I just reread some of this thread...
The O/P spoke of folks clearly towing beyond the capacity of the tow vehicle... Several comments come to mind,
First of course is the "Folks doing stupid stuff" comments I and others have already made so I'll repeat them all by this sentence.
Next is this.
Customer to salesman: "Can my little C-10 (Or F-150) Pick up tow this.
Commercial on TV: shows small pickups towing increadable loads, Jet plane, Rail car, Ship (not boat, Ship).. Semi load of lumber, And so on
Salesman's reply: Sure no problem:
Fact. Pickup can NOT tow such a load.
Now.. If the customer has a Trail Hauler.. When the salesman says "no problem" he speaks the truth. Otherwise, DO NOT TRUST HIM.
(Trail Haulers are mini-Peterbuilt Semi Tractors and 40,000 (Counting the tractor) is about where they rate them. Higher in some cases). Folks with Trail Haulers simply do not ask if they can tow it.. They KNOW they can).
This is the major problem... Sales people (Including the truck maker's ad-campaigns) who really do not know they are encouraging death and destruction by overblowing what the truck can tow.
In my case I do it the other way around, Instead of towing 25,000 pounds of house with 2,500 pounds of vehicle (NOT going to happen) I tow 2,500 pounds of vehicle with 25,000 (Ok so I rounded) pounds of house. I can safely tow 4,000 per the scale.
Home is where I park it!