Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Towed and Sold
A lawsuit has been filed over a car that was towed and then sold by the towing company, but this car isn't just any old clunker. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- If your car breaks down or is damaged in an accident, a tow truck driver can be a real hero, but if you're towed for almost any other reason, not so much.
Scott Weiselberg, Attorney: "The tow and storage fees are insignificant. I think in this case they were probably $2,500."
That's a lot of money for most of us, but when you're talking about a Ferrari those fees might not seem all that high.
Carmel Cafiero: "The Ferrari was towed from this Fort Lauderdale home. The owner says he left it here when he and his girlfriend parted ways."
And now, this lawsuit has been filed over what happened next. The girlfriend arranged for Safari Towing to pick up the car from her home. It advertises that it specializes in handling exotic cars.
Scott Weiselberg: "This is a 2004 Ferrari Spider. It was a $225,000 car back in 2004 when it was purchased. The blue book on a vehicle like this is still in the $150,000 range."
Attorney Scott Weiselberg represents the owner of the car who has since returned to his home in California.
The man who owns the Ferrari, Derrick Chapman, told me by phone that he was willing to come get the car and pay the towing company's bill.
Derrick Chapman: "When I got the notice it was already too late, the vehicle had already been sold."
The law allows tow companies to sell vehicles if they are not claimed after 35 days. The lawsuit says Safari Towing sent Chapman this notice that his car would be sold at 8:00 a.m. on October 9th, but when Chapman called on September 26th, almost two weeks before the sale date, he says he was told he was too late.
Derrick Chapman: "Well I thought it must have been a mistake, because the letter I received said the vehicle was going to be sold October 9th."
According to the lawsuit, the tow company sold the Ferrari to itself and is currently the registered owner of the Ferrari. As you might expect Chapman wants his car back.
Scott Weiselberg: "At no time prior to October 9th pursuant to the notice letter that the Florida Statue requires should this vehicle ever have been sold at auction."
Safari Towing is located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. We have been unable to get a comment from anyone representing the company, although an unidentified man who answered the phone told me everything was done properly and he doesn't know where the Ferrari is now.
Derrick Chapman hopes the lawsuit will put him back in the drivers seat.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: