FIrst time to post, so forgive me if I posted this in the wrong place...
I owned a motorcycle shop for several years, here in Alabama. I had a regular customer bring me his wrecked bike for repairs. This customer wanted to customize the bike as we repaired it. We quoted him a price for the parts, for the labor, and as he was having many of the parts custom built/modified by several other specialty shops, we added a daily storage fee, to be charged while we waited on the customization of the parts to be completed. We ordered numerous repair parts for the bike, which the customer paid for as these parts arrived. We removed all of the parts, from the bike, that the customer was taking to the specialty shops for customization and he incured the labor charges for this work which was to be paid after we completed the assembly of the bike.
The customer came by the shop or called on occassions over the next 6 months or so, to ensure us that he had not forgot about his bike, but that the fabrication of some ot his customized parts was taking longer than he expected.
At eight months, a lady stopped by the shop and provided us with a copy of power of attorney, from the customer, giving her authority to handle his affairs. We provided her with an up to date total of what was owed. She explained that our customer was involved in some legal problems and that she needed us to continue storing the bike until she could round up the custom fabricated parts so that we could complete the assembly of the bike. We agreed to do so.
Approx 6 months later we got a call from this same lady who said she just wanted to make sure we were still storing the bike. We explained that we were but that the we were and we gave her an updated cost of the current charges. Again we were asked to continue storing the motorcycle until she could get someone by the shop to pick it up. We offered to deliver the motorcycle to her but she did not know where she was going to put it and that she would have someone contact us to arrange payment and pickup.
Approx 4 months later a gentleman came by the shop and said that he had been sent to get a current total of the charges and to see what he would need to haul the bike with. We provided him with a total of the charges and explained to him what he would need to securly haul the motorcycle.
Approx 3 months later we called the numbers we had for both our customer and the lady which he had provided the power of attorney to. We left several messages that we were moving the busines and we informed them how to contact us.
Approx 4 months later we were contacted by a gentlman who said he had been sent to get the motorcycle. We explained to him that we would have to get him an updated invoice and for him to return on the following date. We have not heard from or seen anyone in regard to this bike since.
(LAW IN QUESTION)
Alabama Law Section 32-13-3(2) States:
(2) Any person or firm on whose property an abandoned motor vehicle as defined in subdivision (2) of Section 32-13-1 has been lawfully towed, or the owner or lessee of real property or his or her agent upon which an abandoned motor vehicle as defined in subdivision (2) of Section 32-13-1 has become abandoned, and who has the abandoned motor vehicle as defined in subdivision (2) of Section 32-13-1 on his or her property, except vehicles which have been claimed within seven days after being towed, and who has notified or attempted to notify by certified mail, return receipt requested, the owner or lienholders of record, if any, after the abandoned motor vehicle was lawfully towed onto his or her property, may, 60 days after the abandoned vehicle was lawfully towed, sell the vehicle at public auction. In addition, if notice was not given or attempted to be given as provided herein to the owner or lienholders, no additional storage charges may be added after 30 days.(PROBLEM)
After waiting a year, with no contact from anyone, we deceided to declare the vehicle abandoned and to have the paperwork processed with the state so that we could sell the motorcycle to pay for the labor and storage charges. We hired a company that processes abandoned vehicle paperwork to do this for us. In the process, they learned that there was a lein holder, which they notified along with the registered owner. The lein holder objected to the sale and is claiming that we can only charge 30 days of storage, since they had not been notified until recently. We have been ordered to appear for a "status conference" at the court house.
I am looking for opinions/Arguments as to whether we can or cannot charge these storage fees and if we can, for how long. I also would be interested to know, what we should/should not take to this "staus conference" and what we should expect to take place during this conference..
Any Help would be greatly appreciated..