Crossing T’s & Dotting I’s
Rejected paperwork can cost you money by eliminating days of storage that can be charged or ultimately the ability to sell the vehicle. You lose time by having to start your process over and repeat the steps you’ve already taken, including a visit to the agency office to file your paperwork. And the grief comes when something isn’t right, you’ve already sold the car and the owner hires a lawyer to sue you.
Making sure the information you are working with and the processes you employ in your office are correct can save the day. For example, making sure the records of owners and lienholders you use to send notification letters in real- time is imperative. The last thing you want to do is use stale data that doesn’t accurately reflect the interested parties on the title and registration. You may have to prove you sent the letters in good faith. If that information was accessed in real-time you can demonstrate that is what was provided by the DMV. But if your source provides records that could be as old as 30 days, you are flirting with disaster. Always check your data source for timeliness!
Pulling Your Hair Out?
Reading tow statutes is enough to make you pull your hair out but making sure you are following the rules when it comes to sending notifications in the manner and timeframe required by your state rules is obviously key to acceptable paperwork. Including the vehicle and location details outlined in the statute and making sure your response to an owner meets the spirit of the law, is paramount in covering yourself and your business interests during the process.
Tow statutes can change every year when your state legislature is in session. If you are a member of an association keep an eye out for legislative alerts or do your own research. Keep a link to your jurisdiction’s website and rules related to the abandoned vehicle process on the desktop of everyone who processes paperwork. If there’s confusion, check with the agency that has oversight and ask for clarification. Bottom line – stay informed, focus on accuracy, and avoid the grief that comes with rejected or incorrect paperwork.