Jackson, TN asked in Collections and Contracts for Tennessee

Q: Customer won't pay for work/parts he authorized abandoned car won't take our call authorized work/parts = 1600 Car = 300

We have an electronic record showing he authorized the work, parts and the costs. He only paid $500 for it and appears to have been trying to "flip" it for profit. It seems he's trying to cut his losses leaving us with labor and parts already paid out on his authorization.

I know how to process a garage keeper's lien. The value of this car will barely cover the cost of the first diagnostic test prior to any parts or other work and testing being done. The car may bring $200 at a scrap recycle yard. The owner has already demonstrated that the possibility of a lien and loss of the vehicle doesn't matter to him. Can I file criminal charges?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng
  • Collections Lawyer
  • Columbia, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Under Tennessee law, a repair service has a possessory lien on the vehicle for the cost of repairs- you can retain the vehicle until he pays for the work. At some point, you will need to file suit to collect the debt, and once you have a judgment, you can have the sheriff's office sell the vehicle and the sale proceeds ( if sufficient) will go to satisfy the debt. If you have already let him have the vehicle back, your only recourse is to file suit for the debt.

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