Pink Slip in Limbo? Another craigslist deal gone bad...what should I do?
July 2, 2012 10:59 PM Subscribe
So I was interested in this old Mercedes posted on craigslist and called the guy. He said it had just been crashed into in his driveway by his cousin and his insurance was "totaling" it; however it was really just cosmetic damage and there was a buyback option. The car would have "salvaged" on the title, but since he was getting paid by the insurance company, he would just let me have the car for whatever the buyback cost was. Called a few days later and he said that cost was $1000 less than the price he had originally advertised the car at, so I figured I might as well go look at it. Read on for the whole story...
posted by wavejumper to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The most convenient place to meet was at his work, which was ~1 hour drive from where I live.
The guy turned out to be a kid, 20 years old, and he was the general helper / car washer at some kind of somewhat sketchy factory / repair place. His dad, who was a mechanic, kept yelling at him to get back to work, while he was trying to sell it to me. Anyway, it seemed like a reasonable deal for a fixer-upper, certainly the damage (smashed but functioning headlights and smashed grillplate) could be restored for far less than $1000, and it was mechanically sound. The kid talked a good game, and the test drive seemed fine. He didn't have the pink slip on him; it was at his grandma's restaurant, but his dad was heading over there, so his dad picked it up for me and we signed it over along with a homemade bill-of-sale. I paid him cash. However, he told me that because of the insurance deal and salvaging, etc., he was going to receive a new pink slip in the mail and I shouldn't register the car with that old pink slip. He would deliver the new pink slip along with some hubcabs for me when the pink slip arrived in the mail.
At that point his dad was fed up and sent him back to work, it was up to me for some reason to clean out the car of his possessions, which included a gun wrapped in a sheet in the trunk, some old playboy magazines, an incredible number of lip balms of various kinds, and a huge amount of gross trash. Well, I was getting a good deal, so...all right.
Cut to the chase: the kid never sent me the revised pink slip. I called and txted him and turned out his phone number had been canceled by Verizon. It's now been almost a month.
I'm worried that the five day grace period for submitting the pink slip has passed, as well as by some other paperwork I found in the car suggesting that there were other issues between this kid and the DMV.
One other note: about ~1 week in to my ownership of the car, the super-friendly kid turned sour on me when I called and told him my mechanic thought the (new, installed by the kid) starter was defective...I asked him to send along a receipt for it along with the pink slip. The Kid went off on a text-tirade berating my mechanic and bragging about his dad's mechanical achievements and experience, etc. Haven't heard from him since.
I do have his driver's license number and an old address, which I mailed a letter to. No response. I don't think it's the correct address since it's in a different town than where the craigslist ad said he was living. I could also try to track him down at his work or call his workplace. Dad was non-too friendly so I don't know how that would go and am a bit wary for some reason.
Should I: a) attempt to wade into the California DMV registration process with a somewhat deficient certificate of title, b) track the guy down at work and ask him what's up, or c) some other option?