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Old car... New problem


Halbard
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Two years of things going well, and now... something new...

I recently had an item land on my credit report. A lawyers office put just over 2,000 in default on my report. when I contacted them, they said I owed it to a local towing company. After ALOT of legwork (the towing company just hung up, refusing to answer any questions at all) I found out that a car I sold in the year 2000 was towed from somewhere, by this towing company. they could not contact the current owner, and so they went to DMV and got the previous owner's info. this information had my old address. they then put over $2,000 into the car (which books out at about $400) and sold it, and are now trying to get me to pay the full ammount they did not recoup in the sale and towing, storage, etc. I appologize for leaving out some information... but I am piecing this together still. At no point did they make any contact by phone or mail... in fact, the address they were given by DMV was not the address that mail was sent out to. They "accidently" transposed two numbers, and added a 0 at the end... virtually assuring that any and all mail would be returned, even if the address wasn't seven plus years old.

Any advice as to how I should proceed on this issue, or as to how I should persue getting this removed from my credit would be appreciated.

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Why are you worried about your credit report...aren't you more concerned about this bogus $2,000 debt???

Had some scum-sucking, sleazy, low-life company did this to me I'd be calling every attorney in the phone book until I found one that was really hungry.

They may well be guilty of criminal actions here - fraud, extortion (mail fraud - how about using the U.S. mail to do so!!!) and other nice terms come to mind. These aXXholes aren't guilty of simple mistakes; this is a deliberate attempt to defraud you of your money when they KNOW you don't owe it.

I wouldn't quit until I owned this towing company.

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Sadly... yeah. first thought was of my credit report. :)

Also, the dates of this whole thing threw me off. It hit my report in March of 2008. This origional date of the debt.... is May of 2006.

This is sounding more and more like fraud. I think your right Robert... but I hat einvolving Lawyers.... always seems to cost more in the end.

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Sadly... yeah. first thought was of my credit report. :)

Also, the dates of this whole thing threw me off. It hit my report in March of 2008. This origional date of the debt.... is May of 2006.

This is sounding more and more like fraud. I think your right Robert... but I hat einvolving Lawyers.... always seems to cost more in the end.

I hate attorney's too - until I need one...however this is more of a police matter than a private attorney matter don't you think?

IF you've already got some of the evidence to support what these guys did; all you need to do is to get your local DA interested.

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When you sell a car, one of the most important things you can do is take the title out of your name and put it into the buyer's name. If you drop the ball on that, you're still on the hook for what happens with the car.

But the default should be able to be reopened on the basis of the bad address and the lack of actual notice, and then the reaonsableness and necessity and lack of mitigation of all the charges can be addressed.

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When you sell a car, one of the most important things you can do is take the title out of your name and put it into the buyer's name. If you drop the ball on that, you're still on the hook for what happens with the car.

I would agree, in general, but where did you get the impression that the OP didn't take his/her name off the title?

This towing company found out who owned the car before by going to the DMV - those records will always exist; changing the name on the title to the current owner would not change the ownership history of the car.

I don't see any way the OP owes a dime to this towing company and I still think this towing company has committed a criminal act.

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I had almost the exact same thing this last Jan, only they did not sell the car they wanted towing and almost 3 yrs storage, quite the tidy little profit. Yes, they are gone now, may rear up again who knows.

Document yourself, meaning show how easy it is to actually find you with reasonable search efforts, do a search on "doctrine of unclean hands" good luck!

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I would agree, in general, but where did you get the impression that the OP didn't take his/her name off the title?

This towing company found out who owned the car before by going to the DMV - those records will always exist; changing the name on the title to the current owner would not change the ownership history of the car.

I got that impression because towing companies don't do this sort of thing when they don't have a shred of legality to stand on ... and that would be the case if the new owner were properly registered on the title. Ergo, the sale must never have been properly handled.

Y'know, I've sold three cars to private parties. Only in the case of the party who knew little english did I actually go down to the tag agency with him and make sure that the transfer was accomplished correctly. In the other cases I took a wad of cash, signed over the title and assumed that the buyer's self-interest (and need for a tag) would cause them to go get the thing registered. And I'm a lawyer. Whaddya think the layman is going to do?

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You are assuming the consummer was lax here, I'm assuming the towing company is a slime-ball company; only the OP knows whether the title was properly switched to the new owner's name.

We also don't know "how" the car was sold (private party, trade-in, etc.)...but we do know the transaction happened in 2000. I'm sure each state is a little different but every state I've lived in (several) you could not get tags for a vehicle without it being titled in your name and/or a PoA so I would think that since 2000, the new owner/current owner of the vehicle must have purchased several tags since then...if the current owner was forging the OPs name to get tags then that person would be guilty of a crime as well.

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Halbard: I'd suggest you file documentation with the CRA's to claim fraud and get this off your CR. You can then make a decision to deal with, or ignore, the towing company after they no longer impact your financial life.

Reference the FCRA 1681c-s, Subsection 605B for a list of items to send to the CRA's. One of the items is a valid ID Theft report, although you are claiming fraud, not ID Theft. The definition of a valid report can be found at 1681a, Subsection 603(q). This passage gives the reason for a valid report and alternatives to lazy, local police who dislike taking reports for consumers.

The FTC website also has an affidavit which suffices for #3 & #4 on the list. You can find it by following 'credit' links at www.ftc.gov. A statement from you also works just as well.

Then you can follow the 'battle of the titans' going on here and make the best decision that suits you. Be aware that sending the above mentioned paperwork will result in a temporary Fraud Alert being placed on your Consumer Files with all CRA's. This may make it more difficult to obtain credit during the following 90 days. Just a heads up about that contingency. I wish you luck!

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You are assuming the consummer was lax here, I'm assuming the towing company is a slime-ball company; only the OP knows whether the title was properly switched to the new owner's name.

We also don't know "how" the car was sold (private party, trade-in, etc.)...but we do know the transaction happened in 2000. I'm sure each state is a little different but every state I've lived in (several) you could not get tags for a vehicle without it being titled in your name and/or a PoA so I would think that since 2000, the new owner/current owner of the vehicle must have purchased several tags since then...if the current owner was forging the OPs name to get tags then that person would be guilty of a crime as well.

I lived for 10 years in Miami, where the order of the day was the switched VIN, the stolen tag, the stolen car left parked in a rural field for a few days to make sure it wasn't lo-jacked. Does it seem a stretch for a car to be out there 6 years without a proper title in the name of the actual owner? Yes. Could it happen? Sadly, the answer to that is also yes.

But any attorney should know that there's no liability on the prior owner of a vehicle. So there must have been some reason to think that the OP was the actual owner and could and should be held responsible for the charges.

So I think the judgment is more important than the credit report, and that vacating the judgment and fighting the case is crucial. The CRAs have done nothing wrong, and unless it can be shown that there's a sale on record I don't think the towing company or lawyer committed any fraud.

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I think you are assuming facts not in evidence here!

1. Maybe I missed it but I saw no mention by the OP of a "judgment"???

2. Second, while I understand your logic, I still think it's an assumption which isn't warranted based on what we actually do know. The OP said that when they couldn't contact the current owner they went to the DMV to find the prior owner - clearly, the DMV would be able to tell the towing company who had owned the vehicle before and that's true whether the title had been properly transferred or not. That being the case, I see no reason to assume the title wasn't transferred properly.

While the "towing company" business is generally operated on the "up and up", there are PLENTY of them out there who would have absolutely NO problem going after anyone they thought they could get money out of.

Based on the other things the OP related about this towing company, I suspect this company is one of the ones who don't mind bending or outright breaking the law if it suites their purposes.

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"Lawyers office" + "default" = Judgment

= jumping to conclusions based on termonology from someone who probably doesn't recognize the significance of those terms in this setting :)

"lawyers offices" contact debtors all the time but are nothing more than a colelction agency.

I think it would be prudent to ask to OP to clarify whether there is a judgment or not before everyone starts telling him/her how to address it.

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No gone... just didnt want to post before I found out some (although not much) more information. Trying to pin this down is getting more and more difficult.

DMV did tell me that the vehicle was registered to another person after me, and before the vehicle was towed. They cannot give me any information except it was "someone". They also confirmed for me that when someone (ie, a towing company or lawyers office) calls in with legal right to access vehicle information, they do provide current personal information to them. So the towing company was provided my current Nevada information, and chose to send mail to a seven year old address, which they butchered.

There is no judgement... as far as I know. this is merely showing as a line on my report for unpaid debt. The lawyers office is has refused any information. I just sent out a DV letter, so we'll see what happens there.

Sorry to take so long in responding :)

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Also... if I file a fraud complaint, will that fly as a perminant solution? Or is that more of a temporary stop gap to get it off the report. They will undoubtedly report it as legitimate once the agencies query them, and I am lacking in the way of proof, since DMV will not provide me anything other then a report saying I used to own the vehicle. I'm not really concerned about the short term problems it will cause. I just want these lines OFF. damnit, was ALMOST to 650. this towing company and lawyer have me back to 573.

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"...report...permanent...OR...temporary..."

It's both. Sending the required documentation triggers a temporary (90-day) Fraud Alert. Actually, this triggers if you merely dispute 'ID Theft', sometimes even when you dispute as 'not mine'. And the CRA's are quite serious about notifying each other and you, of your rights under the law. You may luck out and get the TL suppressed this way. But...

To permanently place a FA or to specifically block any account associated with ID Theft, the CRA's insist on getting a proper ID Theft report. The definition, and reason, can be found in the FCRA 1681a, Subsection 603(q).

I can't imagine you'd have any more problems after sending all the required stuff. Your situation seems so clear. The full list of required docs can be found in 1681c-2, Subsection 605B. The FTC website (www.ftc.gov) has an affidavit form you can fill in that will suffice for #3 & #4. Your own written statement also works just as well.

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