Can an auto shops refuse to release your car if they call it unsafe and the shop did not replace or do anything to the vehicle?

Asked on December 2, 2015 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot: refusing to return your property is a form of theft (e.g. "conversion", or keeping another's property which was only entrusted to your care). Try contacting the police, who should help you; if they won't (the police sometimes refus to get involved if they--even incorrectly--think of the matter as a civil dispute), you can file a lawsuit for your car's return. You can get instructions and forms from the clerk's office at your county court.

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