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  1. #1
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    Default Moped Towed on Private Property, Never Notified/Denial of Towing

    My question involves towing laws for the State of: Wisconsin

    Recently, I moved out of my apartment upon the end of the lease and noticed my moped parked in the moped parking area was gone. The following day I called the apartment management company and asked them if they had moved my moped, stored it, or perhaps towed it for some reason (There are no parking regulations in regard to mopeds and parking them around their building. No stickers or permits are needed). They informed me that there have been a few calls recently made stating stolen mopeds around the property of the apartment complex. I thanked them for the information, and then proceeded to call the police to file a report.

    After, I decided to call the towing companies around Madison to see if they had perhaps found/picked up my moped somewhere around the city. The first company I called was the towing company that is on the sign of the apartment complex I lived in to call if a towing issue needed to be addressed. The towing company told me that they had my moped since July 24th, and that it had been picked up at the apartment complex that I lived in.

    I'm a student at the University in Madison, so I go home to Chicago during the summer. I visit Madison about once or twice a month to see friends and check up on my apartment there. The last time I saw my moped was in the beginning of July, but had not been able to go to Madison until I needed to move out because I never had a free opportunity until then. Thus, I never noticed when my moped was missing until I got there in mid August. The fee for holding my moped since late July is ridiculously high, and my question is: is there a case against the towing company or the apartment management to pay for these towing fees?

    Apartment management denied that they called in my moped to be towed, but the towing company said they received a call from the apartment complex to tow it. I was never never notified that it was towed, therefore was never given the opportunity to pick up the moped before these storage fees got so high.

    My moped was bought locally from an individual selling it a year ago. He had handed over the title to the moped along with its registration, but he had never explained to me that I needed to get the moped registered under my name. I wasn't aware that mopeds needed to be registered under any name despite having ownership of the title because registration of a moped varies in different states.

    I researched Wisconsin towing laws, and found that unless the towing companies make an effort to notify the owner that they have their vehicle, they will not have to pay the fees associated with storage and towing. I am the official owner of the moped despite never having it registered because I hold the title of it and it is signed to me. I was never informed that my moped was towed, but the towing company did call the previous owners but they simply stated that they did not own the moped anymore. The previous owners took down all my information when I bought the moped from them, so would it be considered an effort when the towing company did not ask them for a name of the person who bought the moped, or had called the police for information regarding the owner (I had paid a parking ticket on it before so the police knew the moped was linked to me)?

    Since the moped was held in storage for almost a month, the storage fees are as much as the moped cost. The moped wasn't in the best of shape, so I'm also wondering if it would be better just to abandon it at the towing location if I need to pay these fees because they are slowly exceeding what the moped is even worth. Had I been informed that my moped was towed by management or the towing company, these fee's would of never occurred, however, with there being no regulations on mopeds, I don't see why the apartment management company even called it in to get towed in the first place.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Moped Towed on Private Property, Never Notified/Denial of Towing

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    I was never never notified that it was towed, therefore was never given the opportunity to pick up the moped before these storage fees got so high.

    My moped was bought locally from an individual selling it a year ago. He had handed over the title to the moped along with its registration, but he had never explained to me that I needed to get the moped registered under my name.
    So how do you expect them to notify you if you are not the registered owner of the moped?

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    I researched Wisconsin towing laws, and found that unless the towing companies make an effort to notify the owner that they have their vehicle, they will not have to pay the fees associated with storage and towing.
    And since your name and address do not appear on the registration and ownership records with the Wisconsin DMV, then you're not going to prevail on a claim that the towing company did not notify you!

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    I am the official owner of the moped despite never having it registered because I hold the title of it and it is signed to me.
    Unless and until your name appears on the title and registration of the moped, then you are not "the official owner".

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    The previous owners took down all my information when I bought the moped from them, so would it be considered an effort when the towing company did not ask them for a name of the person who bought the moped, or had called the police for information regarding the owner (I had paid a parking ticket on it before so the police knew the moped was linked to me)?
    Re-read the laws you said you found regarding notification. I highly doubt that they require the towing company to go on a fishing expedition trying to establish who has the moped, and why they failed to properly transfer ownership of it in their name. If that is a requirement, then you should be home free... I doubt it will be that easy!

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    I had paid a parking ticket on it before so the police knew the moped was linked to me?
    A parking citation is issued to the vehicles plate number. I highly doubt the police kept a record of who the owner was at the time but even if they did, it certainly would not lead them to you, instead, it goes back to the (previous) owner on record with the DMV. As for paying it, you're assuming that they care who paid the citation, when in fact, and as long as it gets paid, they're pretty much done with it!

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    Since the moped was held in storage for almost a month, the storage fees are as much as the moped cost. The moped wasn't in the best of shape, so I'm also wondering if it would be better just to abandon it at the towing location if I need to pay these fees because they are slowly exceeding what the moped is even worth.
    Simply abandoning it will likely result in a lien being placed on it, and if not paid by a certain date, then it will likely be sold at auction (not necessarily at its true market value -whatever that maybe-) and the proceeds from the sale will then be applied to the full balance owed. If in the slight chance that the sale proceeds are not sufficient to cover the balance, you would be responsible for the remainder and the towing company can sue you for the difference. Instead, you need o contact the towing company and make arrangements with them to either retrieve the moped and pay the charges in full, or sign it over to them and get some sort of written release agreement stating that the full amount was covered and that they are giving up any and all subsequent claims to additional monies that may become due!

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    Had I been informed that my moped was towed by management or the towing company, these fee's would of never occurred, however, with there being no regulations on mopeds, I don't see why the apartment management company even called it in to get towed in the first place.
    You can research the laws of your state but as far as I know, you are not likely to be able to hold the management for not notifying you. Even if you could, such notice would not have been delivered to you in light of the fact that you are not the registered owner at the time.

    That responsibility is usually placed upon the towing company and from what you've posted, they did give proper notice to the registered owner as is likely required by law.

    Edited to Add:

    BTW, if it gets to the point where a lien is placed and the moped is put up for sale at auction, the lien notice ans well as the notice of intent to sell will likely go, not to you, but to the registered owner of the moped as appears on the record with the Wisconsin DMV at the time those notices are issued.

    So again, communicating with the towing company and/or changing the title and registration to your name (though it might not be cost effective for you to do the latter) is your next essential step to get out from under this mess!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Moped Towed on Private Property, Never Notified/Denial of Towing

    Thank you very much for your help! If I can just ask one more question: What about the management towing my moped in the first place, then denying it was them that did anything? When I called the towing company they stated that they were called in because of management calling in to remove the mopeds. However, when I called management to ask about my moped, they told me they never towed any mopeds because they have no regulation against them and that it must of been a robbery. They even have a designated parking lot where mopeds can be parked (where my moped was). While it is indeed my failure to register the moped under my name that made this mess even worse, a mess would of been averted in the first place had management never towed it. Thank you for taking the time to help out!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Moped Towed on Private Property, Never Notified/Denial of Towing

    Quote Quoting Udub91
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    Thank you very much for your help! If I can just ask one more question: What about the management towing my moped in the first place, then denying it was them that did anything? When I called the towing company they stated that they were called in because of management calling in to remove the mopeds. However, when I called management to ask about my moped, they told me they never towed any mopeds because they have no regulation against them and that it must of been a robbery. They even have a designated parking lot where mopeds can be parked (where my moped was). While it is indeed my failure to register the moped under my name that made this mess even worse, a mess would of been averted in the first place had management never towed it. Thank you for taking the time to help out!
    Well, you have two parties telling you tow different stories, and in all honesty, I wouldn't be so quick to side with the towing company and against management especially considering the two reasons you stated (1. they have no regulation against mopeds, and 2. They even have a designated parking lot where mopeds can be parked (where my moped was)). But that too is a mere guess.

    If you were able to find the statutes regarding towing from private property, you should look through them again.

    I can tell you that in my state, there is a requirement that the towing company (and in addition to issuing notice to the registered owner which we previously discussed), they must also complete a form with the date/time the tow was authorized/requested and by whom/the person's name address phone number... etc.

    It may be safe to assume that your state requires the same and if so, and since the towing company needs authorization from the owner/agent of the property (that being the management in this case), this form would leave no option for anyone to deny what role if any they played in this matter.

    The alternative to this, would be a general authorization by the owner/agent of the property (that being the management in this case) allowing the towing company to patrol the lot, look for offending vehicles, and tow them without specific instructions. In this case, you would be requesting a copy of the "general authorization" and arguing that "there is no policy against mopeds as long as they were parked in the designated area; so why was my moped towed and impounded?"

    The statutes, if they do exist, would also give some indic0aton as to what liability each party carries if/when a vehicle was towed by error, intentional or otherwise!

    Worse come to worse, and if you feel something fishy went on and want to pursue this matter further, you can sue both, the towing company, and the management company, have them both appear in court to work out who did what and when it was done.

    Keep in mind that this latter process might also lead to a refusal to renew your lease by the management company when the time comes.

    And to reiterate what I stated earlier, you need to do this ASAP especially due to the fact that storage charges are adding hip pretty quickly, and it would be in your best interest to get this resolved or simply find a way to pay off the amount due and settle out of this entire matter somehow!

    I am sorry that I am not being specific enough with rules and regulations. This is due to the fact that I am not at my computer and are unable to research the statutes, but also because I am not as intimately familiar with Wisconsin's laws as I am with those in my state and as a result, I wouldn't even know where to start researching!

    Good luck, and please keep us updated or come back with any further questions that might come up!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Moped Towed on Private Property, Never Notified/Denial of Towing

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    I can tell you that in my state, there is a requirement that the towing company (and in addition to issuing notice to the registered owner which we previously discussed), they must also complete a form with the date/time the tow was authorized/requested and by whom/the person's name address phone number... etc.

    It may be safe to assume that your state requires the same and if so, and since the towing company needs authorization from the owner/agent of the property (that being the management in this case), this form would leave no option for anyone to deny what role if any they played in this matter.

    The alternative to this, would be a general authorization by the owner/agent of the property (that being the management in this case) allowing the towing company to patrol the lot, look for offending vehicles, and tow them without specific instructions. In this case, you would be requesting a copy of the "general authorization" and arguing that "there is no policy against mopeds as long as they were parked in the designated area; so why was my moped towed and impounded?"
    I may have jumped the gun on the above statements. Again, that is how things work in my state, however, a quick search of Wisconsin statutes, did nor result in anything remotely similar to what I described above. That could mean one of two things (well, maybe three):
    1. Wisconsin is WAY behind on regulating the towing and storage of vehicles from private properties which would make it a tow truck operator's heaven;
    2. It is possible that these issues are regulated by ordinances and/or resolutions of each individual municipality. Which means I am searching state statutes is not likely to reveal much.
    (3. I am simply using the wrong terms to search for or are searching under unrelated chapters).

    You did mention doing your own research and finding SOME relevant sections. Maybe if you were to post those section numbers, we can use that as a start to see what else we can find!

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