What are my rights if an auto body shopis holding my car under a lien sale for work that they were never authorized to do?

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What are my rights if an auto body shopis holding my car under a lien sale for work that they were never authorized to do?

My insurance totaled out my car but the auto body shop said at first they told them to fix it but now the insurer wants to total it out. Suppossedly they did work to the car that they weren’t paid for so they are keeping the car under lein sale. My insurer said they never told them to start any work on the car. Can I sue them for this? I just want my car back.

Asked on September 29, 2010 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are caught between a rock and a hard place and you should not be.  And you need to make sure that you get some help here.  I would contact your state Attorney General's Office to start.  File a complaint against the body shop and tell them that they started repair work without prior authorization from your insurance company and are now holding the car hostage (they are really a bailor and are now holding the car against your rights).  Then I would call the State Department of Insurance and let them know that your car repair people said that they had prior authorization to start repair work, your insurer changed their mind and now wants to toal the car out and that you are being caught in the middle because there is money now owed which you can not pay. See what happens. If it doesn't work, seek legal help.  Good luck.


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