Thanks for creating a forum where people can discuss all kinds of legal matters. I really appreciate the chance to seek informal advice in a setting like this.
In August, I wore out the bearings in the engine of my worn out '87 Supra and couldn't drive it. I went to the DMV near the end of the month and filed my intent to render it inoperable. Long story short, before I could junk it, the car was impounded and I was so broke and tired, I decided not to bother getting it back. Somehow, the tow company, Anytime towing, managed to appraise it as being worth more than $300. It was held for over a month and then "sold".
3 weeks ago, I got a letter from Rickenbacker Collections on behalf of Anytime Towing for $1060.29. I promptly demanded:
-An itemized towing/storage bill
-Contact information of the buyer
-Copy of Bill of Sale
-A description of the method of appraisal
I got a letter from the collections agency 2 days ago, saying that my dispute was invalid and that I should get in touch with them ASAP to settle my debt.
They were kind enough, however, to include a copy of the REG 168A form (Certification of Lien Sale for Vehicle Valued $4000 or less) and a copy of the information given to the towing company by the DMV. I looked closely at the copy of the REG 168A I was given and noticed that the name of the buyer was omitted completely, and the form was filled in the way it is supposed to if no qualifying bid was met at the auction, implying the tow company kept my car. Also, the price at which the car was sold was also conspicuously missing. Actually, no, that's not true... it was written with a pen, but far, far away from the field that should have been filled out, so was the remaining debt owed by the registered owner.
I was at work this morning when I got a call on my cel phone from someone at Anytime Towing, seeking to "help" out with anything I might have found unclear. I told him all I wanted was what I clearly stated in my letter. He told me the only way they could release the buyer's information was through a subpoena, and they would be willing to go to court, but that it was sold to Pick-Your-Part, a scrap/parts yard. He urged me to settle my debt with Rickenbackers, saying that he was surprised I was paying so little (the collections company added $0.29 to the money owed).
I've been doing some desperate research and I found that Pick-Your-Part/Rickenbacker collections had to pay the city of San Francisco a hefty sum of money for basically defrauding the city by under-reporting figures from impounds/sales.
Am I right to be a little suspicious? Should I probe further?
Thanks for your input.