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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116715
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I own a small repair shop. My customer

Customer Question

Hi, my Name is Alex i own a small repair shop. My customer have no money to pay me for repair done on his car. hE TOLD ME that i can keep trhe car ifr he dont pay me at the date he promised to pay. After that date i tried to contact him by phone he is not answering or maybe phone number changed. Anyway car sitting here at my garage and what step i should take to collect my money? Thanx.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If he has not paid for work and you still have the car, you have a "possessory lien" or a "mechanic's lien" on the car and should not release it until paid in full. You do need to send an actual letter to the customer certified with return receipt requested. If the owner does not respond, then you will have to go through the process with DMV of exercising your right to your mechanic's lien and they will put the title in your name if you want the car to sell.
If you do not want the car, you would need to sue the owner in small claims court, where you do not need an attorney, and you can have him brought into court and ordered to pay you.
Those are your legal options.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes customer not answering my phone calls. What proof i need that owner does not respond?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I went to DMW they told me i need to sent customer a letter with invoice and wait untill he responds. What if he gets the letter but does not respond back to me what i should do then?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
As I told you above and DMV has now confirmed, you need to send a letter giving the customer 30 days to pay and retrieve his vehicle. You send it regular mail and also certified with return receipt. If the customer does not respond to the letter in 30 days, you have to file a petition to quiet title in the court with proof you sent notices and a bill demanding payment and gave him 30 days to pay. The court would then issue an order granting you ownership of the vehicle and then you take that order to DMV and they will issue the title.
All you need to prove is you sent the letter, if he does not respond that is not your problem and the court will order title be placed into your name.

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