Car stolen and still charged for time until it was recovered (towed / impounded) in different city. (SFO to San Jose)

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Jun 24, 2019
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It is unclear anyone reported the car stolen. It may have been abandoned in the casino parking lot, and after a few days, someone ran the plates and called National to come pick up the car.
 
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Jan 15, 2020
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It is unclear anyone reported the car stolen. It may have been abandoned in the casino parking lot, and after a few days, someone ran the plates and called National to come pick up the car.
I could not report it stolen as I was locked up. Plenty of guards around and no one wanted to do work.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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Did you leave a key in the car or did you leave the key with your friend? Where was the car parked when you were arrested? I feel like there's more to the narrative, but maybe you're shortening it to make it easier to write. I think the answers, which the car rental place will also ask, will determine the outcome. If they suspect the friend used it and just didn't return it, then you'd out of luck. Hopefully you can set them straight. Once you rent a car, it's totally your responsibility to return it in the same shape you've received it. They don't really care what the reasons are unfortunately. Good luck.
I left key inside car so it could be returned. I thought that was most responsible thing to ensure it would get returned. I knew there was possibility I would do a violation but not certain.
•in fact if I don’t respond for 3 months it’s cause I’m doing ANOTHER one (Jan 22 beginning)
The car was not parked at casino, but in San Jose.
the rental company did not ask me any questions, they just wanted there car back, and got it.
what should I have done differently in this situation?
•what would you have done?
 
Jan 15, 2020
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It is unclear anyone reported the car stolen. It may have been abandoned in the casino parking lot, and after a few days, someone ran the plates and called National to come pick up the car.
I told national that if they didn’t have it, I didn’t have it and therefore it was stolen.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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"Next, I authorized someone else to return car. But they never did. So while they could have driven it back to company that never took place. "

That is a huge problem.Did your "friend" move it or use it? That isn't a stolen car as far as the insurance or car rental is concerned - you violated the terms of the agreement by giving an unauthorized person permission to use the car.

At this point, I think you need an attorney to handle this.
An attorney will cost more than what the company is charging me. Isn’t there a sympathetic ear in corporate that can reverse charges or mitigate? The fact that I was charged for EVERYDAY it was STOLEN, is unnerving. Especially after I bought insurance to cover such an event should exposed.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I can now understand the issue - you left the key in the car. Anyone could have taken it, including your friend. However, it doesn't seem they are charging you for theft - they are charging you for the time that the car was missing before it was recovered. The car was recovered and if there were any damages, the insurance should have covered that. This is exactly why you need an attorney - we can't guide you on the if's or why regarding your insurance. Have you called the insurance company yourself that you had the insurance with and asked them about this?

You really need an attorney - this is beyond anything we can help with except to give you our list of company contacts to appeal to.

While you may not be able to afford an attorney, an attorney can explain to you and help get this dropped if insurance should have covered it.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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I left key inside car so it could be returned. I thought that was most responsible thing to ensure it would get returned. I knew there was possibility I would do a violation but not certain.
•in fact if I don’t respond for 3 months it’s cause I’m doing ANOTHER one (Jan 22 beginning)
The car was not parked at casino, but in San Jose.
the rental company did not ask me any questions, they just wanted there car back, and got it.
what should I have done differently in this situation?
•what would you have done?
What I would have done differently: Return the car before I was incarcerated since I knew it was going to happen. Not leave the keys in the car as cars get stolen all the time in SF.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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Even though you purchased insurance, even for theft, your act of leaving the keys in the vehicle most likely voided that insurance. I am sorry you put yourself in a position where you were arrested for an outstanding warrant. I would look in your local area for legal aid, you may be able to get free legal help. Also look at law schools.

However, the car rental company was without the vehicle and could not rent it while it was not returned and not reported stolen. You may want to write a brief, polite, letter, one executive at a time, waiting a week in between each, asking for a reduced settlement. You may get further if you offer to pay something rather than asking them to write the entire balance off.

Asking what any of us would have done is counter productive, as my first response is to not have a parole violation. It also asks us to look back with a clear understanding of what should have happened, but not necessarily having a clear head while needing to make multiple decisions in a very short amount of time. I may have kept the keys with me and then used the first jail phone call to contact a responsible friend who could come pick up the keys, return the vehicle, and if they could not find the vehicle, call the rental agency and report it stolen.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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What I would have done differently: Return the car before I was incarcerated since I knew it was going to happen. Not leave the keys in the car as cars get stolen all the time in SF.
I did not know i was going to jail. it was just a possibility, so as a precaution I told my friend to return car. If I kept keys it would definitely not have been returned on time.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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I can now understand the issue - you left the key in the car. Anyone could have taken it, including your friend. However, it doesn't seem they are charging you for theft - they are charging you for the time that the car was missing before it was recovered. The car was recovered and if there were any damages, the insurance should have covered that. This is exactly why you need an attorney - we can't guide you on the if's or why regarding your insurance. Have you called the insurance company yourself that you had the insurance with and asked them about this?

You really need an attorney - this is beyond anything we can help with except to give you our list of company contacts to appeal to.

While you may not be able to afford an attorney, an attorney can explain to you and help get this dropped if insurance should have covered it.
The insurance I had was what national offers red me for an extra $15 a day.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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What I would have done differently: Return the car before I was incarcerated since I knew it was going to happen. Not leave the keys in the car as cars get stolen all the time in SF.
where would you put the keys? I didn’t want to give it to somebody else directly for two reasons, I may not need to as I may not have gone to jail and if I gave the keys to someone else then I am authorizing that person to drive vehicle which voids contract, next if I keep the keys then the company may claim I am holding onto the vehicle. Perhaps they could recover it where I parked it, but not the keys thereby I may get a similar credit charge or worse a theft case/charge. Now since it’s simple enough to find out I was not using the vehicle I will not be charged criminally, and that is why I’m here trying to resolve this business conflict.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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Even though you purchased insurance, even for theft, your act of leaving the keys in the vehicle most likely voided that insurance. I am sorry you put yourself in a position where you were arrested for an outstanding warrant. I would look in your local area for legal aid, you may be able to get free legal help. Also look at law schools.

However, the car rental company was without the vehicle and could not rent it while it was not returned and not reported stolen. You may want to write a brief, polite, letter, one executive at a time, waiting a week in between each, asking for a reduced settlement. You may get further if you offer to pay something rather than asking them to write the entire balance off.

Asking what any of us would have done is counter productive, as my first response is to not have a parole violation. It also asks us to look back with a clear understanding of what should have happened, but not necessarily having a clear head while needing to make multiple decisions in a very short amount of time. I may have kept the keys with me and then used the first jail phone call to contact a responsible friend who could come pick up the keys, return the vehicle, and if they could not find the vehicle, call the rental agency and report it stolen.
Parole violations are not breaking the penal code. It’s the most grey area in law. I don’t know when I’m committing a parole violation and neither would you. An example, a blanket rule is...no law inforcment badges, outfits, costumes, no surveillance equipment, no police scanners etc.
Well...when my vehicle was searched (of the dozen times) a drone was in my trunk as well as a GoPro camera. They were not connected. A judge ruled I COULD have used it for surveillance and had to spend 90 days in jail without the option of bailing out to go court in the interim. I know this is a tangent, but I bring it up to educate others and clarify that parole violations are what you as taxpayer fund.
Yes I need a lawyer, but I will still lose. My only hope is corporate decides not to charge me or my credit card disputes the charge successfully. The insurance was in-house and have no incentive to cover this fee.
Lastly, they should have gave me back my property that was in the vehicle.
 
Jun 13, 2018
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I understand your point of view that you felt your options were limited. I don't know what I would have done in your situation. I know I would not have left the keys in the car because if they were visiable it would be a temptation to take the car. I might have mailed the keys to the car rental office with a note saying the car is located at X. I am unable to return it myself. In that event you may only owe a few extra days but the rental place would have their car back.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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People taken into custody often have a cascading series of other problems, with work, residence, relationships, etc. Our OP wrote here about one such instance. Sometimes, when folks are charged with a crime, they have time or the necessary support network to handle those challenges. Other times they do not. Our role here is to help consumers advocate their own cases, and we have suggested to our OP that he pursue the contacts for the rental agency available on this site, and/or speak with an attorney.

Several states (including New York and California) are now experimenting with changes to their bail systems in reflection, in part, of the effect of custody on other aspects of the defendant's life. Whether those changes will remain, be expanded, or be cut back, is unknown. Those changes in California might not have helped our OP on a parole violation, or perhaps he would have been allowed back on the street (and able to return the car) until a Court decided whether his conduct was a violation of a condition of parole.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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The OP needs to consult with an attorney. That is the only time person that can give him the proper advice in this situation and take action on behalf of the OP if the insurance should have helped.
This is correct. If the car was stolen, and theft was covered in the insurance, then the fact that the car was recovered does not negate the fact that the car was stolen - which is what they are charging him for, not for any damages to the car (apparently.)
 
Oct 18, 2018
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In reviewing this in retrospect, I too think some information is missing. Did the OP get stopped while driving the rental car and therefore went directly into custody and then jail for parole violation? Or did he go for a scheduled court hearing for violation of parole and then get sent directly to jail from court? If the latter, then why not turn in the rental before the hearing? Was he in San Francisco for the purpose of the court hearing?
Also I don't see anything here about the OP being charged for stealing the car, just being held financially responsible for it's "use" subsequent to beginning the rental period. Perhaps the choice will be: pay for the extended rental or be accused of car theft. Now that might clarify his best course of action!
 
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Mike Z

Jan 8, 2015
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The whole "Friend authorization" thing is a complete red herring that I don't see has any legal basis for an argument because the friend NEVER TOUCHED THE CAR. It would be the same as one of you telling me I could drive your car, that it is in the street in front of your house, then telling me I'm responsible for damages to it from a hit and run, even if I never actually used the car.

Was it stupid to leave the car unlocked and with the keys? Yes. Does that change the fact it was stolen? Nope.

If one doesn't have funds for a lawyer I would be contacting the insurance company and also making contact with the people listed as company contacts. Someone can step in and o the right thing here, and it shouldn't take a lawyer to make it happen.