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From the pound to destruction in less than a month: how to avoid this situation?

A motorist found out a little late that his car, which had been confiscated during his vacation, had been destroyed less than a month after the kidnapping. Here are some tips to avoid such a mishap.

It is a great classic when going on vacation or a long trip for professional reasons: leaving the car parked on the street in a free space. This is what he did recently and as usual Emmanuel Pastor, a resident of Biarritz, who parked his Ford Focus truck on November 15 on a street in the town of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, reports an article in Sud-Ouest. In early January, his car disappeared.

A car confiscated and then destroyed

Two scenarios in this case: robbery or kidnapping at the pound. The second hypothesis is quickly confirmed. Emmanuel, however, explains that he did not receive any notice or any other letter informing him of the kidnapping. When he went to the company’s facilities, he was informed that his vehicle had indeed been sent to the warehouse, but had since also been destroyed.

“I fell from a very high height!” he told our companions. A car, which was probably not very young anymore, but which he needed for his professional activity and which he kept in good general condition:

“It wasn’t very young, but it was very well maintained, up to date with its MOT and had just had its tires changed.”

Certified mail as the only warning.

Too bad about this Fiesta and its new tires. But the opportunity to discover that since 2021 a “national information system on car deposits” (SI Fourrières) has been created in France, with a new protocol regulating vehicle withdrawals.

In fact, only one human action is planned: the police officer who will request the removal of a vehicle by adding, from a tablet or smartphone, a descriptive sheet. Then everything happens automatically through software that goes from stage to stage until the vehicle is destroyed, if the owner does not show up.

This is what happened to Emmanuel Pastor: absent from home, he could not consult the certified letter sent to notify him that his vehicle was waiting for him in the impound lot. A few years earlier, they had contacted him by phone and he was able to arrange with a neighbor to transport his vehicle.

The certified mail was sent to him on November 23, his car was declared abandoned two weeks later and sent for destruction on December 22. According to him, it is the estimate of the value of the vehicle that decides its fate: for less than 756 euros, it is destined for destruction, otherwise it will be auctioned. An estimate that today is questioned by Emmanuel Pastor, who mentions an Argus value of his Focus still in the order of 4,000 euros.

The motorist can no longer consult the descriptive sheet requesting the removal of his vehicle, which could allow him to justify that its condition should not a priori lead to its destruction. The same happens with the certified letter, having exceeded the 15-day period to collect it at a post office. On the other hand, he received the ticket for disturbing the parking lot.

His letter sent to the Biarritz city council and the municipal police to denounce this situation has remained unanswered for the moment.

What to do to avoid this situation?

In fact, we must be aware that the search for incorrectly parked vehicles has become considerably tougher in recent years, in particular thanks to FPS (post-parking packages) and control using turn signals. And therefore also with this accelerated procedure which, as this example shows, can quickly lead a vehicle to destruction.

As a general rule, a vehicle cannot remain parked in the same place on the road for more than 7 consecutive days. But cities can decide on a shorter duration by order, 24 hours for example. In Biarritz, this period is 48 hours.

Duration that may vary depending on whether you are a resident or visitor: in Paris, for example, the maximum parking duration is 7 days for residents and 6 hours for visitors.

If you are going to be away for a while, you should plan ahead by leaving the key with someone who can move the vehicle at least every 7 days. We must also take into account that free spaces are increasingly scarce and that, therefore, we should favor public or private parking in the long term, but also, logically, plan the corresponding budget.

If your vehicle has disappeared from the place where you parked it, you can check if it has been sent to the depot through a teleservice using the license plate number, with a specific site for the city of Paris.

However, not all pounds are still connected to this teleservice and you then have to contact the nearest police station or gendarmerie: this site makes it easy to find the contact number based on a postal code or your location .

Beyond 3 days after removal, two possibilities for what is considered an “abandoned vehicle”: being classified as a vehicle that must be destroyed after a period of 10 days after notification of the seizure (by mail certified), the scenario experienced by Emmanuel Pastor, with the deadline reduced to 7 days in the case of an urban rodeo. Second option, the vehicle has a sufficiently high market value to be returned to the Domaines service, fifteen days after notification of the seizure, for sale or destruction.

The owner can intervene before this abandonment period ends, with repossession costs that vary depending on the city and type of vehicle. Rates that can be found on this page service-public.fr for the question “what are the seizure rates?”.

Beyond the abandonment deadline, there remains a small hope:

“If the Domaines service has put your vehicle up for sale, you can still recover it before it is sold. To do this, you will have to pay the listing fees to the Domaines service and the seizure fees to the depository,” details the public service information page.

Author: Julien Bonnet
Source: BFM TV

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