Car is being held illegally and racking up £35 a day storage charges! I was involved in an accident just over a month ago where a truck side swiped me and took me off the road. It is clearly the fault of the truck driver and they have admitted full liability. I then took the car to a body shop garage that is next to my mechanic and since I trust and value the work of my mechanic I thought I would get similar treatment at the body shop. This wasn’t the case. When I took the car to the body shop the owner went out of his way to ensure everything would be handled for me and at the time I seen this as a good thing. I was told that he would arrange for a like for like hire car and have the claim dealt with by a firm of solicitors who would handle the claim entirely from the third party. He told me he would take care of everything and I didn’t have to worry about a thing and that I would not have to lose my no claims bonus as he would have the solicitor recover all costs from the third party (the truck company). He also promised the car back to us within 2 to 4 weeks. I trusted the body shop and agreed for him to do the repair on the car. He then arranged the hire car which was the same model lower spec and looked like it had been in multiple accidents and had been repaired very poorly. I wasn’t best pleased but put up with it believing it would be a temporary solution while my car is repaired. A month goes by and nothing happens, I called and was told that he had not even started the work and was given excuses about it taking longer. I was angry and wanted to move the car into another garage I found that agreed to have the car back on the road to me that week. The body shop refused to release the car back to me without first receiving payment in full for hire car and storage charges. Hire at £80 a day for 28 days and storage at £35 a day for 28 days. The bill was £1200 for storage and £2800 for the hire car £4000 in total and no work had been carried out. The body shop claim to be a separate company to the hire car company and have no financial links to the solicitors but it is clear that they are all working together. Why else would he demand payment for the credit hire company as well as his own storage charges at the same time? Also the solicitors seem to be working in the interest of the garage and treating him as their client rather than myself. To me it seems like a well-rehearsed highly profitable [problem] ring with a thin veneer of legitimacy. It would not surprise me if they send cars out crashing them on purpose if the state of their hire car is anything to go by. I refused to pay and asked to see the paperwork that states the body shop can hold my car without payment and the agreed storage fees. A document that looks like it was forged by copy and pasting one of my other signatures from the hire car paperwork was produced very quickly and sent over to me via email. I have no memory of signing this at any point. I stated this to the solicitor and they immediately told the bodyshop and came back to me the next day saying that the garage would now release the car if I signed the paperwork agreeing to all storage fees and accept liability for full payment if not met by the third party. To me this absolutely stinks to high heaven of foul play and how the solicitors are working on behalf of the body shop and not me. If the shop already had the signed paperwork why would they insist on me signing it again? I demanded to see colour photos of all documents showing my wet ink signatures to validate the authenticity. This request has been ignored. I returned the hire car to them as soon as I found out they were a bunch of crooks but they still have my car and it is racking up charges with them of £35 a day and it’s now been 5 weeks. I am unsure now what I can do to recover my vehicle. The third party will not pay any charges until the claim is settled in full and speaking to them they said that they will certainly be disputing such high rates for both storage and hire. If I pay for the charges I will for sure not be able to recover anywhere near the proposed rates as storage is around £10-15 a day and hire has a maximum ABI rate of £54 a day on my vehicle type. I do not want to sign any paperwork with the garage that allows them to then screw me over down the line for unreasonable charges that the third party will not accept and this is what “my” solicitor is asking me to do. I was told not to go to my own insurance initially as they will be taking care of the full claim this in hindsight was the biggest mistake I made as my insurance would have had this sorted by now and I wouldn’t be at the mercy of these crooks. I have contact my insurance at a later date and they said that I am now locked in with the solicitor and that they cannot help in any way washing their hands of it all. I am unable to have the case passed to another lawyer as I have been warned that I would be liable for a further £4000 in solicitors’ fees at this point. The last thing I need on my hands is a legal battle with a dodgy firm of solicitors. I need to get this car back and into a garage that will repair it as soon as possible as I’m having to hire another car at my own expense, things are dragging on and the bills are getting scarily big. How can I get my car back? They haven’t provided me with proof that I signed the document they forged. Should I be going to the police? Will they help or fob it off as a civil matter? How can I deal with this and force the return of my own property? Any help is much appreciated.