50 South Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
West Palm Beach Area:
Boca/ Delray/ Glades:
Toll Free 1-888-852-7362
February 5, 2015
Selling Your Car Privately
In today’s economy, many in Palm Beach County are selling their vehicles, boats or trailers privately. While you are avoiding the “middle man,” there are some pit falls that must be avoided to assure your old car doesn’t come back to haunt you and cost you.
Joe and Sandy Nelson decided to sell their old Chevy Van, so they placed an advertisement in their community paper. Tom, who worked in the Nelson's housing development, saw the advertisement and thought the van would be perfect for his job and growing family. He called the Nelsons and made arrangements to see the van that night.
The Nelsons were anxious to make a deal and offered to sell the van to Tom at a discounted price because he seemed like a nice guy. They even took Tom's personal check and signed over the title. Everybody seemed to get what they wanted.
About a year later, the Nelsons received a certified letter from a local towing company concerning their old van. The letter was a “Notice of Claim of Lien and Proposed Sale of Motor Vehicle or Vessel.” It detailed charges for towing fees totaling over $500! The notice referred to storage charges continuing to accumulate at the rate of $25 per day if the van was not claimed and the fees paid. Failure to pay the charges would mean the van would be sold at public auction. If the sale of the vehicle didn't cover the fees due the towing company, the Nelsons would be held responsible and could be prevented from registering a vehicle or securing a revalidation sticker for their car tag.
The Nelsons called the towing company immediately and discovered that the van was never properly registered with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Tom had apparently abandoned the van after it broke down, and the police department called the towing company to have it removed. Fortunately for the Nelsons, they were able to negotiate the charges, and the towing company took the van to the salvage yard for scrap. What could the Nelson's have done to prevent this?
If you have any additional questions, please contact our office and speak to the Investigator on duty.