Reviews 3

Additional Information

BBB file opened: April 20, 1998 Business started: 01/01/1937 in WI Business started locally: 01/01/1937 Business incorporated: 01/02/1970 in WI
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington DC 20590

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
4802 Sheboygan Avenue, P.O. Box 7910, Madison WI 53707
Phone Number: (800) 924-3570

Type of Entity


Business Management
Mr. John N. Schmidt, President Mr. Michael P. Schmidt, Vice President
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. John N. Schmidt, President
Business Category

Towing - Automotive Auto Parts & Supplies - Used & Rebuilt Auto Salvage Yards Auto Repair & Service Road Service - Automotive General Automotive Repair (NAICS: 811111)

Alternate Business Names
Schmidt's Towing
Industry Tips
Auto-Buyback Guarantee-Terms & Conditions for Consumers Protecting Your Auto Repair Investment

Additional Locations

  • 1004 Dunkirk Ave

    Stoughton, WI 53589 (608) 873-1212

  • 1621 Beld St

    Madison, WI 53715 (608) 257-0505 (877) 869-4968

  • 2121 Fish Hatchery Rd

    Madison, WI 53713 (608) 257-1234

  • 6918 Meffert Rd

    Waunakee, WI 53597 (608) 255-1311


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Additional Phone Numbers

  • (877) 869-4968(Phone)
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Complaint Detail(s)

7/22/2014 Problems with Product/Service
5/9/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: On April 30, 2014 my son was in an accident. He had a seizure and hit a pole. When he hit the pole, the airbags were deployed. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance from the scene of the accident. The City of Madison Police Department has Schmidt's Towing tow the car. I was not notified by either Schmidt's Towing or the Madison Police Department even though I was the registered owner. Because of the seizure and being hit in the head when the airbag deployed my son was confused, typically when he has a seizure he is out of it for at least 24-48 hours. He told me on Wednesday, after the accident that he told the police that his friend would tow the car. On Friday, May 2, 2014 my son informed me that the car had been towed by Schmidt's Auto. I thought Schmidt's Auto office would be closed over the weekend so Monday morning, May 5, 2014 I telephoned Schmidt's Auto. They told me they had the car, since the car was totalled, I asked Schmidt's Auto what they would pay me to just keep the car. The lady in the office said typically they waive their fees and I would sign the title over to them. I told her I would be in that day, around 4 to take care of that. Once I got there I was informed that they would only give me $300 for the vehicle and I had to pay them an additional $275 for the tow costs. I complained that I had no idea my car was even there until late Friday, she said that it was my son's repsonsiblity to let me know the car was at their location. I told her he had a seizure and was not able to relay that information to me, had I know that my car was at their office and they were charging me a daily storage fee I would have contacted them immediately. I can't take care of something I am not aware of. She said there was nothing she could do. I asked if I could take some items from the vehicle, she informed me that only the registered owner was allowed to take items from the vehicle, I gave her my license and if they checked the DOT they would see that I am the registered owner. At that time she informed me that my son was allowed to take itmes from the vehicle on Wednesday evening, April 30, 2014. He is not the registered owner, no one at Schmidt's can explain to me why he was allowed to take itmes from the vehicle. I again called Schmidt's Auto this morning, May 6, 2014 at 8:15. I explained the reasons I was upset and she told me that I would need to speak to a *******, she said the ******* would be in today at 11, she would relay the message. She also said that my son was allowed to take items from the vehicle because he had the same last name as me. I am not sure what that has to do with anything. There are many people with the same last name as me, does that mean that anyone with the last name ********* has the right to take things from my vehicle? As of 1:30 today I have still not heard from the "*******" at Schmidt's Auto which means they will try to charge me again with a storage fee for today. The person at the counter yesterday told me that legally they don't have to notify *** ***** of the vehicle for 10 days, so they can run up the daily storage fee of $25/day for 10 days.....that's crazy.

Desired Settlement: I want to sign the title over to them and we call it even on the storage/towing charge. They told my son on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 that they would give him $300 for the car and he would walk away with around $200. They told me when I called on Monday, May 5, 2014 that typically they waive their fees and I would sign the title over to them. I was told yesterday that only the registered owner was allowed to take items from the vehicle, yet they allowed my son to take items from the vehicle. I feel like they are making the rules as they go along in order to charge me more money and protect themselves.

Business Response:

Our supervisor talked to the mom & son, advised mom that we were offering $300 when they came down on 5/05.  The day vehicle came in impound balance was $349.30 and if the son-**** had made the decision that day to junk out then I would have taken title for tow but since it had sat in impound for a few days unfortunately I was unable to waive storage but did apply the $300 to the balance which meant they had to pay us $222.02 to junk out on 5/05.  Mom was upset no one contacted her and that I explained as well. Son claims he didn't know where vehicle went.  I asked the son who responded to the scene and he said Madison Police, I told the mother that is who they should have contacted to locate the vehicle.  Son claims he was going to call his own towing co to come pick up the vehicle but he was put in an ambulance. Son went out to the vehicle to get the title and came back inside stating the title was missing.  I Looked at him & his mother straight in the eye and said "**** you knew where the vehicle was, you came down the day the vehicle was brought into impound to pick up personals, you took the title. We did not go into the vehicle."   (notes in the call: call was cleared out by me at 19:04 but *** ***** called at 19:00(*********, ****###-###-####CALLED WANTS TO COME PICK UP PERSONALS FROM VEHICLE, ADVISED PROOF & ID...THINKS PROOF IS IN THE VEHICLE....UNABLE TO TELL ME IF HE HAS INS--- SAYS HE'LL CALL ME BACK) - this was what I had noted into the call. He was very quick to get me off the phone. ***** noted at 20:46(8:45pm on 4/30 a couple hours after vehicle was dropped in lot) *** ***** had stopped down to get personals & wanted a salvage value. She says *** *****-**** went out to the vehicle and had brought the title inside and was waving it to her to show he had proof. 

So for the mom & the son to say they didn't know where the vehicle was at is false, . I tried to work with them on the bill but she didn't want to hear what I had to say, she was more upset no one contacted them.  I told them if they came back to junk out; the $300 offer still stands but keep in mind the storage will keep going up the longer the vehicle sits here- the mom said okay, I'm not paying anything & walked out.

On Wed, May 7, 2014 at 9:49 AM, **** *******<*********************> wrote:
Sounds like we followed procedures.  We are also continuing to offer the $300 off.  *** *****s insurance would also have
Handled all of this, had they had coverage. Our offer tow, store  , tow again, junk with the state and national processes
For $49.30. ( the offer we gave **** on the phone hours following) is reasonable. At this time we will also be 
Paying for junking with no title.  Those charges can be avoided if *** ***** will bring/ mail the title .

Sent from my iPhone

Business Response: The responsibility lies with *** ***** and operator.  

1.  Carry proper insurance
2. If involved in an accident, following the ensurance that everyone is ok, find out where your vehicle is.  This means 1 phone call 
to the responding municipality
3.  Discuss the options with the towing company.  Which the operator of the vehicle did and at that time we offered to waive all charges totally $300. 
The breakdown
The customer did not do #1
The customer came to *******s and did not take the offer to waive all charges 
The operator told us he was making other arrangements and was informed about the daily storage charges
*** ***** assumed the towing company was not open - easily able to confirm via the web or the phone
*** ***** was also offered the original $300 off again on 5/6
As for letting the operator of the vehicle retrieve personals.  *******s allowed the operator with the same last name and the same address
(verified by the insurance card compared to the photo I'd presented and photo copied) to retain items. 
******** stands bye our original offer of waiving $300.  

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

*******'s seems to bend the rules to their advantage.  They allowed **** to go into the vehicle and obtain property because he had the same late name and address as me which is incorrect, yes we do have the same last name, but ****'s license has his Dad's address, not mine on it.

If they allowed **** to go into the vehicle because he had the same last name and address why didn't they allow him to make the decision about selling the vehicle to them.  He was in there on Wed., the same day the vehicle was brought to their location, he had the title in hand, according to their office *******, yet he was not allowed to turn it over to them even though it was signed by me for $300.00.  So now the fees are at least doubled.

I will sign the title over to them and give them $25 for storage.  Any additional charges they will have to file a claim and we can fight this out in court.


***** *********



BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

1/19/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: Commencing on 12/18/2013, I called Schmidt's Towing office to request a receipt for emergency road service provided in order that I might file an insurance claim for reimbursement. Service date 12/3/2013, ref # ******. Repeated phone calls resulted unkept assurances to email receipt to my email account. Failing this, I asked that a copy be mailed to me. It's been more than a week and no receipt has been received.

Desired Settlement: Get me the receipt!

Business Response: We apologize.  We had the wrong email address.  We had ***********************.  We are emailing out tonight.  


BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/18/2013 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: This towing company towed my vehicle on Saturday, December 29th. I found out it was towed early morning December 31st and called to find out it got towed, got quoted a price of $237, told I could pick it up at 4. I showed up at 4 and nohbody was there, I called again and they said they wouldn't be out there for over an hour. I had to work so I couldnt wait. The next day I called to pick up my vehicle and they told me I would have to pay an aditional day of storage for there mistake of not coming out to release my car. And they also wanted to charge me an additional 75$ paperwork fee. They towed it on the holiday weekend then said they were unable to get there to release my vehicle, even though I made plans with them 5 hours prior to when I would pick it up.

Desired Settlement: I understand I had to pay A tow fee, but they towed it 1 mile. and stored it for 2 days, then on the 3rd day I tried to pick it up and they elusively didnt release my car, and tried charging me an additional 100$ for there mistake. I would like a refund because the actions this company took are unethical. I was charged 190$ for the tow alone, then 30$ a day. When I was capable and wanting to pick the vehicle up immediately. They charged a ridiculous amount of fees for traveling 1 mile. I am now waiting for them to arrive to pick up my vehicle, I called this morning and they are charging me about $270. This is crazy, I cant believe if this business practice is legal. I would also like the BBB to try and correct the business, fine or take the license as well as refund for excessive charges.

Business Response:

Schmidt's apologizes for the customer not being able to pick up their vehicle on December 31st at 4.  Our *********'s location was open from 7-4 on that day.  We do our best to  accommodate  customers picking up vehicles at their connivance.  Schmidt's will refund $105.00 plus tax, which is the $75 D.O.T charge and the storage for the day.

Please contact our offices at ###-###-####.  Ask for the business office and let themknow you are calling about a refund from December 29th from our ********* location.  You will need to provide us with your vehicle information so we can look up the call  as well as your credit card # for the refund.  

Thank You 
***** ******* 

Consumer Response:

I accepted the settlement but, when you showed me the email they said they sent and the one I received, looked alot different. Didnt include the phone number to contact them. Also, i didnt pay with a creditcard. I paid cash, so they said they would refund my card?? makes no since. I think this business is fraudulent. They told you that they were open from 7-4 that day. But they told me that location is never staffed and you have to call. Also they had broke my drivers side back window in tow, replaced the window with a scratched window when the glass guy did it he told me about it. 


Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me. 



******** *******




BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

3/5/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: The performed towing services after an accident and lost the key to my vehicle resulting in my vehicle being delayed being fixed by 2 weeks, no rental car until my vehicle could be worked on which meant I was without a vehicle and had to get rides to work, my vehicle to be towed from auto body shop to dealership for a key to be made resulting in a cost of over $175.00. The police report indicated the key was left in the vehicle, the officer asked the driver if he wanted to move it off the snowbank before getting it on the tow truck, and the tow truck driver said he alredy tried and it was stuck - so the driver had the key. When it got to the auto body shop there was no key - which meant the vehicle could not be fixed without a key.

Desired Settlement: I feel that they should reimburse me for the cost of the new key being made since it was their driver that lost the key, they should pay for the replacement, especially since it is documented in a police report that they had the key.

Business Response: On February 19th,  we towed the vehicle to the body shop. On Feb. 20 Ms. ********** contacted us about a missing key.  We indicated to her , incorrectly that there was no key when we took the vehicle to the body shop.  On Feb 22, Ms. ********** contacted us again, insistent that we had the keys. We immediately esculated the discussion to a ********** and we started researching and back tracking the steps.  To help resolve the situation, Schmidt's towed the vehicle from the body shop to the dealership so a key could be cut and re-programmed.  The cost of the cut and re-programming would have been $175.00.  In the process of this, we located the original key which had been mislabeled in our key box.  We contacted the dealership immediately and brought the key to them. During this time, a key had already been cut, but NOT re-programmed.  The cost for the key cut is $80.00, which Schmidt's paid the dealership for.  

I understand the customers frustration with our original mistake of , mislabeling the key.  Schmidt's was doing what we could to rectify the situation over the 3 day period and in the end, the key was found and any out of pocket exspenses were covered by Schmidt's Auto.   

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

Their response claims that Ms ********** contacted Schmidts on 2/20 and 20/22 and that is not true. ***** ********** contacted them on 2/20 and inquired about the key. They said they never received it. ***** ********** called back on 2/21 to inquire about the key again. He was told that the notes from the tow truck driver specifically stated that they didn't receive a key. ***** ********** then talked with the Officer ******** who said he left the key in the ignition and talked to the tow truck driver about it. On 2/22 Amy ********** called Schmidts to say that she was submitting a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and that they should cover the cost of the replacement key and the towing of the vehicle. Schmidts did tow the vehicle to ******** and cover the cost of the key, but they didn't offer to cover the cost of those charges until after they found the key.


*** **********



BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

1/23/2013 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: My vehicle was towed on 1/15/2013 around 10pm by this company. I went to get my vehicle back the next morning 11am within 13 hours. They over-charged me for 2 entire storage days ($220). They said the 2 storage day charge was due to how the calender billing was set -- after midnight, it counts as a whole day. However, I think they were lying and over-charged me for two reasons. 1) My vehicle had been towed by this company before with almost the exactly same situation -- got towed the previous day evening, and get it back the next morning within 24 hours. And that time they only charged me for 1 storage day ( around $120, and I have a banking account record for it). And similar cases have happened on my friends, and they were charged for only 1 storage day. 2) This time, after 3 hours after my vehicle was towed, I called their office around 1/16/2013 1am. Their employee on the phone told me that if I get my car back before the next day 10pm (within 24 hours), I would only pay for 1 storage day. And I waited until next morning to get my car back because I trusted what he said. However, when I went to their office to get my vehicle next morning, their manager denied it and said there was no such record. Of course, as a consumer I cannot possibly have any recording machine with me when I make phone calls. But it should be more likely the company's responsibility to record incoming phone calls, especially after they make promises to the consumers. The company was either covering up the phone record deliberately to overcharge me, or failed to keep a record that indicates the right amount I should pay.

Desired Settlement: Apologize and refund.

Business Response: Schmidt's Auto would like to refund and apologize to Mr. ** for any misunderstanding. 

It is correct that when a vehicle is dropped off onto our lot, that storage begins immediately.  We insure and are open 24/7/365 for picking up vehicles.  Therefore, had Mr ** picked up his vehicle that day, his charge would have been towing, plus 1 day of storage. 
Since, Mr. ** indicated that he contacted us, he would have been advised that his cost would be the tow and 1 day of storage and at midnight, the storage charge would go up another $30, as we do charge per calender day.  As for recording our calls, when a customer contacts us ad provides their vehicle information (plate or VIN), we do record that a call was made.  (the computer automatically generates an inquiry).  Non the less, it appears that Schmidt's Auto did not fully explain the storage nor did we  ask Mr. ** specifically, which vehicle he was inquiring about. 
Schmidt's Auto will reimburse Mr. ** $ 105.00 which is the amount charged for the administration fee ($75.00) plus $30.00 for 1 day of storage.     

Our sincere apology,

********* **** ************* **** **** **

Consumer Response:

[A default letter is provided here which indicates your acceptance of the business's response.  If you wish, you may update it before sending it.]

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me. 


*** **


BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

9/4/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was involved in a car vs Deer accident on the **** ******** Highway back in July 8th, 2012. Schmidts was the towing company the town of ******* police called to tow my vehicle to their yard - it is unknown how they towed my car (flatbed or by the front wheels). I went to pick up my car on July 8th, but it was required that I had it towed to a location off premises for repairs. I elected to use Schmidts auto to tow my vehicle for faster service. The tow truck driver towed my **** ***** ****** about 10 miles from **** ****** to * *********** ***** in *******, WI. Upon arrival, I smelled HOT brakes coming from my car - I confronted the truck driver who glanced in my window and said "oops, I forgot to release your emergency brake" and he dropped my car on the street and instructed me to back up the car into my friends driveway since the car still ran. I got in and noticed immediately my brake pedal went straight to the floor - something that up until now had not occurred before. I told the driver that my brakes were not functioning (I have a 5 speed transmission) and he instructed me to "pump" the brake and the pedal will come back up - it did, but not to the point where it was before I had my car towed. I immediately called Schmidts dispatch and informed her of the issue and her question to me was "why did the driver not put my car on the flat bed?" I had no answer for her. My brake situation did not improve at all with time so I was forced to take my car in for repairs at ** *** **** **** on July 16th. They spent an entire day diagnosing the issue - they inspected my brake shoes - glazed over, excessive wear, but still had some material left. They proceeded to bleed my brake lines to remove air from within the lines - they could not resolve the issue doing this either, air kept getting into the lines. They told me that replacing my brake master cylinder would be the only way to restore my brakes to full usefulness. I had to approve the repair to get my brakes back to their appropriate state. On July 18th, I went to Schmidts to discuss the repair and ask for acceptable reimbursement for the damage caused. The individual I was referred to did not introduce himself to me and insisted that their responsibility would only be for the brake shoes and since the shoes were not replaced, he refused to pay for any portion of the bill. I explained to him that replacing the brakes would NOT have fixed the issue, yet he refused to believe me. Obviously, this individual had no clue how a cars brake system works.

Desired Settlement: I had to take my car in for a repair that would not have been required had schmidts properly towed my car - it was a 5 speed manual transmission, so it is standard procedure to check to make sure the e-brake was released prior to towing. The driver did not follow the procedure. I had to pay a repair bill in the amount of $307.79 for a repair that would not have been necessary if Schmidts Auto had towed my car in the appropriate manner. Had they released my e-brake prior to towing, the damage would not have occurred. Given the angle of at least 20 degrees during the tow, having the e-brake engaged caused the brakes to super heat and boil the brake fluid in the cylinders that are inside the drums, pumping my brakes to get the brakes to respond again cycled hot fluid through my master cylinder causing the inner seal to fail which allowed air into the brake line system and resulted in "soft" brakes. I have already asked Schmidts personally for a reasonable reimbursement, but as mentioned in my complaint, they continue to refuse to take any responsibility whatsoever for the damages that they caused to my cars brake system. According to my CERTIFIED auto mechanic, replacing the brakes alone would NOT have fixed my problem and the damage was a directly linked to how Schmidts auto had towed my car. I had my car in for repairs prior to my car accident and tow and at that time, my brakes worked as they should have and the damage caused CAN be directly linked to how they towed my car. My rear brake shoes are in need of replacement and I am asking Schmidts to either A. Reimburse 50% of the repairs already done to my car ($153.89) or pay to have my brakes replaced at the shop of my choice. I believe what I am asking schmidts to do is fair and reasonable given the damage they have caused. I have full documentation of the repairs done to my car on July 16th.

Business Response: I am aware of the concern that *** ******** has and have met with him in person .  After looking at his vehicle and understanding why we towed the vehicle as opposes to flat bedding it.  I came to the following decision.  That decision is based on my expertise in the industry.  The amount of times I have seen similar situations and my knowledge as to how this vehicle was towed.  I reviewed what possible damages could have been done as a result of our towing it, including having the emergency brake on while towing it. 
Starting with the route to the master cylinder.  There is a rubber valve where brake fluid would have traveled too.  That valve would have been punctured/burned had the brake fluid gotten as hot as it needed to tin order to have  burn out the Master Cylinder.  The mechanic should have seen this rubber line that goes from the caliber to the frame of the car that would have punctured before the hot fluid would have made it to the master cylinder. The vehicle brake lines would have burned as well , way before the master cylinder.   Having the ER brake may have worn on the brake shoes, which we offered to replace if they needed to be.

I explained all of this to *** ******** in person.  He has chosen to discredit my analysis  I understand how *** ******** might have come to the assumption that because he had his car towed and the ER brake was still on, that this must be "the cause" of his brake issue.  However, he should have come down with the mechanics diagnoses prior to any work being done so he did not assume again that he would be having someone else paying for work that his vehicle obviously needed to have done regardless.

Schmiidt's Auto is more than willing, and have been more than willing to pay for any approved repairs that we have causes as a result of towing. 
 *** ******** had a repair shop review his vehicle, and he went ahead and had it repaired. then he came with a bill and told me to pay for it. 

Thank You
**** * *******


Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

[To assist us in bringing this matter to a close, we would like to know your view on the matter.]


******** ********


To the BBB consultant and *** *******:

I understand that Schmidts towing may be willing to pay for damage that is a result of any negligence on their part, however from what I understand from their response is *** ******* is misunderstanding what had to be repaired to get my car back in drivable condition - his response would be correct IF the incident in question involved the FRONT brakes - the front brakes do have calipers which are connected to the main brake lines by a flexible plastic hose to allow the wheels to turn - my complaint does NOT involve my front brakes as my car was towed at the time in question by the front wheels, therefore the front wheels where immobile (not moving) and lifted by the wheel lift on the rear of the tow truck.  My complaint is in regards to the rear brakes in my car which are drum brakes. There is no rubber hose in between the master cylinder and the drum brakes - just a long, metal brake line and during normal driving, the shoes are controlled by a cylinder in each of the drums which will push the shoes against the drum when the brake is applied and retract the shoes when the pedal is depressed.  The e-brake is operated by a cable and was actuated at the time of the accident and was still engaged when I arrived at their yard to retrieve my car and during the tow in question.  The shoes were superheated and reeked upon arrival to the destination and like I stated before, the HOT brake fluid was cycled through the master cylinder when I had to pump the brakes to get them to respond enough so when I backed my car up, they would work enough to stop my car.  All that there is between the rear drum brakes and the master cylinder is metal brake lines, so the hot fluid had to travel through the metal lines to the master cylinder before the fluid would mix and cycle through the system to the front brakes which *** ******* thinks this complaint involves - it does not.

When I called to file a complaint with Schmidts initially, the individual responsible for taking claims stated numerous times that their policy was that I had to bring my car in for them to inspect my car PRIOR to repairs being done and should they deem that they were responsible for the damage, I must have my car repaired at a local shop that they work with.  This alone is against the law, it is against the law for any business to require that I take my car to a repair shop designated by them in order for them to cover the repairs.  When I informed the individual that my car was at a repair facility being repaired, she stated that they could not guarantee that they would honor a request for reimbursement of the repairs made because they did not inspect the car first, but to bring in the bill at my earliest convenience for them to look at and possibly inspect my car themselves. I understand that Schmidts repairs their trucks on site, but they are not an automotive repair facility and I needed my car fixed asap as my brakes were weak and not working properly.  I understand that any business would like to see the damage they are accused of before it is repaired, but I had to have my car repaired as I depend on it to get around.  I made sure my mechanic documented the steps they took to fix the issue so Schmidts had something to go on to determine whether or not they were at fault for all or a portion of the repairs made to my car.  My mechanic is more than willing to speak with *** ******* about what had been done to my car and why. 

When I did go in to Schmidts to talk with them about my complaint, *** ******* initially acted as if he was going to inspect the car and proceeded to walk with me towards my car while I tried to explain what my complaint was about.  When I told him the repairs were done already, he asked to see the bill and became somewhat irate when he saw the repair bill total.  He proceeded to read the notes written on the estimate and then stated that they would only be responsible for the shoes and since they were not replaced, he refused to pay for any of the repairs and walked away.  I got the same talk he wrote in his response to you and I discredited him because my complaint was about the REAR drum brakes, not the front and he became more upset.  As with most vehicles, it is the REAR brakes that make up the e-brake system, not the front.

I would be more than willing to meet with *** ******* again to discuss this in person at a time that works for both of us so he can re-assess what was done on my car and inspect my rear brakes if he wants which are still the originals-not replaced yet and he can still smell the distinct odor that brakes will emit once they have been superheated and confirm that the shoes are worn down.  I was asking Schmidts to consider reimbursing some of the bill if not all so I can replace the shoes as I could not afford to have them replaced at the time of the repair.  After reading his response, I believe *** ******* may have misunderstood my complaint and hope that this response clears it up for him as he is thinking of the front brake system and not the drum brakes which make up my complaint.  My car is a **** ***** ****** ** with rear drum brakes - he may think my car has rear disc brakes, but it does not. If he still disagrees, I encourage *** ******* to consult ALL DATA to verify my statement or look it up online.

Business Response: We stand by our response.  If the brake fluid go "so hot" as to melt the cylinder, the brake shoes/or pads would have been burnt off.  This is our

opinion as a certified mechanic, as well as the opinion of other certified mechanics we work with.   We are more than willing to pay for any damages that are caused as a result of a tow.  But we are also not going to take responsibility for peoples vehicles having pre- towing mechanical,body or any other issues. 

It's always easiest to blame the towing company. More specifically, I understand the thinking, that by us not removing the ER brake it seems more plausible.   However, that did not cause the damages being claimed. 

**** * *******

Consumer Response:

[A default letter is provided here which indicates your acceptance of the business's response.  If you wish, you may update it before sending it.]

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me. 


******** ********


While I accept their offer to re-evaluate my claim, I can assure Schmidt's that I am not one to go after a company that did not cause the damage being claimed.  My brakes had no issues prior to my car Vs Deer accident, then shmidts towed my car - twice and my brakes were not the same as I had left them.  My ASE certified mechanic assured me that replacing the brake shoes would NOT have fixed my issue and if I had schmidts do the repair as they proposed, I would still have mushy brakes.  The fact remains: I had left my car at the accident scene with the Ebrake on tight - the day I went to retrieve my car and inspect it to figure whether or not to pay to claim the car and repair it, I noted the e-brake was still up, but did not check the condition at their impound lot, but the car WAS towed with the e-brake applied from their lot to my friends house.  Steve claims I am asking him to pay for something that he should not be held responsible for, but towing my car TWICE with the e-brake fully engaged led to the damage to my brake system. They didn't bother the securely strap my car to the wheel lift and they are lucky my car did not come out of the lift during the tow.  I will state again - I had absolutely NO brake issues prior to the date of my accident with the deer.  I will be in touch with Steve in the coming day(s) to talk with him in a calm manner and see what his actual proposal is.  


Ted Zoromski

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.