We are a garage in Scotland. 2.5 years ago the keys were left in a customers vehicle and it was stolen from outside the premises.From day one we have admitted liability for the keys being left in the vehicle and immeadiately offered the customer the worth of the car.They refused and handed it to their insurance company in England,Acromas.Acromas without an engineers report (just a phone call to the owner) valued the car and came up with a figure for us to pay.The figure was based on a petrol type car having done 85000 miles in mint condition with the price based on this vehicle being sold in North Yorkshire,which they stated was local to the Outer Hebrides where this happened.The car was actually a diesel having done over 135000 miles as said in the Outer Hebrides it was in poor to fair condition having been previously in an accident and used on the beach etc.We refused to pay the ammount they were asking for but made it clear we would pay the worth of the vehicle.Acromas changed the amount they wanted for the vehicle 3 times during the 2 years.We questioned this and never got an answer.This dragged on for 2 years with Acromas taking between 3-6 months to answer our letters (all copies kept,all our letters sent recorded).Acromas has now called in solicitors in Scotland who wrote to us saying Acromas would accept what we thought the car was worth as long as we paid the recovery and storage charges which ammount to £1400 approx.We agreed to pay the price of the car but not the charges and sent a cheque for the cars worth.The vehicle was ordered to be recovered by the Northern Constabulary for forensics etc and kept in storage until the Procator Fiscal gave permission for it to be released.This ammounted to almost 3 months in storage.Acromas then had the car moved down to England for breaking up.A conviction was made.Are we liable for the cost of storage and recovery?It was never mentioned in 2 years of correspondence until the solicitors got involved,is this aloud?Legislation allows the Police and persons acting on their behalf, to recover vehicles and charge the owner for removal and storage. However the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 states that a vehicle owner is not responsible for the cost of recovery or storage if: - (a) the owner of the vehicle at the time when it was put in the place from which it was removed was not concerned in, and did not know of, its being put there;(b) was not the person by whom the vehicle was put in that place;(c) was not convicted of an offence under section 2(1) of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 in consequence of the putting of the vehicle in that place.Does this help or is it not relavant?As we have paid the worth of the car does this make us the owners of the car?Are we liable for these charges?Is it normal to keep a car so long in storage for a theft and can we claim against this?The theif was caught and charged within a month of the incident.Thank you for your imput and assistance on this.
Province/Country relating to question : scotland
continious correspondence for 2.5 years
Thank you for your question.1. The 1984 is not relevant here. The vehicle was impounded by order of the PF as evidence of a crime. If was not removed from a place and put into storage. I question whether the police can charge storage at all but you should resist the storage charges. The cost of moving the vehicle after release from storage would be a valid head of claim.2. You are paying compensation for the owner's loss of the car. That does not automatically entitle you to the salvage. What you should do, however, is that as they have the salvage the correct measure of loss is the pre incident value of the vehicle less the retained salvage value.3. Normally a car would be released by the PF once forensic examination had been concluded unless the car formed part of a serious crime scene in which case it would be kept longer in the event that a defence examination was required,I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
27 years as a practising solicitor.
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