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Stolen Car Towed

Having a dispute with a tenant or landlord? Rental Law discussion

Stolen Car Towed

Postby Mariel » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:27 pm

My 21 year old niece had her car stolen in Miami Florida a few days ago from a privet parking lot(as she was not using it, no insurance).  The police found the car in a river and had the tow company remove the car.  The towing company want to charge her $900.00.  She told them she does not have that kind of money and for them to keep the car, she will sign over the title to them and they said they would reduce the charge to $400.00, which she does not have.  They told her they could suspend her license, put a lien on the license, and send to collections.  Is this true that they can suspend your license or put a lien on it(whatever that means)? What is the worst that can happen and how should she try to handle?
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Stolen Car Towed

Postby Giuseppe » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:56 pm

well first of all, I am sorry to hear that her vehicle was stolen. But I am glad that they found it. Way to many vehicles never get found. Now I hate to say it, but the issue of insurance comes into play here a lot in this answer. Yes there are state minimum laws which require certain levels of insurance and it is the vehicle owners choice as to how much "FINANCIAL RISK" they are willing to take when it comes to insurance coverage. Now as to the charges, they do not seem unreasonable to me for a vehicle which was in a river, you have towing and storage fees, you will have winching - recovery of the vehicle from the river, and most likely fees for a diver to go "underwater and under the vehicle" to hook up chains or straps to get the vehicle back to dry land. Now as to dropping the fees and taking the title, well I can only assume that they have some expenses which they have to pay out, such as divers to name one. Now Florida is one state, where if the vehicle was ordered towed by law enforcement, and never picked up then the laws there do allow for the tow company to file papers with the state DMV for unpaid balances owed on towing and storage charges. This can result in the drivers license and or(not sure of second part) any other vehicle tags - registrations to be suspended. It is one way that tow companies are semi protected from losing money on tows. Yes they are private businesses and are at times regulated by the state on the rates they can charge. I am not sure if the rates there are contracted with the police department who ordered the tow and recovery. Now the "LIEN" is where the tow company files papers and notifies the last registered and any legal owners of the towing and storage charges. This also establishes a date where the vehicle will be sold for any amount they can get(vehicles which have been underwater have very little value as everything is TOAST)

If the vehicle is not picked up and is sold via lien sale for say $100.00 and the total towing, recovery, paperwork(administrative fees for the lien stuff) and storage come to say $1900.00, then your niece would have a balance due to the tow company of $1800.00. That would then be turned over to the collections people and they can go the suspend the license way. But if she does not do anything, then she can expect the collection actions and such to happen. And that does not go away till it is paid to the tow company. I get questions all the time from people who 5 or more years later have to go pay the fees to get their licenses back. Good luck and I hope this helps.
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