Re: Found an abandoned Volvo
Pat Quadlander wrote:
> I would go to the owner's address, tell them I'm interested in their car,
> try to find out if there is any lien or obligation on the car, and offer
> them $50 for the car, with title signed over to you. I might try to offer
> the additional incentive information that the car will likely get towed away
> eventually, with little likelihood that they will get anything. Be careful
> on this last point, as it inherently treads on ethical points. Be honest
> about your own interests.
> If they've really abandoned the car, your proposition of $50 to them adheres
> to the sound principle of a "win-win" game. No matter what the condition of
> the car, you will have at least $50 in value for you to use or part out as
> you please.
> After all, we are civilized Volvo owners, not GM SUV animals. (Just a
> little jest).
> "Gomer Einstein" <email@example.com> wrote in message
> > Been making monthly stops at a business for a year and a half, noticed
> > this clean, '86 760 Turbo Intercooled wagon always parked there, and
> > just figured it belonged to one of the employees.
> > Then it occured to me it never seemed to move, and on my last stop I
> > asked an employee about the car.
> > I was told that someone ababdoned it there more than a year ago. It's
> > still unlocked, with some little kids' toys and stuff in it--looked like
> > a mom's car.
> > They had called the cops about it a couple of times, but there it
> > still sits.
> > I took out the registration and called 411 to get a phone number
> > corresponding to the name, and was told it's unlisted; the address is
> > about 50 miles away.
> > The car has no rust or dents, every option, and 203k miles.
> > Obviously nobody cares about the car, and I want it, preferably for
> > little or nothing.
> > A car dealer friend of mine said the most sensible thing to do would
> > be to just go to the owner's residence (if they still live there) and
> > try to get the key, title, etc,. and find out the story on the car,
> > what's wrong with it, etc.
> > Which makes sense, BUT:
> > Maybe they're under the assumption that it's been towed and they are
> > now obligated for a bunch of fees for storage, towing, etc.
> > But that's not the case: The business owner has just let it sit
> > there, all this time. And I'm sure it will continue to, indefinitely.
> > I'd like suggestions on the optimal way for me to procure this car,
> > possibly getting it for nothing, without making a mis-step and botching
> > the whole thing.
Leaving a valuable car (with kids' toys!) abandoned for a year is a
nut-bar thing to do, and you should take this as a guide to the people
you will be dealing with. You will find yourself in the middle of some
hopelessly disfunctional mess, likely a broken marriage mired in spite,
mental health problems and (most relevant for you) legal wrangles that
prohibit any disposition of assets. Or perhaps the car represents a
horrible personal tragedy for them (hint: the kids toys); perhaps
they'd be glad to get rid of it, but maybe they will resent any mention
of it. I mean, ask yourself what it would take to make you walk away
from a perfectly good car.
Which is not to say it isn't worth a try, but I would not expect to
find a rational well-balanced person who's been just waiting for
someone to show up with $50.
I would also recommend that you offer them, if not book value,
something high enough that an impartial observer would not accuse you
of gross exploitation. Most of us would be happy to get a car for, say,
half its real worth, adjusted for the risk you're taking in not knowing
its history and the costs of renewing registration etc.