Can a mechanic’s lien be put on a car if the titled owner did not request or approve any repairs?
My 26 year old son had my husband’s (his stepfather’s) truck towed to a mechanic’s shop to get an estimate to repair the transmission. Over the phone the mechanic shop told my son that it would cost about $2,500 to fix it. The mechanic shop gave him a phone number to call to try to get a loan, if needed, for the repairs. I do not know if the two businesses are affiliated or not. Regardless, he applied via phone, but was rejected. After my husband and son discussed it further they concluded that since the truck is so old, a 1997 Ford F150, and not of much value they would hold off on the repairs so they could try to find an alternative such as a used transmission that the same or another mechanic could install. He has been looking for a used transmission to no avail while the truck stayed at the mechanic’s shop. Yesterday, my husband went to pick up the UNREPAIRED truck and the shop owner said that the truck now belonged to him because it was left there so long. He claims that he sent a certified letter regarding the truck, but no one in my household signed for a letter. The shop owner says that he has filed a mechanic’s lien and will NOW repair the truck and sell it, or we could buy the truck back from him for $2500. To me there are several major issues. First, no one received or signed any sort of written estimate or contract to fix it. Second, even if the mechanic claims that there was a verbal agreement between him and my son, my son is NOT the titled owner of the truck. So, how could a lien be put on it. Third, the shop owner admitted to my husband in person at the shop that now that he had a lien he WILL fix it and sell it. According to the law I researched, a lien can be placed only for actual work done, not work after a lien is filed. Furthermore, other claims such as storage fees (which were never disclosed or agreed to) are not considered repairs and cannot be included in the lien. The truck is so old and of such little value that no one would invest $2500 in a transmission for it. I guess that is why the mechanic says that he will NOW fix it and sell it after he has gotten the lien. We received no phone calls, no letters, no written docs of any sort (the mechanic claims he sent a certified letter, but no one in my house signed for it.)
How do I proceed?