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Tampa woman hired towing company (FL)

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"WARNING" This will make a professional towing company sick.


Tampa woman hired towing company to move 3,500-pound printing press and it broke


Elizabeth Hermann said the cost to repair is twice the $4,000 she paid to purchase it. But she can't get TIA Towing to give her their insurance information.


TAMPA, Fla. — Elizabeth Hermann practices a lost art. She manually operates an 1890 cast iron printing press to raise images or letters, a technique known as embossing.


Hermann mixes the paints by hand for one-of-a-kind prints, invitations and cards.


The work is rewarding but exhausting as each piece requires Hermann to pump heavy cast iron pedals. She spent years searching for an automated but rare Heidelberg printer that would allow her to produce hundreds of cards at a time.


Hermann finally found one for $4,000 and hired TIA Transport & Towing to move the machine from Citrus County to Tampa. She said the towing company's owner assured her he could do the job using his equipment to get the 3,500-pound press onto a flatbed truck.


Hermann showed ABC Action News a video she shot with her phone the day of the move. It shows a man using what looks like an automotive jack to get the giant press onto a pallet.


In the video, the machine is lying on its side. That's because Hermann started recording after the man from TIA Towing tipped it over the first time.


Minutes later the video shows the man's attempt to right the machine and put it on a pallet. But the press falls again. Hermann said the accident sheered off several parts of the printer.


In the video, the tow operator walks around the press for a few minutes before telling Hermann the job was impossible. Then he walks to his truck and drives away.


Hermann said she’s called the office multiple times, but TIA Towing has not provided its insurance information. The damage to the printer is estimated at $8,000.


“I just want to file an insurance claim, that is all," she said.


ABC Action News called TIA Towing, but they didn't return the call. Visits to the business during daytime hours found it locked up.


Florida does not regulate tow truck companies unless they repossess vehicles. The lack of oversight leaves consumers like Hermann with little recourse.


Florida Division of Consumer Services will mediate the case for her, and she can try small claims court. But even if she wins, there's no guarantee she will get the money she needs for the repairs.


RESOURCE LINK with News Video

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