Public Utilities and Carriers

CHAPTER 39-12.1
The Towing Storage Act

SECTION 39-12.1-8

§ 39-12.1-8. Notice prior to enforcement of possessory lien.

(a) Prior to enforcement of its possessory lien as provided in § 39-12.1-9, the certificated tower shall give notice by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the last known registered owner and all known lienholders of record, at the address shown on the records appropriate of the registry, in the state of which the vehicle is registered, substantially in the form provided in § 39-12.1-14, stating:

(1) That no complaint having been filed and that the vehicle has not been claimed or possession retaken or arranged for within thirty (30) days of the notice given pursuant to § 39-12.1-4.

(2) That the certificated tower claims a possessory lien for all recovery, towing, and storage charges.

(3) That the registered and/or legal owner may retake possession at any time during business hours by appearing, proving ownership, and paying all charges due the certificated tower pursuant to its published tariff; and

(4) That if the vehicle is not claimed and possession retaken, or arranged for, within ten (10) days of the mailing of the notice, the lien will be foreclosed and the vehicle will be sold at public auction;

(5) The date, time, and place at which the public auction shall occur.

(6) That any charges in excess of the sale proceeds shall remain as a civil obligation of the owner.

(b) If the identity of the last known registered owner and/or the lienholders cannot be determined by a request to the appropriate registry in the state in which the vehicle is registered, notice by the certificated tower pursuant to § 39-12.1-4(b) shall be sufficient notice prior to foreclosure of the possessory lien; provided, however, in such instance, no such foreclosure shall occur prior to sixty (60) days after the date of notice by the certificated tower.

(c) During the sixty (60) day period described in subsection (b) of this section, provided for in § 39-12.1-9(a), should the last registered and/or legal owner receive actual notice containing the items referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the certificated tower may proceed with lien foreclosure procedures set forth in this chapter.

(d) Notwithstanding the fact that the last registered owner of the vehicle proves that the vehicle has been sold to another owner but that the registration has not been transferred, the last registered owner shall remain primarily liable to the certificated tower for all charges incurred for towing and storage charges less whatever proceeds are realized at the foreclosure sale.

(e) In the event it shall be determined that failure to locate the last registered and/or legal owner and/or lienholders was caused by any misinformation furnished by any agency of government, or because of lack of information which a government agency has the legal duty to provide, and providing that the certificated tower shall have exercised its best efforts to locate the last registered and/or legal owner and/or lienholders, the certificated tower shall be absolved of any civil duty to the lawful owner of the vehicle, and shall have complete defense against any criminal charges growing out of the disposal of the vehicle as provided in this section. In this regard, a certificated tower shall rely on the performance of law enforcement to comply with statutes dealing with the reporting of vehicles reported stolen. In addition, proof by the certificated tower of having made inquiry of the appropriate registry in the state in which the vehicle is registered in the manner required by the registry shall constitute best efforts.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1994, ch. 328, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, § 114.)