Pittsburgh tow truck driver accused of charging 27 customers nearly $300K for short-trip tows

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh-based tow truck operator is facing charges after he allegedly inflated costs for over two dozen customers.

Vincent G. Fannick, 56, owns Vince’s Towing and is charged with 27 counts of insurance fraud, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and securing execution of documents by deception.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said Fannick inflated tow costs by charging “accident services” fees along with other deceptive practices, including charging customers’ insurance companies with exorbitant tow costs by initially not revealing prices on invoices.

The “accident services” fees cost the 27 victims more than $100,000, the attorney general’s office said.

“This defendant allegedly preyed on consumers already in stressful situations, first by hiding costs when asking for invoice signatures, then by inflating prices for short tow jobs,” Attorney General Henry said. “Predatory, deceptive business practices will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth, and business owners who harm consumers to line their pockets will be held accountable.”

Channel 11 Chief Investigator Rick Earle first looked into issues of overcharging at Vince’s as far back as 2021.

We spoke to one man who says he had issues with Vince’s that same year.

“He scammed us out of a lot of money and made us go through heck,” Hunter Sessi said. “Then, our auto repair company went to pick the car up and Vince was holding the car for $10,000 or so for a tow that was under a mile.”

A customer reported the crime in 2023 by alerting authorities that their insurance company was charged $11,390 by Vince’s Towing for a short-trip tow the vehicle owner did not request. Of the total, $4,250 was an “accident services” fee.

Officials learned that 26 other customers were victims of the scam between February 2023 and February 2024. Vehicle owners’ insurance companies were charged between $9,460 and $13,105 for single, short-trip tows. In one case, Fannick charged $9,805 for towing a vehicle one-third of a mile, the attorney general’s office said.

We did reach out to Fannick at his business phone number but no one answered or returned our calls.

Fannick’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 3.

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