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TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4266
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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My motorcycle was towed and I paid the fees to the towing company and received my vehicle.

Resolved Question:

My motorcycle was towed and I paid the fees to the towing company and received my vehicle. About 2 weeks later they put a lien on my bike. The bike was in storage 0 days and they agreed on the receipt that no storage charges would be incurred.Now they want $716 as an amnesty offer. How do I contest this lien in Calif.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 2 years ago.

Zachary D. Norris :

Hi,

Zachary D. Norris :

\

Zachary D. Norris :

I'd be happy to help you with this question.

Zachary D. Norris :

Before I begin my research however, I need you to answer a few questions. I'll wait a few minutes for you to respond.

Customer:

sure i'm ready

Zachary D. Norris :

Great\

Zachary D. Norris :

Did you sign or receive any sort of documentation from the tow company?

Customer:

I have a receipt showing payment of $366. I picked it up the same day it was towed & the towing company shows NC for storage. I thought I was paid in full

Customer:

I recently received a letter from the towing company saying they put a lien on the bike. i INTEND TO FILL OUT THE DECLARATION OF OP[POSITION

Zachary D. Norris :

On the receipt, is there any indication of the charges for the services provided?

Zachary D. Norris :

ON what date is the letter dated and how long after you made the payment did you receive the letter?

Customer:

towing charge $258.40, mileage charge $107.92, storage N/C

Zachary D. Norris :

And in the lien letter, did they put any indication of what the additional charges were for?

Customer:

I paid 366.36 on 5/11 which is the receipt date. The date the letter was issued is 5/15 which is the date"owner billed for services" I can scan these documents and email them

Zachary D. Norris :

Unfortunately, we cannot give out our personal email addresses on this forum.

Zachary D. Norris :

Last thing before I can answer.

Zachary D. Norris :

Do you have possession of the bike?\

Customer:

It looks like they are now trying to bill me $250 for "storage to date" eventhough it was there <8hours. 366.32 for towing, 70 for lien sale

Customer:

yes i have possesion of the bike

Zachary D. Norris :

OK, and just so we are clear. Where did they two the bike to (their shop, a tow lot,???) and did they perform any sort of mechanical work on the bike?

Zachary D. Norris :

sorry...two=tow

Customer:

yes their impound lot, and no work was done other than the loading/unloading for the tow

Customer:

I have the CHP report to authorizing relaes of the vehicle

Zachary D. Norris :

Ok. How long did it sit in the impound lot|?

Customer:

less than 8 hours

Customer:

I picked it up before they closed the same day they towed it

Zachary D. Norris :

And did you pay them after picking it up, or before they towed it?

Customer:

after they towed it, and unloaded it at the impound lot. When I got off work around 3:30 pm I went and recovered the vehicle. It was towed at 8:00 am the same day

Zachary D. Norris :

Thank you. Based on what you've told me and my cursory reading of the California Lien on Vehicles statute, I do not believe that the tow company has a valid lien.

Zachary D. Norris :

I want to give you a more thorough answer though

Zachary D. Norris :

And this will take some time reading.

Zachary D. Norris :

So, I'm going to switch us into the Q & A format.

Customer:

Thank you. I want to contest the lien

Zachary D. Norris :

This will allow you to step away from the computer and not have to monitor the chat

Zachary D. Norris :

I'll give you information on contesting the lien that I can find in the statute.

Zachary D. Norris :

I'm switching to the different format now. Please check back in about 20-30 minutes for a more detailed answer.

Zachary D. Norris :

Thanks

Customer:

Also can I counter with something along the lines of a beligerant litigant?

Expert:  TexLaw replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for waiting. I find it interesting that they believe that they are attempting to obtain a lien when they no longer have possession of the bike. In California, a lien sale can only occur if the lien holder has actual possession of the bike. In fact, the statutes states that the lien is dependent upon possession. Thus, if they don't have possession, they don't have a lien.

That being said, this means you are not in any sort of imminent danger of losing your vehicle to a lien sale. Something about this situation makes me think that the two company is confused about the motorcycle they are trying to get a lien on. I say that because it is pointless to send you the Notice of Lien Sale form you mentioned above if they don't actually have possession of the bike.

I've looked up the Notice of Lien Sale form and see the spot you fill out to provide notice of your opposition. Go ahead and provide the information requested and sign it. This will show your opposition.

I would send a letter to the tow company, explaining that California Civil Code Section 3068.1 states that there is no lien on your vehicle because you have possession of the vehicle and removed it from the lot after they towed it there on the same day. State that you dispute the amount charged by them, as you have already paid them for their services for towing, and they informed you that there would be no charge for storage of the bike, as it was picked up on the same day and they did not charge you for storage when you picked it up. Tell them that they have no right to file a lien and that you owe them no money for the prices they incurred in doing that. Along with the letter, send copies of the receipt.

In the long run, they may have a valid claim for a storage fee of less than 8 hours, although $250 sounds insanely high. Please let me know if this answers your questions.
-Zach
Expert:  TexLaw replied 2 years ago.
I just saw that you also asked about "belligerent litigant" otherwise known as a malicious prosecution claim.

At this point, the tow company has not actually started litigation proceedings. It is simply going through the sumXXXXX XXXXXen foreclosure proceeding (which will fail). If they should actually take you to court, then you would simply counter-sue for malicious prosecution, fraud and breach of contract and request any attorneys fees or damages that result from it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Zach,

I am in the process of filling out my declaration of opposition on what I believe is the DMV's form 668. Is now the appropriate time for me to include documentation of why I'm opposing the lien? Also, should I send this response certified mail to the DMVlien sale unit?

Expert:  TexLaw replied 2 years ago.
Hi, You do not need to include any information with Form 668 to go to the DMV. It acts automatically. Sending it by certified mail is not a bad idea though and gives you record of when it is received by DMV. You need to make a copy of Form 668 and send it to the tow company along with your documentation and a certified letter explaining that California Civil Code Section 3068.1 states that there is no lien on your vehicle because you have possession of the vehicle and removed it from the lot after they towed it there on the same day. State that you dispute the amount charged by them, as you have already paid them for their services for towing, and they informed you that there would be no charge for storage of the bike, as it was picked up on the same day and they did not charge you for storage when you picked it up. Tell them that they have no right to file a lien and that you owe them no money for the prices they incurred in doing that. Along with the letter, send copies of the receipt.
If you are satisfied with my work, please signify so by clicking "Accept" so I may get credit for the work performed. After doing so, this thread will remain open for follow up questions if you have them.
Best of Luck,
Zach
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4266
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs