Illinois’ largely unregulated towing industry leaves some customers angry and upset after being left behind for unexpected bills.

20-year-old student Ellie Frobish was charged almost $4,000 to have her car towed out of a ditch it landed in during a snowstorm.

“My friends are like, ‘You got scammed by a pretty girl,'” she said.

The invoice included a “recovery item-based surcharge” of $1,800 and a fuel surcharge of $724.

Ellie’s father, Eric Frobish, an attorney, attempted to intervene by calling the towing company.

“He basically told me in no uncertain terms, ‘It’s going to happen in a couple of ways: either you pay for this towing, or we’re going to keep your car in storage and rack up more charges until we own your car’ , did he declare.

The total towing cost approached the value of Ellie Frobish’s 11-year-old Ford Taurus.

But Ellie Frobish’s experience wasn’t nearly as costly as Kamayi Denis’ encounter with the same commuter towing company. He was charged $23,188 for pulling his pickup truck and cargo carrier out of a ditch along I-55. By the time he was done arguing with the towing company and the insurance company, the storage charges were added, which sent the bill skyrocketing past $39,000.

“I want them to be responsible for the harm they do to people,” Denis said.

WGN Investigates found that despite more than 100 reports to police and dozens of complaints filed against the company with the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Attorney General, and Better Business Bureau since January 2021, regulators can’t do much.