Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
HelloThis is Samuel.
Generally, your creditor has legal authority to seize your car as soon as you default on your loan. Once you are in default, your creditor may repossess your car at any time without prior notice and may come onto your property to do so. However, the creditor may not commit a “breach of the peace” by using physical force or threats of force. If this occurs, your creditor may be required to pay a penalty or compensate you for any harm done to you or your property.Regardless of whatever method is used to dispose of the repossessed vehicle, a creditor may not keep or sell any personal property found inside. This does not include most improvements made to the car, such as a stereo system or luggage rack. If your creditor cannot account for valuable articles left in your car, you may be entitled to compensation and you should consult an attorney.
I am getting you the Florida law on the fee aspect. Thanks for your patience.
Here is the LINK for the Florida law that permits the tow company to charge a fee for collection of personal property. If you think the fee is too high, you can pay the fee and then go to small claims court to argue the fee was too high and possibly have the court determine the same and you could get a fraction of it back - maybe.
I am sorry for your troubles and wish it was better news for you.
Here is what it says:(1) If personal effects or other property not covered by a security agreement are contained in or on a recovered vehicle, mobile home, motorboat, aircraft, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicle, farm equipment, or industrial equipment at the time it is recovered, a complete and accurate inventory shall be made of such personal effects or property. The date and time the inventory is made shall be indicated, and it shall be signed by the Class “E” or Class “EE” licensee who obtained the personal property. The inventory of the personal property and the records regarding any disposal of personal property shall be maintained for a period of 2 years in the permanent records of the licensed agency and shall be made available, upon demand, to an authorized representative of the department engaged in an official investigation.(2) Within 5 working days after the date of a repossession, the Class “E” or Class “EE” licensee shall give written notification to the debtor of the whereabouts of personal effects or other property inventoried pursuant to this section. At least 45 days prior to disposing of such personal effects or other property, the Class “E” or Class “EE” licensee shall, by United States Postal Service proof of mailing or certified mail, notify the debtor of the intent to dispose of said property. Should the debtor, or her or his lawful designee, appear to retrieve the personal property, prior to the date on which the Class “E” or Class “EE” licensee is allowed to dispose of the property, the licensee shall surrender the personal property to that individual upon payment of any reasonably incurred expenses for inventory and storage. If personal property is not claimed within 45 days of the notice of intent to dispose, the licensee may dispose of the personal property at her or his discretion, except that illegal items or contraband shall be surrendered to a law enforcement agency, and the licensee shall retain a receipt or other proof of surrender as part of the inventory and disposal records she or he maintains.(3) Vehicles used for the purpose of repossession by a Class “E” or Class “EE” licensee must be identified during repossession by the license number of the Class “R” agency only, local ordinances to the contrary notwithstanding. These vehicles are not “wreckers” as defined in s. 713.78. The license number must be displayed on both sides of the vehicle and must appear in lettering no less than 4 inches tall and in a color contrasting from that of the background.
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