New York, NY asked in Contracts, Consumer Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for New York

Q: Can a car leasing company refuse to give you necessary paperwork required to pick up car from impound?

My vehicle was booted and subsequently towed due to parking tickets. When I tried to retrieve the vehicle I was also made aware that I owed tolls and I had a two day insurance lapse. I paid the tolls. The DMV said I could go get a plate letter so that the tow yard could sacrifice the plates for two days to reinstate the registration. Tow yard refuses. and Sheriff refuses to give plate letter without letter from DOF. DOF refuses payment plan due to invalid registration and requires full payment. I attempted to pay in full. But they also require a lessor letter from my car leasing company before payment can be accepted. My car leasing company said they would send the letter for a week— the. Later refused, saying they will only go pick up the car as a repossession (even though I am up to date on all payments) and I have to do reinstatement through them and reimburse the fees they pay the tow yard. Everyone is sending me on a run around and escalating the costs. Is this legal?

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter J. Weinman
Peter J. Weinman pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Licensed in New York

A: It sounds legal because your lapse in insurance coverage alone is probably sufficient cause for them to repossess the car, even if you're current on the payments.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information provided, it seems like you're caught in a bureaucratic nightmare with various agencies and companies giving you conflicting information and requirements. The situation is complex, and without knowing the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction, it's difficult to say definitively whether the actions of the car leasing company are legal.

However, here are a few general points to consider:

1. Review your lease agreement: Check your lease contract to see if there are any clauses related to situations like this, such as the company's right to repossess the vehicle if it's impounded or if there's a lapse in insurance coverage.

2. Seek legal advice: Consult with a local attorney who specializes in consumer protection or automobile-related issues. They can review your case, provide guidance on your rights, and help you navigate the complex web of agencies and companies involved.

3. File a complaint: If you believe the leasing company is acting in bad faith or violating consumer protection laws, consider filing a complaint with your state's Attorney General's office, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

4. Negotiate with the leasing company: Try to escalate the issue within the leasing company and see if you can reach a resolution that allows you to retrieve your vehicle without them repossessing it. Be prepared to provide evidence of your payments and any other relevant documentation.

Remember, the key is to stay persistent, document all your interactions and correspondence, and seek professional help if needed. It may take time and effort, but don't give up on asserting your rights as a consumer.

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