January 11, 2017 / Lisa M. Carr / Carr Law Professional Corporation
The Repair and Storage Liens Act creates a lien that permits lienholders to withhold vehicles and other articles. But this lien no longer arises if the lienholder fails to comply with new sections of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002. If the lien does not arise, the lienholder cannot withhold the vehicle.
The following sections of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, will prevent the lien from arising under the Repair and Storage Liens Act:
- Section 65.3 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall not charge for any tow and storage services, unless it provides the consumer with specific information including its company name and contact information, a statement that its rates comply with the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 the amount of the fee, address and location where the vehicle will be towed including every anticipated stop, a statement that it accepts payment by credit card and if the information is not given in writing, it must be recorded and retained.
- Section 65.4(1) requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall not charge for any tow and storage services, unless the service is authorized. The Regulations set out the requirements for proper authorization and more importantly, authorization is not effective unless given to the consumer before the tow and/or storage service is commenced.
- Section 65.6 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall not demand payment until it has delivered an invoice detailing the services provided. The invoice shall be in writing, including the consumer’s name, service provider's name, telephone, unique number identifying tow truck providing service, business license number, make model VIN and license number, date and time the service commenced, address where service commenced, address where the vehicle was towed including all stops, unique invoice number, name of tow truck driver and payment by credit card or cash is accepted.
- 65.7(2) requires that a Tow and Storage Provider is required to carry minimum insurance coverage, including coverage for damage to vehicles in its care, custody or control and cargo liability.
- 65.10(2) a Tow and Storage Provider shall not demand payment before disclosing the nature and extent of its interest in a location where the vehicle may be towed for repair or storage.
Below are some additional changes to the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 that do not affect lien rights:
- Section 65.8 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall maintain a current statement of its rates to be charged and make the rates publicly available.
- Section 65.9 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall not charge more because the charges will be paid by an insurer.
- Section 65.11 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall provide consumers with a copy of the Tow and Storage Consumers Bill of Rights.
- 65.12(1) requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall provide access to the vehicle to permit removal of personal property inside the vehicle. The Tow and Storage Provider must be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on all business days and provide a telephone number to call after business hours to gain access to the vehicle. If access is refused during business hours, this amounts to an unfair practice which is another breach of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.
- 65.15 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider shall accept payment by credit card or cash.
- 65.19 requires that a Tow and Storage Provider is required to maintain copies of all authorizations or records of authorizations, invoices, insurance policies, statements of rates, disclosure of interest or record of disclosure for 3 years.