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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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With FL Vehicle Titles and Liens, a Title/Lien company is a

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With FL Vehicle Titles and Liens, a Title/Lien company is a Licensed and bonded auctioneer, presumably for providing auction services on Lien vehicles placed for sale, so my question is: Does the Title/Lien company have any fiduciary or other responsibilities beyond the Notice Of Lien requirements dictated by FL Statute 713.585 or any other aspects governing their licenses and operation to be honest?

Thank you for your new question and for asking for me.

The only duty on the company auctioning the car is to insure the steps in FS 713.585 are followed. They have to verify each step was followed or they have to do them themselves. The company has no duty or responsibility beyond the statute itself. If they follow the statute they are covered from liability.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I guess from your answer that the Lien company has no responsibility to notify an owner by any other means, such as phone, fax, or email, of a lien being placed, if they have received the official notice of lien Returned Unclaimed from the USPS, even if they have all this information?

Thank you for your response.

I am afraid that is correct. If they have fulfilled what the statute states, their legal obligations have been satisfied.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Paul, I'll come back and catch up on each of these volleys, but let me ask two things:

(1) Is there no oversight body as part of the auctioneer's licensing in FL, where their veracity is subject to review if a complaint is filed, and

(2) If an official complaint is filed with the FL DMV Title Fraud division for a vehicle has been Lien and sold at auction, which is closed and controlled so the lien party acquires the vehicle, gets a new title, sells it far beyond the original lien claim and keeps the money -- and the Title Company presents erroneous information about the original owner, is not those embellished or erroneous statements to DMV potentially liable for the Lien company?

Thank you for your follow up.

The DMV oversees these sales. However, the auctioneer must have a license from the FL Department of Business and Professional Regulation as well as they must have a license from Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV).

If the party that placed the lien did so wrongly, then that is the party who is liable to you, not the auction company who followed the state statute. So if you had someone falsify a lien and get your car sold, that is the party who is liable.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

At the risk of sounding anal, I agree with you, I understand your explanation, and if anything I think it is the way the statute is written to promote huge loopholes for abusing this process, HOWEVER, during the ensuing investigation by the Title Fraud Division, the Lien company made erroneous statements they knew, or should have known were not true, that tainted and prejudiced the owner from returning the Title back to the owner.

Can't the Lien company be held accountable in some measure for their contribution of giving false testimony, especially when they profited from it?

The problem is that many people who end up with these liens on their cars do whatever they can to avoid any notices, including service of lawsuits. This is why the law requires only specific notice procedures that the legislature found would be reasonable.

If you can prove the lien company actually lied, the lien company is the one liable, not the auction company. Fraud, even if they followed the statue is grounds to pursue them. You are not pursuing them for not giving notice but for committing fraud.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think you understand this, but the Lien company IS the auction company; it was the Body shop that placed the lien, using the Lien company.

Fraud is what has been alleged against the Title/Lien company, AND the same action for Civil Theft against the body shop, both of which have already survived Motions to Dismiss and Limine, and are well into discovery at this point.

This was a $70K BMW (paid for), with a $4K repair bill. There was no intent to avoid notice; but there was willful intent by them to avoid giving the owner notice, because the owner was in constant communication. (I know this is all moot, here, but just wanted to clarify FYI.)

As usual, thanks.

Right. However, even if the lien/auction company followed the law, that does not give them the right to commit fraud. That is a whole different question or situation from the following of the statute or even fiduciary duty (as they do not really have a fiduciary duty to you).

Your issue is that they committed fraud and fraud is the grounds to hold them liable for the improper auction of the vehicle.
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