Can you please help me to free my car?
January 29, 2013 9:44 AM Subscribe
So my car is currently impounded at a private tow lot in New York City as it has been for the past 5 weeks. I only received notification from the police department by mail in the past few days.
When I called up to the tow lot this morning and spoke with the general manager, he informed me that my car has already racked up almost $1400 (!) in storage fees at $27/day. (The police document said only $17/day). He also said that he had sent a package to me on 1/26, but I still haven't received it yet.
posted by anonymous to law & government (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When I mentioned to him that I would like to receive the package first and then talk to him, he completely shut down and told me that this phone conversation was the only opportunity I'd have to talk with him about negotiating to get the car out of the impound lot. He told me that he would block my phone number and would no longer speak to me about the matter. He even threatened to send the bill to collections and have my drivers license suspended.
I decided not to give in and ended the call without a resolution to the dispute.
The thing is that I've been hospitalized over the majority of the past month and the direct preceding cause was that I had a manic episode in which I abandoned my car in New York City and a stranger escorted me home by subway to my Mom's home. The day I was admitted to the hospital was the day the car was recovered by the police and towed to the private impound lot. I was never able to recall which stop along the subway line I abandoned the vehicle in NYC and so I wasn't able to get any help from the police in regards to this matter. Before receiving this mailed notification from the police, I went to DMV and surrendered my plates electronically, called up my insurance to let them know about what happened, and acquired another car.
I want to do what's right and fair. But somehow I just don't feel responsible for this bill. I feel like I've done pretty much everything that a reasonable person can be expected to do in this situation.
I did call the NYC police impounds multiple times, but they didn't have the car. And how many private tow lots are there in NYC? For all I knew the car was lost or stolen. Then 5 weeks and a $1400 bill later, I finally get a mailed notification that my car was found? The plates were on the car... in the age of telephones, email, and fax, all they had to do was call up DMV to get the mailing address. I can understand that there might be a huge backlog of work at the police department, but what about the private towing lot? What's their excuse? Did they just want an easy way to screw a person out of their hard earned money? Do they just figure that NYC lawyers want $400/hr and that Legal-Aid won't touch it because automobile cases are considered "luxuries" compared to housing cases?
So, I'm looking for advice about what to do next. I have 5 possible options as far as I can tell.
1. Pay the bill and be done with it.
2. Not claim the car and suffer the consequences.
3. Try to negotiate with the general manager again.
4. Take the private impound lot to small claims court.
5. Put the story up on Reddit and see if it gets any media traction. I think this is might be the kind of story that the internet loves and it could go viral. It might put some pressure on the general manager to do the right thing.
The way I'm feeling right now, I'm inclined to go with a combination of options 4 and 5. But I'd like to be able to keep my anonymity if I can.
Can anyone please offer me some good advice about how to best execute on these options while keeping my goal of remaining anonymous in mind? In the meantime, my car is still in the private lot incurring $27/day charges until it gets auctioned off next month. Please help me to free my car!