British Columbia·CBC Investigates

'I was in utter disbelief': Man sues RBC after high-performance car seized

Tage Kendall is suing RBC after it seized his high performance car claiming he was a co-signer on a defaulted loan. He says he's never done any business with RBC and has never co-signed a loan. The bank and repossession company returned the car to him with no explanation.

Tage Kendall says he's never done business with the Royal Bank of Canada

Tage Kendall in front of his 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI after it was seized from his underground parkade. (Martin Diotte/CBC)

A Vancouver man is suing the Royal Bank of Canada, alleging it contracted a collection company to seize his beloved high-performance sedan, even though he says he's never had any dealings with the bank.

Tage Kendall, 29, said he hasn't had an account or loan with any branch of RBC. He says he owned his car free and clear of any liens when — out of the blue — a Surrey repossession company contacted him last June.

The company told him his Subaru Impreza WRX STI would be seized because of a defaulted loan.

'Completely blindsided'

The news shocked him, but he dismissed the warning because his car was paid for. He's now suing RBC for the wages lost when he had to fly home from his job in Yukon to deal with the seized car.

He's also seeking to recover the cost of a car cover that went missing, and general damages totalling just over $35,000.

"I was in utter disbelief and felt completely blindsided," Kendall said, adding his car is his "pride and joy."

Tage Kendall with his 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI in his underground parkade. (Martin Diotte/CBC)

Kendall said he told the company the repossession was unacceptable, stressing he was the registered owner and had proof of purchase.

"It's paid for and it's mine," he wrote to the repossession company.

RBC sincerely regret

In a statement to CBC News, RBC says it regrets any "frustrations and inconvenience" Kendall experienced, explaining that "due to an error, a lien was registered to the incorrect vehicle. As soon as we became aware of this error, we worked with Mr. Kendall to have his car returned to him."

Even though he has his car back, Kendall says he's taking legal action because of the manner in which he was treated.

He describes his car as his "most prized possession ... l worked extremely hard to acquire it since they are rare vehicles."

RBC admits it made a mistake when it instructed the Surrey repossession company to seize the car. The bank says when it realized the error, it returned the car to the owner. (Martin Diotte/CBC)

In the suit, filed Sept. 26, Kendall alleges that "RBC negligently failed to verify ... the owner of the Subaru before they took collection action against the Claimant and was in breach of their statutory or common law requirement to verify the ownership of collateral for their loans."

Timeline

The dispute began in June 2018 with a Facebook message from the Surrey collection company to Kendall. The company told Kendall, who works as a miner in Yukon two weeks of each month, that it was about to repossess his car.

Kendall replied to the company that it must be mistaken. He also said he was suspicious of the message because it arrived via Facebook.

A few weeks later, in early July, while Kendall was away working, he received a call from his building manager who told him a bailiff was at the building demanding access to the underground parking to seize the car.

The car was towed and the repossession company told Kendall the vehicle would be sold at auction in 21 days.  

Kendall immediately took a leave from his job and booked a flight to Vancouver to deal with what the court documents allege was  the "unlawful seizure of the Subaru."

Tage Kendall's 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI that was seized from his underground parkade. (Martin Diotte/CBC)

Kendall says that's when he learned that the repossession company's client was RBC, and the basis for the seizure was a default on a debt by a person who named him as a co-signer on the Subaru.

But Kendall says he was not a co-signer. And if he was listed, it was without his knowledge.

He says he contacted the bank trying to straighten things out, but the bank refused to show him any of the paperwork that had purportedly been signed.

Returned without explanation

Kendall says the collection company returned the car with no explanation on July 11.

The statement of claim says on the same day the car was returned, RBC gave him a letter stating that it had no interest in the Subaru.

In a statement to CBC News, RBC said it is "working with Mr. Kendall to fully resolve this issue."

Kendall's allegations have not been proven in court and a statement of defence has not been filed.

With files from Belle Puri

If you have a story idea for our team, you can reach us at investigate@cbc.ca

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