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Thursday, 14 February 2019 16:22

Emergency CAA Meeting on Storage & Towing Fees Experiences Record Attendance

Written by Victoria Antonelli
The Feb. 6 CAA meeting had 210 attendees, the highest number in the chapter’s history. The Feb. 6 CAA meeting had 210 attendees, the highest number in the chapter’s history.

Index

Gibson stated in his presentation that on Jan.1, three changes were made to vehicle code sections that govern towing and storage fees (10652.5, 22524.5, 22651.07):

 

1. Insurance companies are obligated to allow consumers’ repair facility of choice.


2. Insurance companies are permitted to inspect stored vehicles at no charge.


3. Storage rates must be reasonable.

 

According to Gibson, a towing and storing charge is reasonable for an auto body shop “if it is comparable to storage-related rates and fees charged by other facilities in the same locale. This does not preclude a rate or fee that is higher or lower if it is otherwise reasonable.”

 

The following fees are considered “unreasonable,” according to the new BAR regulations:

 

• Administrative or filing fees, except those incurred related to documentation from the DMV and those related to the lien sale of a vehicle


• Security fees


• Dolly fees


• Load and unload fees


• Pull-out fees


• Gate fees, except when the owner or insurer of the vehicle requests that the vehicle be released outside of regular business hours

 

Gibson also clarified the difference between a “lien” and “lien sale” in his presentation.


A “lien” is a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged. A “lien sale” is a sale of a consumer’s vehicle to satisfy an unpaid repair or storage debt.

 

According to Gibson, civil code section 3068 defines when a lien arises in an automotive repair transaction. It also describes the necessary steps when filing for authorization to conduct a lien sale.

 

For a facility to be authorized to conduct a lien sale, it must:

 

• Obtain the consumer’s authorization to perform repairs


• Complete the contracted repairs or teardown


• Provide the consumer with an invoice of the completed repairs


• File with DMV for authorization to conduct a lien sale within 30 days after the repairs are completed

 

The lien limits specified in 3068 (c) are:

 

• $1,500 for repairs (unless prior authorization is obtained from the legal owner or lessor)


• $1,025 for storage


• $1,250 for storage (at the request of any person other than the legal owner)


• $1,750 in attorney’s fees (if applicable)

 

This section of civil code 3068 does not apply to insurance companies in any way. The above limits are for the legal owner of the vehicle as defined by the DMV, not the registered owner or an insurance company.

 

Guinn concluded the meeting around 9 p.m. Questions or concerns can be sent to Gibson at mathew.gibson@dca.ca.gov or 916-403-8060.


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