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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I sold my vehicle to a buyer in a different state. He signed

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I sold my vehicle to a buyer in a different state. He signed a detailed Vehicle Sales Agreement agreeing to take possession of the vehicle on July 12. He sent a deposit, then full payment (cashier's check cleared 2 weeks ago), and took out insurance. I cancelled registration in New York. His transport company failed to provide on-time service last week and I sent him a letter offering free storage in my garage until today. He contracted with another company -- again they failed to show up. He has resisted flying in to take the vehicle back himself. According to the Sales Agreement, if the Vehicle wasn't picked up on the 12th, all risk and ownership transferred to the buyer. I sent him the title, bill of sale and lien release. He signed for and accepted it. However odd it is that someone would buy a luxury vehicle and not pick it up, I need access to my garage. The original Agreement was signed on June 30. Am I in my rights to have the vehicle towed off my property and impounded tomorrow? (i.e. once the 7 day grace period expires). It would be a private towing company that would charge the buyer for towing and storage. I don't think I'm being unreasonable, and I have complete documentation of our conversations and all documents sent back and forth. Thanks!


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

You're not being unreasonable. However, New York law states that a person may only tow a vehicle as abandoned if it has remained on private property without the consent of the owner for at least 96 hours. Since you agreed to allow him to store the vehicle through today (which technically means midnight tonight), the law would not allow you to have the vehicle towed as abandoned until an additional 96 hours pass. N.Y. Veh. & Traffic Laws, Section 1224.


Look at the contract to verify that you're not required to store the vehicle until it is picked up.

Also, if you let the buyer know your intent, he may change his mind about either flying out to pick up the vehicle or finding some other way to get it before that 96 hours expires. Flying out to get it would probably be cheaper than paying for towing + storage for an extended period (especially if he'd have to fly out to get it out of storage, anyway).

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One quick question -- what method do I need to use to notify him of my intent to tow after 96 hours? Is email ok, or do I need to mail or fax as well?

If all of your conversations thus far have been via email, email should be fine. You could also send a copy in the mail, just to be sure that he gets it. The statute doesn't say that you have to send notice via certified mail or anything like that, so you would only have to do that if it were in the contract (which it usually wouldn't be).
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