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The Knimbies who say No

Friend Ripped Off On Car Sale

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A friend of a friend (I'll make it quite clear from the outset this is not me) sold his car via a garage, the garage never owned the car so I guess they just take a slice of commission on the sale price. Basically the guy who looked after the sale has refused to come up with the proceeds, or should I say has repeatedly stated they would come up with it but never has. Friend took a morning off work to pick up after talking to the guy on his mobile as arranged only to find the guy wasn't even working that day.

The garage in questions is owned by a company that operates 2 garages; friend has been in touch with main office (based at the other premesis) in the company only to be told that the guy who arranged the sale wasn't acting as an employee of theirs and he sometimes does bits and pieces on the side(this was not made clear when friend arranged to sell the car at the garage). So they are trying to distance themselves from his actions, which is a good sign imo as it suggests they realise they perhaps have some liability. He is being brushed off by the office people now who have said it is between him and this other person.

There is of course no paperwork to back any of this up(on either side). Friend now has no car and no money. He doesn't use his car which was the reason for the sale, and between a busy job and a lengthy commute he has little time to make calls/visits to the premesis.

Any ideas to get the money with minimal fuss?

I thought about calling the police as the lack of paperwork cuts both ways- this guy can't prove he had the authority to sell it. On the other hand it doesn't look good to hand over the car with no paperwork received in return.

Assuming the police are useless, would trading standards or a small claims court claim be in order? I think the sale price is known (the garage man called my friend to say the car had been sold).

Worst comes to worst a straightforward letter informing of an impending small claims action for the book value or the known sale price?

Any info/suggestions appreciated.

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Who has the log book?

Who signed it to say it was being sold?

A good question (I don't know the answer). What are the implications for the sale proceeds if the logbook was/was not present? If no logbook was handed over, could the car technically be registered as stolen if my friend called the police, which might offer a route to recovering the vehicle, if not the money?

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I think it is reasonable to presume that if you take your car to a garage and one of their employees accepts it and agrees to sell it that

they are working on behalf of the garage. If they didn't explicitly state they are selling it in a personal capacity and then did, perhaps

fraud?

I would send a Letter Before Action to the company to get them to confirm/deny stuff, maybe ask them if he has sold cars for them

in the past.... confirm they will be reporting it as fraud to the police etc.

Maybe also that they are going to the local newspaper to repeat all the facts to them.

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Yeah who has the logbook is important.

And where did the discussions about the sale take place? All on this garage's property?

I'll ask about the logbook, thanks.

All the discussions prior to sale took place on the garage's property, and subsequently (post-sale shananigans) mostly via mobile phone. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that they guy was working for the garage owning company rather than doing something on the side. The argument sort of falls apart anyway since the guy's car was placed on the garage's forecourt where it remained until sold.

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I think it is reasonable to presume that if you take your car to a garage and one of their employees accepts it and agrees to sell it that

they are working on behalf of the garage. If they didn't explicitly state they are selling it in a personal capacity and then did, perhaps

fraud?

I would send a Letter Before Action to the company to get them to confirm/deny stuff, maybe ask them if he has sold cars for them

in the past.... confirm they will be reporting it as fraud to the police etc.

Maybe also that they are going to the local newspaper to repeat all the facts to them.

Thanks for the response. Yeah, I'm keen to see if there are any other ways of getting them to see sense and cough up without legal threats, at least before being sure he would proceed and follow the legal process through having made the threat, or being fairly confident that they don't have a leg to stand on and would cave upon receipt of the letter.

I think the garage is the place to start, the guy himself is flaky, better to let the garage deal with a rough employee/trader operating out of their premesis themselves.

BTW the garage owners have at no point offered an apology or indicated that their processes need amending in light of the situation.

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As said, the garage may be the key to a solution here. Targeting the individual won't be easy without paperwork. But going after the garage will be a lot easier and there's a strong chance they'll have a word with this guy to avoid mess. I'd go after them by whatever angle works best.

I'd be interested to hear the technicalities involving the logbook in this situation though?

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Thanks for the response. Yeah, I'm keen to see if there are any other ways of getting them to see sense and cough up without legal threats, at least before being sure he would proceed and follow the legal process through having made the threat, or being fairly confident that they don't have a leg to stand on and would cave upon receipt of the letter.

I think the garage is the place to start, the guy himself is flaky, better to let the garage deal with a rough employee/trader operating out of their premesis themselves.

BTW the garage owners have at no point offered an apology or indicated that their processes need amending in light of the situation.

That would make me start with them then. They have assets that are easy to get at.

But the logbook issue will indicate the next action.

I like the link about false pretenses.

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The name on the log book is the "registered keeper" of the vehicle, and may not be the "beneficial owner" with title to it ,but we usually assume it is! :o

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A friend of a friend (I'll make it quite clear from the outset this is not me) sold his car via a garage, the garage never owned the car so I guess they just take a slice of commission on the sale price. Basically the guy who looked after the sale has refused to come up with the proceeds, or should I say has repeatedly stated they would come up with it but never has. Friend took a morning off work to pick up after talking to the guy on his mobile as arranged only to find the guy wasn't even working that day.

The garage in questions is owned by a company that operates 2 garages; friend has been in touch with main office (based at the other premesis) in the company only to be told that the guy who arranged the sale wasn't acting as an employee of theirs and he sometimes does bits and pieces on the side(this was not made clear when friend arranged to sell the car at the garage). So they are trying to distance themselves from his actions, which is a good sign imo as it suggests they realise they perhaps have some liability. He is being brushed off by the office people now who have said it is between him and this other person.

There is of course no paperwork to back any of this up(on either side). Friend now has no car and no money. He doesn't use his car which was the reason for the sale, and between a busy job and a lengthy commute he has little time to make calls/visits to the premesis.

Any ideas to get the money with minimal fuss?

I thought about calling the police as the lack of paperwork cuts both ways- this guy can't prove he had the authority to sell it. On the other hand it doesn't look good to hand over the car with no paperwork received in return.

Assuming the police are useless, would trading standards or a small claims court claim be in order? I think the sale price is known (the garage man called my friend to say the car had been sold).

Worst comes to worst a straightforward letter informing of an impending small claims action for the book value or the known sale price?

Any info/suggestions appreciated.

Threat of court action / court action asap

Its a very risky business letting a trader sell your property, saw a case a number of years ago where a trader was selling the massive motorhomes so beloved of boomers on a commission only basis , went bust after selling quite a few for cash

The owners became unsecured creditors and got nothing

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What was the relationship with your friend and the garage?

Is the salesman employed by the garage or self employed?

Was the agreement to sell the vehicle made at the garage and in normal operating times?

Was your friend under the impression that the car would be sold by the garage? If so why was this assumed?

You mention that the garage states the salesman sometimes does a bit on the side, did the salesman use the garage to facilitate the sale?

Did the person whom purchased the car buy it from the garage, or was he under the impression that it was purchased from the garage?

What paperwork was given to the person that purchased the vehicle?

From reading your post it seems that it could be a case of either fraud or theft on behalf of the salesman and or the garage. It's a tricky one and the lack of paperwork between both parties somewhat clouds the issue.

Your friend could contact Police or Trading Standards they can both visit the garage/salesman and ask the questions and locate the new keeper etc.

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Hmmm nothing in writing? I know its a bit late for that, but even so...

I can't believe that a garage would allow, without their knowledge, this bloke to sell a car (or cars) on their own forecourt, but only for his benefit...If I was a buyer, and the person selling it didn't have the V5, i'd be very wary (especially if your parting with a lot of dosh) and I would probably walk away...

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As MrPin rightly states, the V5 only signifies the Registered Keeper of the vehicle, and confers no ownership rights.

I have nothing much of use to add other than that, except to say that if the guy who sold the car can't now come up with the cash he's probably in real financial difficulties, so while your mate could easily win in the small claims court, and debatably get the guy in trouble with the police for deception or whatever, in reality he should probably start preparing to write off the loss, unless he can find and reclaim the vehicle from the person who bought it, and thus make it their problem :( .

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It's obviously too late now but if letting a dealer put your car on their forecourt on consignment you really need to be clear that title only passes once you're in receipt of cleared funds. Given instant bank transfers are now a reality there's no real reason it couldn't be organised during vehicle handover.

My take would be, based on the facts given, I think it would be pretty difficult for the dealer to wriggle out of liability but, it would need the resolve and resources to pursue it all the way legally. I would seriously consider just reporting the car stolen to the police and try and do so by giving them minimal details that points to a run of the mill theft without outright lying. They will find the car tout suite and then pick up the pieces from there.

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Hmmm nothing in writing? I know its a bit late for that, but even so...

I can't believe that a garage would allow, without their knowledge, this bloke to sell a car (or cars) on their own forecourt, but only for his benefit...If I was a buyer, and the person selling it didn't have the V5, i'd be very wary (especially if your parting with a lot of dosh) and I would probably walk away...

I suspect it may not be unusual a lot of sales staff won't be on a living wage without sales bonuses. If it's a sales dry spell I expect the owners are happy for them to hustle if it keeps them on the lot.

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I suspect it may not be unusual a lot of sales staff won't be on a living wage without sales bonuses. If it's a sales dry spell I expect the owners are happy for them to hustle if it keeps them on the lot.

..although wouldn't it open up some kind of liability for the garage owners, if the car goes bang within the first 3 months?

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As MrPin rightly states, the V5 only signifies the Registered Keeper of the vehicle, and confers no ownership rights.

I have nothing much of use to add other than that, except to say that if the guy who sold the car can't now come up with the cash he's probably in real financial difficulties, so while your mate could easily win in the small claims court, and debatably get the guy in trouble with the police for deception or whatever, in reality he should probably start preparing to write off the loss, unless he can find and reclaim the vehicle from the person who bought it, and thus make it their problem :( .

Easy solution to this: report the car stolen, recover it from the new 'owner' and let the police sort it out with the salesman. Worst case is you get a crime reference and claim on your insurance.

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Easy solution to this: report the car stolen, recover it from the new 'owner' and let the police sort it out with the salesman. Worst case is you get a crime reference and claim on your insurance.

so, Mr Bloggs, did you secure your car when you parked it on the garage forecourt?...ah I see, you handed the keys to the man you say stole it.....and you left it with him and told him to just get rid of it as you couldnt be bothered to put in a small ad?...

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so, Mr Bloggs, did you secure your car when you parked it on the garage forecourt?...ah I see, you handed the keys to the man you say stole it.....and you left it with him and told him to just get rid of it as you couldnt be bothered to put in a small ad?...

If I lent my brother my car and he sold it that would be theft. This is no different. No money = stolen car. You can't sell what isn't yours.

Besides, what is the real alternative here? Courts? Civil suit? For the hassle and length of time it will take it's worth the route of reporting it stolen. At the very least it spreads the hassle as both the salesman and the new 'owner' are likely to get a visit.

Who's to say the new 'owner' and the salesman aren't in cahoots? Salesman's mate gets a car at a seriously knockdown price, salesman pockets all the cash. Go to the police today. Report the car stolen, get a crime reference number and go to your insurance. Your premium will increase, but that's punishment for being so ******ing stupid.

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Who's to say the new 'owner' and the salesman aren't in cahoots? Salesman's mate gets a car at a seriously knockdown price, salesman pockets all the cash. Go to the police today. Report the car stolen, get a crime reference number and go to your insurance. Your premium will increase, but that's punishment for being so ******ing stupid. Ask for their advise.

Seems a more sensible first step.

If they turn around and say categorically that it is a civil matter I would try either citizens advice or no-win-no-fee with a view to court action /small claims depending on the value of the car.

I have no experience in this but it is probably what I would do realistically.

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