If a towing/auction company impounded my car but my notice of this was delayed, am I responsible for additional storage fees?

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If a towing/auction company impounded my car but my notice of this was delayed, am I responsible for additional storage fees?

A fee of $50 per day would apply. I never got this letter. They sent out a second notice via certified mail (which I received) saying that my failure to claim the vehicle now meant that 5 days worth of fees would now apply. I called and explained that I never received the first notice, but they still demanded the fee. Then 2 days later, their first notice showed up in my mailbox mutilated, with a stamp across the front saying “DELAYED DUE TO MISDELIVERY – SAN FRANCISCO, CA”. The company insists this is irrelevant and that I still must pay a weeks worth of fees that I didn’t receive proper notice of.

Asked on August 1, 2011 Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Most likely the towing company's position about what you owe is correct in that it placed the notice in the United States mail addressed to you twice where you received the second notice advsing you of the car's impoundment.

Under the mail box rule, if mail is placed in the United States' mail correctly addressed to the recipient with postage pre-paid, it is presumed that the mail is received by its recipeint if it is never returned to the person sending it.

Unfortunately the towing company has the upper hand against you. It has your vehicle and you probably want it back. Getting it back comes with a price that is higher than what it should be had you received the first mailing of its impoundment.

Good luck.


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