charged for brother’s towing bill
April of this year I bought a new car and gave my old car to my father. He then gave the car to my brother. For this transaction I signed the title and registration and gave it to my father. He then gave the car to my brother without submitting the title or registration to the DMV. So, the car remained in my name without my knowledge.
On July 28th the car was towed and impounded at a towing company. My brother was able to locate the towed car and was informed he had a $300+ bill that he could not pay – he then abondoned the car there. A $30 daily storage fee has accumulated since. On September 28th a bill was sent to me at my old address – this was the first and only attempt that the towing Co. made to contact me. I have recently moved and just recieved the bill today. The current charges stand at $2600.
I have talked to my brother and he has lost the title. I believe, though, that I can get him to sign a bill of sale.
Will a bill of sale transfer responsibility to my brother? I want to stop the $30/day fee, what is the best way to do this? Is the towing company entitled to the entire amount of the bill even though they have made little effort to contact anyone?
Thank you for your help,
Re: charged for brother’s towing bill
Your story is the classic example of why it is so critically important to fill out and submit a Seller’s Report of Sale. That’s why the car is still titled in your name. I know this does not seem fair, but the towing company is not required to make any extraordinary efforts to figure out how to reach you, and if they made a valid tow, they are entitled to be paid for the towing/storage bill, and they get to rely on the DMV’s record of the car’s ownership to send the bill. Your options are to pay the bill yourself and sue your father and your brother in small claims court to recoup your outlay (which will probably not work because you as the first seller should have reported the sale) and besides, suing your family is ugly. You could alternatively talk to your father and your brother and explain what a headache this has caused and ask them to help you pay the bill. My one optimistic thought is that if when the car was towed there was no notice (sign posted or warning) that the car was going to be taken, you *might* be able to contest the tow. If it was towed from private property,with no notice you might have a chance to prevail against the towing company for a wrongful tow. The towing company office will have signs posted, or part of their written contract explaining how to contest a tow – follow the directions. I wish you good luck but not terribly optimistically – Powell
ELizabeth Powell PS Inc
535 Dock Street, Suite 108
Tacoma, WA 98402