Lien on Car Tag

(WSVN) - When his car was stolen and found stripped of almost every part, he saw it at a tow lot and said, “Forget it. I don’t want the car.” Then a few months later, he got another car and was told he couldn’t get a tag because of money he owed on the stolen car. He then called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Fertho has a dream to be a physical therapist.

Fertho Jean-Jacques, car stolen and stripped: “I’m on my second semester, and I’m a sophomore.”

It’s not easy working as a security guard followed by college classes. Then one day, Fertho walked out of school to go home.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “I know I parked here, because I always know where I park. I’m a car guy. I wouldn’t ever misplace my car.”

Fertho had not forgotten where he parked his 1994 Honda Civic. It had been stolen.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “I called the police, and they came through. They said that this type of thing happens all the time, and the guard said that was like the fifth car that week.”

A month passed. What was left of the car was found and taken to a tow lot.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “No seats, no engine, no transmission, the back seats were gone.”

Fertho didn’t have car insurance to cover the theft and the company wanted $400 for the shell of the Civic.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “I couldn’t pay that, because I’m a college kid. ‘I don’t want the car. You guys can do whatever with it.'”

Fertho forgot about that junked car, and as the months passed, saved the money to get another car.

Then went to get a tag.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “While I was there, the woman told me, ‘You have a lien on your tag.’ And I’m like, ‘What does that even mean?’ And they said that I owe the towing company.”

Fertho headed to the tow yard to pay the $400, except the price was now $1,600 for towing and storage.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “I told them that was ridiculous. The car literally was worthless. Why would you even charge me $1,600 for that? That’s a new car.”

Fertho had just spent all his money on another car and had no way to pay the $1,600.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “Why would I have to pay for something that got stolen?”

Well, Howard, a year ago Fertho didn’t want to pay to get back a worthless car. Can that now block him from getting a tag for another car?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “The answer is yes. Florida law says, if you do not pay to get your vehicle after it’s towed, the towing company can sell the vehicle, and whatever is still owed for towing and storage becomes a lien. The Division of Motor Vehicles then allows them to block you from getting a tag until you pay the towing bill.”

We talked to the owner of A & B Towing in Broward.

He was very understanding and wanted to help a hardworking college kid out.

Instead of the $1,600, he said, if Fertho would pay $500, they would release the wrecker’s lien.

Fertho paid the $500; A & B released the lien.

Howard Finkelstein: “That was nice of the towing company to give Fertho a break. And remember, if your vehicle gets towed, even if it’s worthless, do not ignore it. Pay the bill. You saw the headaches that it gave Fertho by not doing that. And if you have insurance, remember, they may pay the bill for you.”

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “The guy was really nice. He talked to me.”

Fertho now has a tag and no longer has to ask friends to take him to work and school.

Fertho Jean-Jacques: “I really appreciate Help Me Howard. I really love what you guys do. I think you guys are just helping out people in terms of, not even just me, just people in general that just need it, you know?”

Glad we were able to help Fertho out — and glad the tow company was willing to help as well. It’s a reminder — everything is negotiable. If you owe money, be nice and see if you can create a compromise so everybody goes home happy.

A problem left you a wreck? Wanna store it with us? Contact us. We don’t have to have a license to help, we just have the heart to wanna make you happy.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.