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MJ advice (legal kind)


rmoore1031
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Wanted to start this off with a big thank you CC members for everything you all do.

Not to long ago my XJ sold to a CC member and we was VERY gracious on delivery conditions with me.

Plus he saved the XJ from my local repair shop from keeping/scrapping it since I couldn't afford the shop bill.

 

Now I could use some advice, the legal kind, on my MJ.

With the XJ gone, I need my MJ to be my new DD/work truck. Easy right? Well it gets complicated. (Story starts with XJ still running fine, not in shop)

I had the MJ posted here and everywhere online. Had one buyer lined up in NY not too far from where it was being stored.

Buyer agrees to a time and date. So I hit the road and give him a heads up, hey I'm two hours away. He backs out and I have no second buyer lined up.

So now I'm stuck in a conundrum. Do I keep the MJ in storage? Do I trailer it home with no affordable storage? Or do I help a friend and let him use it? ....

 

I decide to let my friend use it on his farm. This seemed like the safest and most thrifty option. MJ wasn't registered, so it'll stay on the farm.

Friend falls in love with it especially for with 7 foot bed, good torque, looks, etc...

Friend decides to buy it but doesn't have the cash. So we set up a payment arrangement.

He sends me some money, about two or three times.

Then all of sudden, no contact. His phone is out of service, no money is being sent, can't reach him through anyone we know.

Obviously I get mad, but there is nothing I can do, short of driving to NY from CT.

So I send up going to NY for other reasons and stop by his farm. MJ isn't there...

Gives me a sob story about the phone, money, and lack of truck.

Short story is he took the truck into town, with no plates, and got pulled over so now it is in impound.

I figure out where impound is and ask how much is storage fee. They say $55 a day.

It has been there over a month. So 55x30=1500+ for a $500 truck...

So now I'm ever more mad at him. Still haven't received anymore money and truck is impounded still.

 

I'm asking for any advice you guys have.

I still have the title but no key.

Do I sue my friend?

Do I ask impound to work a deal on the bill? (Title would be hard to get for impound guys in NY)

Do I take this as a huge loss and life lesson?

Is there another option that I don't know about?

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No matter what you decide to do - there is a life lesson to be learned:  No good deed goes unpunished.

 

Long time ago, when I was 22 - wife and I loaned our old 1961 Ford Falcon to a friend.  Friend totaled the car, no offer to pay for it, just "Sorry".  He simply did not have any money.  We just moved on and were a little more careful about loaning our cars.  Still did it, but we were more aware of the risks.  About 5 years ago, I loaned the Comanche to a friend who lived in Tijuana.  Truck was stolen from his house.  Got it back, he saw to it the truck got fixed.  I still had to buy new wheels and tires.  He is still my friend today.

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That's a true life lesson. Like it wasn't that long ago I was homeless in the winter with a pregnant girlfriend. So I've tried my best to help others where I can. You know like karma and such. But this is just one case where I got burned badly. I seriously can't help most people anymore. Of course this wasn't the first time something like this happened either. But at least your Comanche story went pretty well :)

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It's a bummer you already contacted the tow lot about the truck.  I'd have suggested that you report the MJ stolen.  When it got entered into CCIC/NCIC as a steal, the VIN would have popped up that it had been impounded.  Being a Victim, you would have likely not had to pay impound fees, at least not the full amount, likely a tow fee.  

 

At this point, you can try to get the impound lot to have empathy and reduce their fees.  Beyond that, it comes down to how much you're willing to pay to get it back.

 

Suing the guy that you loaned it to probably won't go far in Civil court.  Given that he isn't doing well financially himself, you'll not likely see money from him......ever.

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I'm asking for any advice you guys have.

I still have the title but no key.

Do I sue my friend?

Do I ask impound to work a deal on the bill? (Title would be hard to get for impound guys in NY)

Do I take this as a huge loss and life lesson?

Is there another option that I don't know about?

 

I've never heard of an impound yard that would cut any deals, but you can always ask.

 

IMHO you should sue your FORMER friend. He certainly didn't do you any favors. You won't get anything, of course, but it'll send a message. It only costs a filing fee to sue in small claims court, and I believe you can have notice of the suit delivered by registered mail. (I'm not sure about that.) More than likely he won't bother to appear at the hearing, since he's in another state, so you'll win automatically.

 

The problem is, you'll get an award in Connecticut, and then you'll have to do something to have it enforced in New York. I don't know how that would work, and that's why you probably won't actually collect anything. The legal costs of transferring the judgment to New York could be as much as whatever you get in the award.

 

Overall, it sounds like a hard and expensive lesson.

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Learned it long ago, only borrow small dollar items for free. Big ticket items can still be borrowed, but only for something of equal value in return. Most folks have no problem with the concept seeing as we all learn to share in school.

 

Does he own anything you'd be interested in trading for the truck? About the only way to still be friends here is if he gives you something that you feel the MJ is worth and you can sign the truck over to him in return. Wipe your hands of the situation and enforce to him that this IS his problem.

 

Otherwise, your days as friends are over.

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I would first sue, for the point of the matter and hopefully scare your friend into doing the right thing and getting it back. Unfortunately I also think that it will not hold up in court. For one because you have no written documentation of the agreement. But, it will give some sort of proof to the towing company that you are not at fault and possibly work with you. Also as far as the tow company is concerned, you are wrong about the title. If that truck sits on their property for a allotted amount of time they officially OWN it. Happens all the time. Getting a title is not that hard even across states, its just a matter of paper work and sometimes a lot of time. Something that the tow company owner probably tells his office worker to do once a year for vehicles that have been sitting on his lot for that mount of time for him to legally own it. Most of the time they HAVE to do this other wise their lots get full of vehicles that haven't moved in years and are out of space. Second they can turn around and sell the car and its basically free income.

 

I almost bought my first jeep this way. It was a 1995 YJ with a small lift and 33s in pretty good shape. I knew a diesel mechanic that did extra jobs on the weekends. He got to know one of the owners of a tow company here in town and they had a "business relationship". When the owner wasn't making that much money in a month or needed to come up with some major cash for repairs to his tow trucks he would grab one of the vehicles out of his lot that he now officially owned, have my buddy do what ever he needed to do to get it running down the road and then sell it. The story on the YJ was that it was a college kids and the fuel pump went out on it while it was parked at one of his friends apartments. After a couple of days the apartment towed it because it was not a vehicle registered with one of the tenants in the apartment complex. The kid found out it had been towed and told the tow company to keep it because, "it was broke and a POS old $#!&ty Jeep" (which actually it was still in very good shape with only 90,000 miles.). So then it set up in the tow yard for about 3 years is what I was told and then the owner sent it to my buddy to fix and sell for him with a commission price. He put a new fuel pump in it and replaced a gasket or two and the thing ran like a top! Besides the flat spots in the tires from sitting. My buddy then called me up and told me about it cause he new that I wanted a jeep and was looking for one. He said, "you better make it good offer on it quick before the owner knows I got it running, because once he hears it running the price is going to go way up." He told me that when he picked it up to fix it the tow company owner was wanting to get 3k for it. Well I couldn't make it that evening to look at it that evening that my buddy got it running but I did the next day. Of course by then the guy already new it was running. I offered what I thought was a very fair $4900. The owner of the tow truck company literally laughed at me and said, "No way man. Thats to low. Ill probably throw some chrome on it and sell it on craigslist for $10-12." I just said good luck and have never looked back.  Anyway the point of that whole story is don't plan on the mj being there too long.... cause you will not own it anymore in a heart beat. Do what you can to get it back asap.

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Just curious. You said he made a couple payments. How much did you get out of him before this happened?

 

Taking him to court sounds like a waste of time tome. Doesn't sound like you have good proof of your deal with him and like stated probably would never see a dime if you win anyway. Personal choice there, if it feels right do it.

 

Yes, "easy" for tow companies to get a title for anything after sitting for X amount of time and doing the paperwork. I would certainly try and deal with the tow company though. Explain the situation, they can look up who the driver was when it got towed verses the fact you are legal owner. They won't just give it back for free, but if they are decent they will cut a guy a break. Reality is, they will do the math on how much will they get for it for scrap or resale, verses how much you're willing to pay.

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Don't know what the process is for the tow company in N.Y.  But in Calif. the tow company will auction the truck off for unpaid fees.  At the acution may be your best chance to buy the truck back for a reasonable price.

 

I don't know of any tow truck company that will listen to people's sob stories.  Everybody they meet has a bad luck story.  The company has the car owner by the short hairs and they want their money.  Just business with them. Plain and simple.

 

As for taking your friend to court - well that takes time, money and effort on your part.  You had a $500 truck, you got some $$ from your friend, All you will gain is $500 less what he paid you.  So, less than $400 - IF you can collect?  Me - I have no time for that.

 

Get something of value from your friend?  Maybe, but does he have something of value?  Not likely.

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It's a bummer you already contacted the tow lot about the truck.  I'd have suggested that you report the MJ stolen.  When it got entered into CCIC/NCIC as a steal, the VIN would have popped up that it had been impounded.  Being a Victim, you would have likely not had to pay impound fees, at least not the full amount, likely a tow fee.  

 

At this point, you can try to get the impound lot to have empathy and reduce their fees.  Beyond that, it comes down to how much you're willing to pay to get it back.

 

Suing the guy that you loaned it to probably won't go far in Civil court.  Given that he isn't doing well financially himself, you'll not likely see money from him......ever.

 

I didn't give them any of my info so I have considered contacting the police about it being stolen. I was hoping the same thing about reduced fees. Good points about civil suit, its more to prove a point.

 

I'm asking for any advice you guys have.

I still have the title but no key.

Do I sue my friend?

Do I ask impound to work a deal on the bill? (Title would be hard to get for impound guys in NY)

Do I take this as a huge loss and life lesson?

Is there another option that I don't know about?

 

I've never heard of an impound yard that would cut any deals, but you can always ask.

 

IMHO you should sue your FORMER friend. He certainly didn't do you any favors. You won't get anything, of course, but it'll send a message. It only costs a filing fee to sue in small claims court, and I believe you can have notice of the suit delivered by registered mail. (I'm not sure about that.) More than likely he won't bother to appear at the hearing, since he's in another state, so you'll win automatically.

 

The problem is, you'll get an award in Connecticut, and then you'll have to do something to have it enforced in New York. I don't know how that would work, and that's why you probably won't actually collect anything. The legal costs of transferring the judgment to New York could be as much as whatever you get in the award.

 

Overall, it sounds like a hard and expensive lesson.

 

 

I agree, with everything you said. It'll be a hell of a lesson for both of us.

Learned it long ago, only borrow small dollar items for free. Big ticket items can still be borrowed, but only for something of equal value in return. Most folks have no problem with the concept seeing as we all learn to share in school.

 

Does he own anything you'd be interested in trading for the truck? About the only way to still be friends here is if he gives you something that you feel the MJ is worth and you can sign the truck over to him in return. Wipe your hands of the situation and enforce to him that this IS his problem.

 

Otherwise, your days as friends are over.

 

Good advice too. He has a Ram truck with a blown head gasket, a Harley Davidson that is not registered, and a Honda Big Red. Ram is worth nothing to be and I don't know how to drive the other two lol. But they are worth more and have more collectors and value.

I would first sue, for the point of the matter and hopefully scare your friend into doing the right thing and getting it back. Unfortunately I also think that it will not hold up in court. For one because you have no written documentation of the agreement. But, it will give some sort of proof to the towing company that you are not at fault and possibly work with you. Also as far as the tow company is concerned, you are wrong about the title. If that truck sits on their property for a allotted amount of time they officially OWN it. Happens all the time. Getting a title is not that hard even across states, its just a matter of paper work and sometimes a lot of time. Something that the tow company owner probably tells his office worker to do once a year for vehicles that have been sitting on his lot for that mount of time for him to legally own it. Most of the time they HAVE to do this other wise their lots get full of vehicles that haven't moved in years and are out of space. Second they can turn around and sell the car and its basically free income.

 

I almost bought my first jeep this way. It was a 1995 YJ with a small lift and 33s in pretty good shape. I knew a diesel mechanic that did extra jobs on the weekends. He got to know one of the owners of a tow company here in town and they had a "business relationship". When the owner wasn't making that much money in a month or needed to come up with some major cash for repairs to his tow trucks he would grab one of the vehicles out of his lot that he now officially owned, have my buddy do what ever he needed to do to get it running down the road and then sell it. The story on the YJ was that it was a college kids and the fuel pump went out on it while it was parked at one of his friends apartments. After a couple of days the apartment towed it because it was not a vehicle registered with one of the tenants in the apartment complex. The kid found out it had been towed and told the tow company to keep it because, "it was broke and a POS old $#!&ty Jeep" (which actually it was still in very good shape with only 90,000 miles.). So then it set up in the tow yard for about 3 years is what I was told and then the owner sent it to my buddy to fix and sell for him with a commission price. He put a new fuel pump in it and replaced a gasket or two and the thing ran like a top! Besides the flat spots in the tires from sitting. My buddy then called me up and told me about it cause he new that I wanted a jeep and was looking for one. He said, "you better make it good offer on it quick before the owner knows I got it running, because once he hears it running the price is going to go way up." He told me that when he picked it up to fix it the tow company owner was wanting to get 3k for it. Well I couldn't make it that evening to look at it that evening that my buddy got it running but I did the next day. Of course by then the guy already new it was running. I offered what I thought was a very fair $4900. The owner of the tow truck company literally laughed at me and said, "No way man. Thats to low. Ill probably throw some chrome on it and sell it on craigslist for $10-12." I just said good luck and have never looked back.  Anyway the point of that whole story is don't plan on the mj being there too long.... cause you will not own it anymore in a heart beat. Do what you can to get it back asap.

 

Interesting story. My statement about the title was poorly written. In NY, I believe, it is hard to obtain titles. Even for shops. Especially without it being registered and no way as of yet to contact the owner (me). Now I could be completely wrong and you are right, and they could start paperwork any second. And supposedly my friend has the keys so the tow guys have no way to start the truck. With it being an 89, I imagine a steering column would be fairly easy to swap or even an ignition of a similar XJ etc...

Just curious. You said he made a couple payments. How much did you get out of him before this happened?

 

Taking him to court sounds like a waste of time tome. Doesn't sound like you have good proof of your deal with him and like stated probably would never see a dime if you win anyway. Personal choice there, if it feels right do it.

 

Yes, "easy" for tow companies to get a title for anything after sitting for X amount of time and doing the paperwork. I would certainly try and deal with the tow company though. Explain the situation, they can look up who the driver was when it got towed verses the fact you are legal owner. They won't just give it back for free, but if they are decent they will cut a guy a break. Reality is, they will do the math on how much will they get for it for scrap or resale, verses how much you're willing to pay.

 

My phone that had my notes is now dead. But I will estimate about 200-250 was received by me at most. Money was wired so I should have kept the receipts from money wire, but I never do, bad habit. 

I also agree they won't give it back for free, but I'll have to give my sob story. Army veteran, new father, going to school soon, need to get to doctor appointments... I hate asking for anymore help, but its all true. I think I'll contact them about the situation and arrange payment.

Don't know what the process is for the tow company in N.Y.  But in Calif. the tow company will auction the truck off for unpaid fees.  At the acution may be your best chance to buy the truck back for a reasonable price.

 

I don't know of any tow truck company that will listen to people's sob stories.  Everybody they meet has a bad luck story.  The company has the car owner by the short hairs and they want their money.  Just business with them. Plain and simple.

 

As for taking your friend to court - well that takes time, money and effort on your part.  You had a $500 truck, you got some $$ from your friend, All you will gain is $500 less what he paid you.  So, less than $400 - IF you can collect?  Me - I have no time for that.

 

Get something of value from your friend?  Maybe, but does he have something of value?  Not likely.

That might be possible at auction, if its a public auction and not a private/dealer auction. Good point on sob stories, you don't call tow company generally when things are good lol. 

I see what you are saying about court. I valued the truck higher than $500, but the Jeep community doesn't lol. We had agreed on a higher price and hence his few payments, totaling around $200-$250ish.

I currently have time to sue, but don't have the filing fee or gas to do it at the moment. 

Toward the top of this MultiQuote I listed what he owns of value. A Ram truck with blown head gasket, Harley Davidson, and a Honda Big Red trike. Ram is essentially worthless to me. Harley I can't drive, but is worth good money. Honda Big Red I can't drive either, but they have a good collector/nostalgic value, especially in CT. Big Red would be closest to my price and easiest to flip and transport.

 

Thanks for all the advice guys, it has really helped settle my mind in the 12 or so hours I posted this thread. This is a great community. You all never fail to help when it is needed.

Even if I never get this MJ back, I'll be on here for when I get another MJ...

(BTW first attempt at a MultiQuote, hope it worked well!!) 

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Connecticut small claims court forms: http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/super/smallclaims.htm

 

You do not need a lawyer. In fact, for small claims court you are not allowed to use a lawyer.

 

Everything you need to know about small claims court in Connecticut: http://www.jud.ct.gov/Search/JudSearch.aspx?col=allconn&qp1=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qs1=&qc=&ws=0&qm=0&st=1&nh=20&lk=1&rf=0&oq=&rq=0&qp2=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qp3=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qs2=&qp=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qs=&SinglePane=Y&qt=small+claims+court&Search.x=16&Search.y=4

 

The filing fee is $90. You can serve notice on the defendant by priority mail with delivery confirmation or by certified mail with return receipt requested.

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As far as the towing company goes, I honestly would phone them and say "Hey, you know the truck isn't worth $500. I will pay you for the tow, but not the impound fees. That way you at least get your cost out of it."

 

Or something like that. Here the tow yards have lots of vehicles that aren't worth a thing that they can't sell for anything because they don't have the title.

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Connecticut small claims court forms: http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/super/smallclaims.htm

 

You do not need a lawyer. In fact, for small claims court you are not allowed to use a lawyer.

 

Everything you need to know about small claims court in Connecticut: http://www.jud.ct.gov/Search/JudSearch.aspx?col=allconn&qp1=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qs1=&qc=&ws=0&qm=0&st=1&nh=20&lk=1&rf=0&oq=&rq=0&qp2=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qp3=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qs2=&qp=url%3Awww.jud.ct.gov&qs=&SinglePane=Y&qt=small+claims+court&Search.x=16&Search.y=4

 

The filing fee is $90. You can serve notice on the defendant by priority mail with delivery confirmation or by certified mail with return receipt requested.

 

Excellent help. Much appreciated. I trust certified mail the most, costs a few extra dollars, but worth the extra cost. Thanks again :)

As far as the towing company goes, I honestly would phone them and say "Hey, you know the truck isn't worth $500. I will pay you for the tow, but not the impound fees. That way you at least get your cost out of it."

 

Or something like that. Here the tow yards have lots of vehicles that aren't worth a thing that they can't sell for anything because they don't have the title.

Also excellent advice. I plan on doing that in the morning. Pretty much gonna say exactly that lol. They are a big company so maybe I can use that to my advantage too. Thanks again.

 

Current plan:

Call the friend after this post is up. (He has been sending my calls to voicemail, which isn't set up.

Assuming it goes to non-working voicemail, send a follow up text after the call.

Call the tow company about making a deal on just paying for the tow on payday.

If that call goes well, let him know that I need the keys mailed by certified mail.

If this works out, then I might just avoid small claims court. But might do it anyway for the headache it'll cause.

 

As always, thanks again guys :)

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Cut your losses, beat his @$$, call it good.

Good advice, but I can't take it lol. Let's just say I need to stay out of trouble now.

Update: nothing follows. I'm a sucker for trying to keep a friendship. He answered a text today but no calls. I might as well go through with the plan to call impound for a deal.

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Definitely keep contact (documented) with the tow company.  They can't legally submit for title to own and sell it if you're continuously laying claim to the truck AND trying to settle the financial obligation reasonably.

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Definitely keep contact (documented) with the tow company. They can't legally submit for title to own and sell it if you're continuously laying claim to the truck AND trying to settle the financial obligation reasonably.

Smart idea too. Thanks for that. Best I can do is call them and keep the call log as proof. I could also send certify mail to verify what kind of terms we agree to. And I'll use a money order for payment and keep the receipt. Seems the best way to verify everything with them.

 

Now I haven't made contact with tow company. A more important issue has arised. Since my parents took me in I have been doing okay on finances for the most part. Well their apartment was condemned by the town. Let's just say there is no water there anymore. Landlord has to pay for their room and I'm not on the lease. So I'm not supposed to stay at the motel. Which makes my fiancé, baby girl, and I homeless again. Things are better this time being homeless. It may be record high (give or take some degrees) now in May. Which is far better than negative 20 in NY. I don't have the XJ anymore, and the MJ is clearly what this thread is about. But I can use my parents' Ford sedan or Jeep TJ as I need. I also have a great job lead which should come through any day now. So things are far better now.

 

As always, thanks for the help, advice and support CC guys!

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