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Author: Subject: Claiming ownership
rdodger

posted on 7/5/19 at 11:32 AM Reply With Quote
Claiming ownership

I need to tap into the knowledge of my fellow LCB's please.

A friend of mine has been building a kit car on and off for the last 7 years for a customer. Mostly off rather than on as after the first year or so the customer went very quiet and despite several conversations over the years hasn't stumped up money to finish it. The car is 75% finished and is rolling.

My friend now wants to wind up the business and for the first time in 2 years managed to speak to his customer and agreed with him he would collect the car and pay a modest storage charge. The customer has failed to collect on 3 separate occasions and is now not returning calls.

What is the legal position on this? Can my friend claim the car as abandoned and flog it on ebay to recover storage costs? The car in question has quite a high value but after 7 years of storage can he just claim it?

Thanks.

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Sam_68

posted on 7/5/19 at 11:57 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rdodger
...for the first time in 2 years managed to speak to his customer and agreed with him he would collect the car and pay a modest storage charge. The customer has failed to collect on 3 separate occasions and is now not returning calls.

What is the legal position on this? Can my friend claim the car as abandoned and flog it on ebay to recover storage costs? The car in question has quite a high value but after 7 years of storage can he just claim it?



If he has already agreed a 'modest' storage charge, I would think it's fairly dodgy to suddenly increase that as a justification for selling the car to recover costs.

In the first instance, surely he needs to invoice the customer, whilst at the same time giving them reasonable written warning that if it is not removed from his premises by a certain date, XZY will happen?

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russbost

posted on 7/5/19 at 12:17 PM Reply With Quote
Are there invoiced charges owing on top of the storage, or has the customer paid for work done so far. Has anything been put in writing re storage previously & has the customer been asked in previous years to collect the car etc

As Sam says, if a "modest charge" has already been agreed re storage & nothing else is owing then I would suggest claiming ownership of a 75% finished fairly expensive car really doesn't sound reasonable, however, if he puts in writing to the customer that he needs to clear his workshop & unless the vehicle is collected by a reasonable date then it will be sold to recover outstanding costs, then I believe that would be a reasonable thing to do & if the customer is non responsive he could be deemed to have agreed to those terms, you would howvever need to be able to prove that the customer had received that letter & was therefore aware of his responsibilities.

If he happens to have a close mate who's a solicitor & lawyers up, your friend could find himself on the receiving end of all sorts of costs - bit of a can of worms, much better sorted amicably if at all possible!





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rdodger

posted on 7/5/19 at 12:35 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks both

To be honest that was my view. My friend however has a different view!

I think over the years there has been a vague agreement that storage would have to be paid and I think the customer does owe some money for work done.

As the customer disappears for years at a time with no contact and has failed to collect his car 3 times over the last couple of months my friend wants it out of the unit so he can move out.

I will encourage him to take some legal advise before he commits to anything too drastic.

I would really like to buy it off him but want no part of the potential fallout!

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theconrodkid

posted on 7/5/19 at 12:44 PM Reply With Quote
as the car wont have an identity yet it will be hard to trace, best get legal advice but as far as i know, the garage owner must send the owner a letter stating that if said "object" is not paid for and collected by X date, it will be disposed of.





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rusty nuts

posted on 7/5/19 at 12:49 PM Reply With Quote
It is possible to claim the car against unpaid invoices, storage etc but as Conroe points out you need to go about it the correct way.
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coyoteboy

posted on 7/5/19 at 12:49 PM Reply With Quote
Personally I think I'd just let the customer know the situation and that the full rental charge of the unit would be payable by them as of the date he wants to leave, and that if it's not payed by X months in he'd sell the vehicle to pay the cost. Should hurry up the matter and he doesn't actually have to do it if he finds a different way in the mean time.





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nick205

posted on 7/5/19 at 02:43 PM Reply With Quote
Document everything and keep accurate records.

Personally I'd notify the person the car's being built for of any intentions in writing before doing anything.

Personally I'd avoid the cost, time and complexity of any legal wrangling - invariably that route ends up costing money and taking time! From what you say this has already been going on for a few years so I'd advise your friend to try and conclude it quickly and amicably.

[Edited on 7/5/19 by nick205]

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designer

posted on 8/5/19 at 11:19 AM Reply With Quote
I was informed that a garage has no right to hold a vehicle as a ransom, and has to go through the courts to get any debt.
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Paul_Arion

posted on 8/5/19 at 11:50 AM Reply With Quote
Torts Act 1977 covers the legal side - as mentioned this has to be done right so best seek proper legal advice as appropriate.
This should give you an idea of the Act that needs deciphering....

Link
Linky

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bonzoronnie

posted on 8/5/19 at 12:47 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul_Arion
Torts Act 1977 covers the legal side - as mentioned this has to be done right so best seek proper legal advice as appropriate.
This should give you an idea of the Act that needs deciphering....

Link
Linky



Agreed

I have bought & sold a fair few Boats from boat yards,
Boats that have been disposed of due to the prolonged non payment of storage fees/mooring fees.

These have been disposed of using tort.

Don't know the relevant laws re tort, I understand that original owners goods are are interfering with their business.
ie: space is being taken up, thus preventing it being let out to a customer who will actually pay their dues.

Legal advice should be taken as there is a due process to be followed.

Doubt your friend could claim ownership of the goods ( unless he paid the entire cost of the build to date )

Certain sure that he can dispose of the goods though if due process has been followed.

CAB may be able to advise.

[Edited on 8/5/19 by bonzoronnie]

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rusty nuts

posted on 8/5/19 at 02:21 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by designer
I was informed that a garage has no right to hold a vehicle as a ransom, and has to go through the courts to get any debt.


A garage has the right to hold onto the car against any unpaid bills or to remove any parts they have fitted plus charge any storage fees

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SteveWalker

posted on 8/5/19 at 07:49 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by designer
I was informed that a garage has no right to hold a vehicle as a ransom, and has to go through the courts to get any debt.


I wonder if it is legally a vehicle before completion and issue of a VIN?

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