Derek Carr has been a tow truck operator for more than a decade and has seen almost everything.

What he never expected was to see tensions between the insurance and towing industries get this high.

“It goes to court and unfortunately it's the customer that owns the car that ends up just sitting there going what's going on with my car?” says Carr.

So Carr decided to start up his own company – Phoenix Towing – less than a year ago. The difference in his approach: he set his prices based on insurance company feedback and has a set rate list that anyone can see.

“There are certain ways I conduct myself and you'd expect people to be professional in their job and sometimes that's not the case,” he says.

Carr says he would often see other operators overcharge for a job.

Ottawa police say even if they call a tow truck for you it is not regulated under their contracted rates.

“This is solely for vehicles that are taken in to police custody. The officers are well aware that contract does not extend to the regular public,” says Sgt. John Kiss.

Kiss says anyone involved in a collision has the right to use their preferred towing company.

If a vehicle is impeding traffic, police can order the vehicle removed to the side of the road at the owner’s expense. But that doesn’t mean that tow truck has to take the vehicle to the body shop as well. Kiss says at that point the vehicle owner needs to call their insurance company and ask about their preferred towing company and have them take over the job if needed.

“Your consumer rights aren't suspended just because you've been in a collision,” says Kiss.

The Ontario government has formed a towing advisory committee which will recommend some industry guidelines. Any kind of standardized rates is unlikely.

With a report from CTV’s John Hua.