If we are a buy-here/pay-here lot and sold a car that did not get insured and was then towed due to an accident, what are our rights since we paid the impound fee?

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If we are a buy-here/pay-here lot and sold a car that did not get insured and was then towed due to an accident, what are our rights since we paid the impound fee?

We sold a car the owner wrecked the car didn’t have any insurance at the time of wreck. We went and paid the impound lot the fee to get the car out. The owner has recently called wanting her personal property. Can we legally hold her personal property till she pays us back the impound fee? I know we will never get paid amount that she still owed on the car. The car is behind a fenced in area at the lot. I we can he personal property requesting impound fee how many days can we hold it for?

Asked on January 26, 2015 under Business Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You have *no* right to hold her personal property, even if she owes you money. Taking another's personal property is theft, and you could be arrested. If the purchaser owes you money, the way to get it legally is to sue her, not to holder her personal property hostage. Consider: suppose you failed to pay a plumber or electrician everything that was due--do you think that he or she could come to your house and take your bicycle out of your backyard or porch and hold it until you agreed to pay? Of course not--and similarly, you cannot hold this person's personal property.


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