Automotive

Locked: Taking your car back from the impound lot. Legality?

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  • Dec 8th, 2015 4:19 pm
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[OP]
Member
Nov 10, 2013
324 posts
105 upvotes
Unionville, ON

Taking your car back from the impound lot. Legality?

purely hypothetical question, but is it illegal to "take" your car back from the impound lot without paying.
Assuming, you didn't break any of their things (e.g. lots gate was unlocked, you use your own key to get in your car)

What legal ground does a towing company / impound lot has to keep your car anyway.
I mean, if I didn't pay for my water bill, the water company can't come and take away my faucets till I pay right?

After all the car is mine. I am merely taking back what's mine.
I am sure the towing company can sue you in court to retrieve unpaid towing & storage fees, but could you get into other troubles with the laws and police?
Can you be sued for anything else beside the towing and storage fees?
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[OP]
Member
Nov 10, 2013
324 posts
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Unionville, ON
UrbanPoet wrote: Yep. Trespassing. You're going to have to climb a fence, circumvent security, open the gate somehow (usually electronically activated), or snip the chain if its an old school style impound.

There are municipal by-laws that allow the detainment of your car.
assuming they accidentally left the gate open..? (i know it is unlikely..just curious about the legality)

can they prosecute you for trespassing if they don't have sufficient signs and gave you no warning. (e.g. you go during dark, sign barely visible)
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Apr 18, 2009
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this doesnt appear to be as "hypothetical" or "curious" as OP stated....either that, or this is a troll thread

lets say i have a parcel waiting at the post office for me to pick up. does that give me the right to break in at night to get my package?
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Sep 29, 2003
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maybe you should just pay what you owe....
[OP]
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Nov 10, 2013
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Unionville, ON
lol
my car is not towed...doubt any impound lot would allow easy access to your car anyway.

curious tho, can any random person start a towing company/impound lot?
I mean, what's to stop them from randomly towing cars or charging outrageous fees? Sure some people will complain, but the the vast majority will just eat the cost and not bother with suing the towing companies.
And for those 1 in a 100 people who decide to sue/fight with the towing companies, they can just give them their money back and go on scamming the other 99 people who would just pay upfront
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joejoem wrote: lol
my car is not towed...doubt any impound lot would allow easy access to your car anyway.

curious tho, can any random person start a towing company/impound lot?
I mean, what's to stop them from randomly towing cars or charging outrageous fees? Sure some people will complain, but the the vast majority will just eat the cost and not bother with suing the towing companies.
And for those 1 in a 100 people who decide to sue/fight with the towing companies, they can just give them their money back and go on scamming the other 99 people who would just pay upfront
only if the reason for towing/impounding is unjust in the first place will people complain

if you didnt do anything wrong that warrants the car to the impounded by a third party (parking lot, police etc), what do you have to worry about? and i doubt towing companies will randomly pick cars to tow off the streets for no reason
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Dec 27, 2011
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OP, you should just pay and not break into the impound lot.
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Mar 1, 2005
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You shoukd hypothetically walk close to the lot with a Molotov cocktail and "trip."
:arrowd: B/S/T Threads :arrowd:
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Jr. Member
Dec 15, 2006
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Toronto
Being to one of these scam lots. The amount of cars they have from people not being able to pay the fees is interesting. They were trying to sell me the cars....
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Just pay it... :facepalm:
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It depends on on what jurisdiction (municipality) it was towed under.

For example if it was a common law tow, you could just demand to have your car back (without payment) and they must collect via small claims (generally unlikely, since acceptance of a term/contract is not approved - like parking in a impark lot).

However, if it's under a by-law where the municipality tickets and tows, you are SOL, but you are limited to set fees provided by the bylaw.
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Dec 24, 2009
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take back your car, burn down the lot
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Aug 2, 2001
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joejoem wrote: curious tho, can any random person start a towing company/impound lot?
I mean, what's to stop them from randomly towing cars or charging outrageous fees? Sure some people will complain, but the the vast majority will just eat the cost and not bother with suing the towing companies.
And for those 1 in a 100 people who decide to sue/fight with the towing companies, they can just give them their money back and go on scamming the other 99 people who would just pay upfront
The law - randomly towing cars would be theft and you would be subject to criminal charges.
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Apr 5, 2013
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keenland
joejoem wrote: lol
my car is not towed...doubt any impound lot would allow easy access to your car anyway.

curious tho, can any random person start a towing company/impound lot?
I mean, what's to stop them from randomly towing cars or charging outrageous fees? Sure some people will complain, but the the vast majority will just eat the cost and not bother with suing the towing companies.
And for those 1 in a 100 people who decide to sue/fight with the towing companies, they can just give them their money back and go on scamming the other 99 people who would just pay upfront
1 tow truck...40k
lot...3k month
insurance 12k/year
licensing...pound needs license from the city, file papers insurance if you are parking or police towing..otherwise only breakdowns or accidents.
business name etc all filed with city and insurance.

its all easy and cheap..anyone can do it
Member
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Mar 19, 2015
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North York, ON
UrbanPoet wrote: Yep. Trespassing. You're going to have to climb a fence, circumvent security, open the gate somehow (usually electronically activated), or snip the chain if its an old school style impound.

There are municipal by-laws that allow the detainment of your car.
In order to be charged and convicted with tresspassing, you need to be formally given a request not to return to the property. If I stand on your driveway, and you call the police to charge me with tresspassing, the police would first have to request for me to leave the driveway, and I would have to blatantly refuse their directive in order to be charged and convicted with tresspassing. So technically, you wouldn't be charged with trespassing. Same thing for the tow impound.

If you broke a fence or gated entry whose purpose is to act as a barrier between "outside" and "inside", that's breaking and entering, which is a whole different issue.

joejoem wrote: assuming they accidentally left the gate open..? (i know it is unlikely..just curious about the legality)

can they prosecute you for trespassing if they don't have sufficient signs and gave you no warning. (e.g. you go during dark, sign barely visible)
No reputable tow or storage company will ever let cars with accumulating storage sit in a publicly accessible tow compound for this very reason. If your car is on their front lot, odds are it's going to be moved to the back (gated) lot within a few hours to accumulate storage fees.
joejoem wrote: lol
my car is not towed...doubt any impound lot would allow easy access to your car anyway.

curious tho, can any random person start a towing company/impound lot?
I mean, what's to stop them from randomly towing cars or charging outrageous fees? Sure some people will complain, but the the vast majority will just eat the cost and not bother with suing the towing companies.
And for those 1 in a 100 people who decide to sue/fight with the towing companies, they can just give them their money back and go on scamming the other 99 people who would just pay upfront
OP to answer your question, the shop will register a lien on your vehicle (assuming they have the VIN number) according to the Repair and Storage Liens Act of Ontario. They will effectively own a portion of your asset (your car in this case), so should insurance ever make a payout (let's say in terms of a total loss), they will make the cheque payable to you AND the tow company. The tow company is legally entitled to register a lien on your vehicle. The RSLA states that, should the lien amount surpass the value of the vehicle today, the lienholder can repossess the vehicle and liquidate it to recover unpaid fees.
chroma_cg wrote: only if the reason for towing/impounding is unjust in the first place will people complain

if you didnt do anything wrong that warrants the car to the impounded by a third party (parking lot, police etc), what do you have to worry about? and i doubt towing companies will randomly pick cars to tow off the streets for no reason
Towing companies won't just hook your car up and store it without a request. When the invoice (tow and storage bill) is drafted, they have to list how their services were requested (police officer request, parking fee impound, police investigative hold, customer request, etc.).
eugeneo wrote: It depends on on what jurisdiction (municipality) it was towed under.

For example if it was a common law tow, you could just demand to have your car back (without payment) and they must collect via small claims (generally unlikely, since acceptance of a term/contract is not approved - like parking in a impark lot).

However, if it's under a by-law where the municipality tickets and tows, you are SOL, but you are limited to set fees provided by the bylaw.
Yes, and no.

If you want to fight a car tow bill or storage bill in court, what you will have to do is to file to have the tow bill reviewed by a provincial court or small claims court, and you will have to post the money to the courts in the sum of the outstanding tow and storage bill. At this point, the sheriff of the local governing region will request for the vehicle to be released to the claimant as they have posted the matter before the courts - the outstanding monies will be determined before a judge, arbitrator, mediator, etc. etc.. so in order to do this, you'll have to front the money, then come up with a solid reason as to why you shouldn't be charged the amounts being requested.
cardguy wrote: 1 tow truck...40k
lot...3k month
insurance 12k/year
licensing...pound needs license from the city, file papers insurance if you are parking or police towing..otherwise only breakdowns or accidents.
business name etc all filed with city and insurance.

its all easy and cheap..anyone can do it
A single chaser will be a 1-ton crew-cab, fully loaded, rated to tow around 17,500 lbs (which most 1-tons can do), equipped with J-hooks, an active-loading winch system, raised front and rear high-tensile compression suspension, medium-duty dollies that can sustain 6,000lbs for a private passenger vehicle, 4 pylons @ 12" tall, ancillary equipment, and up-to-date manifests will run you near $100,000 -- keep in mind the drivers sit in these trucks all day, so a truck with all amenities is a necessitiy if you, as a towing company, care about your driver enough so they can bring you accident vehicles.

Insurance for a chaser is around 10-18k per year, depending on the region. A chaser in Bolton, ON is a lot cheaper to insure than one in the Ottawa region, where they are known for racing to accidents.

The lot needs to employ 2 people to guard it and monitor vehicles coming in and out at $20/hour.

The impound lot needs insurance as well... these range based on location.

The impound lots need to pay property taxes as it is a commercial property aimed to store; assuming the lot is a perfect rectangle, and you are able to maximize each square foot, the size of the lot is correlated to the revenue potential; thus property tax implications.

Then you'll need to hire an impound manager whose sole job is to deal and negotiate (pronounced "gouge") insurance companies for storage, clean up and "administrative" fees.

This doesn't include the towing and storage licensing fees for the municipality you operate in... or any ancillary licensing costs associated with running a towing compound.

Long story short, not anyone can run a tow and storage compound without a large start-up of cash.
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Mar 2, 2015
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Edmonton
It is considered theft. Another example would be picking up car from repair shop (if parked outside) and without paying for the services
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keenland
Squirtle wrote: In order to be charged and convicted with tresspassing, you need to be formally given a request not to return to the property. If I stand on your driveway, and you call the police to charge me with tresspassing, the police would first have to request for me to leave the driveway, and I would have to blatantly refuse their directive in order to be charged and convicted with tresspassing. So technically, you wouldn't be charged with trespassing. Same thing for the tow impound.

If you broke a fence or gated entry whose purpose is to act as a barrier between "outside" and "inside", that's breaking and entering, which is a whole different issue.




No reputable tow or storage company will ever let cars with accumulating storage sit in a publicly accessible tow compound for this very reason. If your car is on their front lot, odds are it's going to be moved to the back (gated) lot within a few hours to accumulate storage fees.



OP to answer your question, the shop will register a lien on your vehicle (assuming they have the VIN number) according to the Repair and Storage Liens Act of Ontario. They will effectively own a portion of your asset (your car in this case), so should insurance ever make a payout (let's say in terms of a total loss), they will make the cheque payable to you AND the tow company. The tow company is legally entitled to register a lien on your vehicle. The RSLA states that, should the lien amount surpass the value of the vehicle today, the lienholder can repossess the vehicle and liquidate it to recover unpaid fees.



Towing companies won't just hook your car up and store it without a request. When the invoice (tow and storage bill) is drafted, they have to list how their services were requested (police officer request, parking fee impound, police investigative hold, customer request, etc.).



Yes, and no.

If you want to fight a car tow bill or storage bill in court, what you will have to do is to file to have the tow bill reviewed by a provincial court or small claims court, and you will have to post the money to the courts in the sum of the outstanding tow and storage bill. At this point, the sheriff of the local governing region will request for the vehicle to be released to the claimant as they have posted the matter before the courts - the outstanding monies will be determined before a judge, arbitrator, mediator, etc. etc.. so in order to do this, you'll have to front the money, then come up with a solid reason as to why you shouldn't be charged the amounts being requested.



A single chaser will be a 1-ton crew-cab, fully loaded, rated to tow around 17,500 lbs (which most 1-tons can do), equipped with J-hooks, an active-loading winch system, raised front and rear high-tensile compression suspension, medium-duty dollies that can sustain 6,000lbs for a private passenger vehicle, 4 pylons @ 12" tall, ancillary equipment, and up-to-date manifests will run you near $100,000 -- keep in mind the drivers sit in these trucks all day, so a truck with all amenities is a necessitiy if you, as a towing company, care about your driver enough so they can bring you accident vehicles.

Insurance for a chaser is around 10-18k per year, depending on the region. A chaser in Bolton, ON is a lot cheaper to insure than one in the Ottawa region, where they are known for racing to accidents.

The lot needs to employ 2 people to guard it and monitor vehicles coming in and out at $20/hour.

The impound lot needs insurance as well... these range based on location.

The impound lots need to pay property taxes as it is a commercial property aimed to store; assuming the lot is a perfect rectangle, and you are able to maximize each square foot, the size of the lot is correlated to the revenue potential; thus property tax implications.

Then you'll need to hire an impound manager whose sole job is to deal and negotiate (pronounced "gouge") insurance companies for storage, clean up and "administrative" fees.

This doesn't include the towing and storage licensing fees for the municipality you operate in... or any ancillary licensing costs associated with running a towing compound.

Long story short, not anyone can run a tow and storage compound without a large start-up of cash.
dude...i gave coles notes version for the simpletons on here...remember , this is RFD and i guess you are new here..i could sit here and spout regs too...you are in the business..but you don't offer a dual perspective...you are offering your views and your explanations..there are a lot of circumstances with every accident/tow/customer/location/situation/police officer...its never cut and dry although some would think it is..

and you do realize your number is wrong there?..one ton , towing a 17000lb veh would have to have a GVR of 25000lbs?...you are saying that a 4000lb vulcan can lift a 17000lb vehicle (truck)?...good luck with that..and if you ever get it off the ground, i don't think MTO would be too pleased. generally speaking..a one ton, is good to lift about 7000lbs max..and that is the high end...
using a sling? you can probably lift a bit more..not much considering most one tone are single wench.. 8000lbs..max
Sr. Member
Jan 29, 2014
538 posts
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Toronto
Legally, if your car gets towed to an impound lot for parking on private property, say in a public parking lot or on someone else's driveway, the impound lot does not have grounds to demand money to release your car. They do not have a contractual agreement with you whatsoever. Now, they can sue you in court after the fact for the towing/impound fee, but they can't hold your car for ransom.

Source: university level law class and http://www.thestar.com/autos/2015/03/13 ... o-pay.html
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Dec 9, 2007
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Squirtle wrote: Yes, and no.

If you want to fight a car tow bill or storage bill in court, what you will have to do is to file to have the tow bill reviewed by a provincial court or small claims court, and you will have to post the money to the courts in the sum of the outstanding tow and storage bill. At this point, the sheriff of the local governing region will request for the vehicle to be released to the claimant as they have posted the matter before the courts - the outstanding monies will be determined before a judge, arbitrator, mediator, etc. etc.. so in order to do this, you'll have to front the money, then come up with a solid reason as to why you shouldn't be charged the amounts being requested.
This is incorrect. As professormeth says.

professormeth wrote: Legally, if your car gets towed to an impound lot for parking on private property, say in a public parking lot or on someone else's driveway, the impound lot does not have grounds to demand money to release your car. They do not have a contractual agreement with you whatsoever. Now, they can sue you in court after the fact for the towing/impound fee, but they can't hold your car for ransom.

Source: university level law class and http://www.thestar.com/autos/2015/03/13 ... o-pay.html

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