Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Stolen car and recovery fees

Well, I have ranted about how there are too many nanny-state regulations to protect consumers. To be honest that is a bit over the top - I understand that without a lot of this there would be so many dodgy companies it would be unbearable.

What gets me though is when the laws penalise the citizen for no good reason, as happened to a friend of mine last week.

He had the mis-fortune to have both his cars stolen! Yes, someone broke in through the patio doors during the night while they were asleep, took the car keys and stole both cars!

No idea what they were used for but they were abandoned a few days later. They were not substantially damaged in any way, upright, and on the road, and not illegally parked or anything.

Now, when this happens you have all sorts of silly and annoying costs - new keys (expensive these days), valeting the car, that sort of thing. Sadly this can add up to less than the insurance excess, as is the case here.

What you don't need is extra costs you did not ask for. In this case the police obviously wanted to do proper scene of crime stuff on the cars, and so they wanted them "recovered" to a secure depot for them to do that. They would not allow the owner to go and get them himself.

Now they have finished he is expected to pay £250 for each car to cover the cost of recovery. Recovery he did not ask for and did not need or want. Something the police wanted to do, not him.

This is outrageous, obviously, and surely cannot be right. The yard where they are held are holding them to ransom, so he has no choice but to pay. Surely this extortion and/or theft? You would think so!

Apparently the Road Traffic Act allows the police to recover vehicles, even if not illegally parked, even if not causing any obstruction. Cars in a circumstance where they could be validly parked with no problem. However, as they were stolen and left they have been "abandoned", and so the police can recover them. The law goes on to say that the owner then has to pay for the recover, and storage, and any parking charges that may apply and the car can be held until paid!

This is clearly just wrong in these circumstances. There are many where this is sensible I am sure. If the owner abandons a car, then fine, make them pay, but this is a case where the owner has clearly done nothing wrong. The owner has not asked for the car to be recovered or stored. The owner is the victim of a crime and being punished. How is this valid or fair?

To add insult to injury the recovery company operate a set of rules, which they have clearly made up, where "if the car has to be lifted off the road then we charge £250, but if it can simply be towed then we charge £150". The law on the other hand says if the car is on the road, upright and not substantially damaged then the prescribed fee is £150. Only if it is substantially damaged is the charge £250. Not having keys present is hardly "substantially damaged" by any stretch of the imagination. But they have the car and will not let him have it unless he pays the inflated sum of £250 each.

So, I feel sorry for my friend who now has the hassle of dealing with all of this as well as dealing with the insurance company (who are also making his life hell) when it will not reach the excess anyway so he has to pay it all out of his own pocket.

But seriously, how do we have laws allowing you to be effectively fined for something you did not do when you are the victim of a crime? That is madness.

4 comments:

  1. I am sure that a good local MP will sort this in no time at all.

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  2. "good local MP" what's one of them then?

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  3. I had something almost exactly the same happen to me some 20years ago

    my car had a dodgy lock
    so i never used to lock it .. it was worth afterall only a couple of quid itself

    when the cops caught some ne'er do wells trying to break into it (dim as ditch water as all you had to do was notice the tags were up and you could just pull the handles!) they chased the kids who got away and then saw the car wasnt secure

    bare in mind this was in a private court yard in student accomodation parked perfectly well and amongst other cars

    later I got a contact by phone that my car was ready for collection at the pound !!!

    why oh why did they figure it needed towing away from my residence from a closed courtyard I dont know

    *shrugs*

    I went to collect it ... the pound demanded £70
    I said ... me poor student, its worth bollock all .... KEEP THE CAR ... I started to walk away

    they soon were running after me to take it hehe
    slightly different ending

    :D

    but youre right
    when will they close down these schister laws that allow pirates to perform daylight robbery whilst being supported or even commissioned by the Police themselves?

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  4. He can probably get at least the £100 difference back by filing a small claim.

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