Towing and Repossessions

What can I do if...

My vehicle was repossessed; they want $100 to let me have my personal items I left in the vehicle?
Florida Statute §493.6404(2) states that the repossession company “. . . shall surrender the personal property . . . upon payment of any reasonably incurred expenses . . .”  You will need to pay whatever amount is being requested, and then file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court to recover the amount you feel you paid that was excessive. A judge will determine whether the amount you were charged was “reasonable.”

I need my registration to recover my vehicle; it’s in the glove box, but the tow company says it isn’t?
When a tow company refuses to provide to you any of the personal property in the towed vehicle (which includes your vehicle registration), you should contact the local police department for assistance. However, if the tow company is unable to locate your vehicle registration, you should contact the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles at 954-969-4216 to obtain a duplicate certificate of registration in order to recover your vehicle and avoid additional storage charges.

The tow company is demanding $200 to release my vehicle, but I don’t have that much money?
The longer your vehicle remains in the tow company’s possession, the more they can legally charge you for the time your vehicle is in storage. If you simply abandon your vehicle to the tow company, they will eventually sell your vehicle and apply the proceeds received from the sale against your unpaid bill. However, if a balance due remains, a lien will be placed against your driver’s license, and you will have to satisfy that lien in order to renew your driver’s license or register another vehicle. Therefore, it is important that you recover your vehicle from the tow company as quickly as possible. 

The tow company is demanding $150 to release my vehicle and I know they are overcharging me?
In the event a tow company demands an amount greater than is permitted by Broward County ordinance for a non-consent tow from private property, you should pay the bill in order to recover your vehicle quickly and avoid additional storage charges.  You should then file a complaint with us to recover any overcharge. Be sure you obtain a detailed, signed receipt from the tow company which shows the time the vehicle was towed, the time the vehicle was recovered by you, the amount paid to recover the vehicle, and a listing of each amount charged for towing, storage, Tavis report, and any other service performed with a description of that service. Florida Statute §715.07(2)(a)(9) and Broward County Code of Ordinances Sec. 20-176.21 require the tow company to provide you with such a receipt; if they refuse, contact the local police department for assistance.

My vehicle was towed on Friday night; the tow company says I can’t recover it until Monday?
You should go to the tow yard’s location. Once there, if it is not open and either (a) the tow company has advised you it will not open up the yard, or (b) you have been unable to contact the tow company, you should call the local police department and request that an officer respond to your location. You should then advise the officer of the situation and that the failure to open the tow yard is a felony under Florida Statute §715.07(5)(b). When you recover your vehicle you should be given the detailed receipt described above.  You should contact the police department which assisted you in order to obtain a copy of the police report documenting that the tow yard was not opened within one hour of being contacted. You should then file a complaint with Consumer Protection regarding the tow yard’s failure to open as required by law.   

My rental community had my vehicle towed despite it being parked in an authorized parking spot?
You should recover your vehicle as soon as possible, and then file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court against your rental community to obtain the court’s determination as to the legality of the tow and to seek recovery of any towing charges you paid.

There were no signs indicating the location where I parked was a tow away zone?
You should recover your vehicle as soon as possible, and then contact the local police department in order to document with a police report the fact that there were no tow away zone signs posted. You should then file a complaint with us regarding the tow company’s failure to post the required tow away zone signs.

Consumer Resources

Broward County Consumer Protection Code: Towing
Consumer Complaint Forms
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Federal Trade Commission
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Florida Division of Consumer Services
Florida State Statutes
Towing Fees​ 

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