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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 118273
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I bought a car for $500 in june of 2012 a saturn 2000, to fix

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I bought a car for $500 in june of 2012 a saturn 2000, to fix up for my daughter it was a lein sale. I immediately had it towed for repairs. Once they were done i paid over $1000 and was told more work was needed so i told them to let me know what needed to be done and i would decide wether or not to repair the rest at that time. I went to utah in june 2012 for a week and during that time got a phone call and since i was out of town we agreed to wait until i returned. When i returned i forgot after about a month i called and was told my paperwork was lost so they would locate it and call me back so ok i waited and as time went by i forgot until i recieved a time for service notice for that car that they still had. So i emailed them twice asking about the car and notice with no response. I now recieved a lein notice saying the repairs were completed in may of 2013 but i never was notified of my car being ready. The repair cost is $1289.81 but i never agreed for more work to be done. And storage charges of $2640.00 according to the lein work was done a year after i put car in there well if they would not have lost my paperwork i would have been done with them i was not told car was ready for work i did not agree to in may so what do i do i paid $500 plus $402 for registration, 1200 in repairs i did ask for now they want 1200 for repairs i did not ask for plus $2650 for storage that is not my fault i was to say screw the car but i am still liable for the charges right? What should i do?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If you tell them "screw the car" then they take the car for the charges and sell the car to cover them. If you do not want to pay for the car because the money due is more than the car is worth, then you need to call them and tell them you will sign over the papers to the car to them as payment in full on the lien and you will just walk away. This would stop them from doing a lien sale and then trying to come after you for whatever the sale did not cover, which they could theoretically do.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is that what you would do? I dont feel like this is my fault and i should not have to pay the storage fees. I know i am and already have paid more than its worth i bought it to fix it for my daughter i kinda still want to do that. Its also not my fault they lost the paperwork. I could have pucked up the car then. And the new charges for repairs i assume are new work done but it took them 9 months to complete. I know i forgot for part of that time but had they called me then i would have went in. I shouldnt have to call to find out if they are done with work i didnt ask them to do. I know its kind of dumb to want the car but i have already put a lot of money into it. I shouldnt have to pay for what is not my fault. Am i wrong?? What would you do in this situation. I dont want to take a loss if i dont have to.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Also if that is still your response then what if they still want money since they want more than it is worth?

How do i do this first time for me.
Thank you for your response.

What I would do would depend on the value of the car. If the car is not worth what they are asking, then I would negotiate with them to take the car for the bill and walk away.

No, you should not have to pay for storage because this was caused by their fault and not by your fault as you did not lose the paperwork and take a year to do the work, they did. As far as the actual work done, the fact the work was needed and it was done means if you were to get the car you would have the benefit of that work. Thus, I would first try to negotiate for paying just the $1200 and if they refuse, then if it were me and the money they want is more than the car is worth I would negotiate, as I said, to give them the title and walk away.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok so basically your telling me that i am liable to pay for the repairs even though i didnt ask for them. I dont agree but i can see why lol the work was done and it needs to be paid for. Regrdless. And your also saying why would i want to put more money into a car thats not worth it i should just accept the loss of what i put in so far. I dont want to but i see what your saying. Can you give me some idea of how i can negotate this i mean do i tell them i dont agree with them and try to ask if they will keep the car as payment of what i owe? If the car is not worth it for me with money i have already put into it why would it be for them? And how do i get them to agree with it? If they dont then what are my options? Sorry i have never done this before
Thank you for you response.

The legal theory in play here is called "quantum meruit" which is an equitable legal theory that means "for the work done" and the legal presumption is that if the work was needed and was done then the owner of the car gets the benefit of that work.

However, the storage fee is a whole other story. The storage was caused by their own fault and not your fault and as such you should not be liable for that under the equitable legal theory of equitable estoppel, which means where someone creates their own damage (them losing paperwork and not notifying you) that you should not be liable for something they created.

This is the argument you make with them when negotiating. They lost the paperwork and they failed to notify you when the vehicle work was done and as such you should not be liable for that, although you realize they did do work on the car and as such you would pay for the work done. In exchange for paying for the work done you need to tell them that their storage charges from their mistake is not your responsibility and should be waived.
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