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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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I was getting my care repaired and repainted by this independent

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I was getting my care repaired and repainted by this independent guy. He moved his business to another location as a tenant in another body shop. I found out later that he leaves and owes the owner of the body shop rental and storage fees. I found this out when the shop calls me and tells me he put a lien on my car. After several long discussions letting him know I was not aware of any issues I was just waiting on my car to get repaired and painted he insisted that I owe him $3600 of storage fees that the his former tenant should have paid. He will not release my car until I pay at least half the fees (1800) that I do not have. He already called my insurance once to say he was getting the title of my car and selling it. I put a stop to that but he holding my car. Is this legal to charge me storage fees that I never agreed to?


Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Why did this man hold your vehicle so long? How long did he have possession of it? Did he perform the work agreed to? How much did you agree to pay him for that?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The repairer/painter moved to his body shop while he had my vehicle, I was still waiting on it to get fixed and painted and all the while he was gone and my car was sitting there. he had my car since July 2012 but moved to the owner shop in November 2012 till present. The repairer/painter did not do anything but gave me excuses of it was told cold to paint the car. That's why I waited till the beginning of the year to ask what's going on. My insurance paid this guy to fix and paint my car, I never dealt with the owner until I got a letter in the mail stating my car had a lien on it. That's when I got involved and found out the situation and how much the guy owes on storage fees. I told him I would pay half of the fees if I owed it but I feel i do not owe anything because I did not agree to get it stored. Half of the fee is 1800. He sent me a bill for $3690 for storage that is prior tenant left my car there for.

Hello again and thank you so much for the additional information.

Because the delay in repainting and repairing your vehicle appears to be the fault of the business owner, you would NOT typically owe him anything for storage. In fact, he appears to be in breach of contract since he has not fulfilled his obligations to repair and repaint the vehicle as agreed, yet he has been paid for that.

If you have any reason to believe he never intended to fulfill his obligations to you, that could support a cause of action for insurance fraud as well since he accepted the funds from the insurer and never intended to do the work as agreed.

If you contact your insurer, they may be able to help you resolve this. Or filing a complaint with the BBB may compel him to release the vehicle to you as well if he wishes to protect his reputation.

If these options do not resolve the matter, then it may be necessary to retain an attorney to communicate a demand to the owner, or file suit against him in small claims court for the value of your vehicle, since it appears he is wrongfully withholding it from you.

You could also file a police report alleging theft of the vehicle. That may aid you, but the prosecutor will not likely pursue criminal charges since this does appear to involve a civil matter.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I still have one more question. If the repaire/painter was an independent person renting a space in that body shop, got paid but left my vehicle there and did not do the work, do I owe the owner storage fees can I proceed in the what you said in your last email and take the owner to smalls claim court.

Hello again,

Since there was no agreement by you to pay for storage to the owner, and no relationship between you and the owner at all, they would normally be required to seek payment from the business owner with whom they had a contract, not you, an innocent third party.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If my car is damaged from the shop owner who holding my car, when I file my civil suit can I file for the value of my car? As of right now I do not know the staus of my car.

Hello again,

Yes, I would typically sue for the value of the vehicle since you do not have possession of it and the shop owner appears to be wrongfully withholding it from you. If you later obtain possession and your damages are reduced, then you can typically request the court enter judgment for the lower amount rather than the entire cost of the vehicle.