Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pants on Fire #2

Some people are really so stupid, they make dirt look smart.

I had a repo job that the client'd been hounding me to get done for ages. Deadbeat debtor had been moving from one town to the next, and every time they find her current whereabouts, she'd always had a bunch of excuses. Now the'd found a new address for her.

You know how much I hate doing repos. This pretty much sums up why.

So I turn up to the residential address in the early evening. It's been a long day where I'd had attended a number of out-of-town jobs that had otherwise been lying around waiting for my attention. I'd almost repossessed the wrong $100,000 tractor, but that's another story.

Straight away the debtor comes out of the house. I explain why I am there and already the excuses tumble from her lips.

"The goods are in storage in another city", she helpfully explains.


"I don't know, they're with my father who is looking after them."  (She'd earlier told the creditor that the goods were with her father in a totally different city).

"So you are telling me that none of the goods in this warrant are inside the house?"

"No. This is my Aunt's house."

Then the Debtor launched into a long spiel regarding her recent surgery for cancer and that while she knew that she'd fallen behind in payments she would like to get back on track. She'd applied for a number of jobs and had an appointment the following day which she felt confident of getting...

Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies.

Looking through the window I spy a TV looking exactly like one mentioned in the Warrant. Then out steps a weasel-faced gentleman of short stature who is apparantly the boyfriend. Clearly he wants to take charge of the situation and, in his weaselly voice, tells us that that TV is his and we can fuck off.

I inform them that as I have right of entry under the relevant Act, I will enter the property to ensure that the items stated in the Warrant are not there. If they do not allow me entry, it is obstruction, and may be punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, and I will just call the police to attend and enter the premises anyway.

The Debtor says that her Aunt wouldn't want me just coming in and so could I come back the following day? No, I say. But I reasonably point out that if the items are in storage, she has no reason to be concerned.

Weasel tells me to call the fucking police.

Which I do.

I wait out on the street until three cars turn up. It's obviously a slow night in this rural town. My partner, Pedro, recognises several of his former colleagues and they have a chinwag about old times as I return to the house with two officers.

Weasel was not very happy at all and, if looks could kill, I'd probably be very much still alive because no-one could take murderous glances from a man the size of a 12-yo boy seriously.

Well, once inside the house I check the backs of the various applianced in the warrant. How strange - it appeared that all the stickers with serials or barcodes had been scratched out so as to be unreadable. Brilliant move there chaps!

Except that our intrepid heroes forgot that electronic devices also have manufacturer serials.

So, no, words to the contrary, that TV was not actually Weasel's after all. But there was one very major problem... the warrant had a typo regarding the manufacturer's serial (XXX661 instead of XXX61). Obviously it was the right item, but somewhat dodgy grounds for effecting the repo with incorrect paperwork. Particularly with the police in attendance.

Rather than let the debtor and Weasel know this, I grandly informed them that while I had identified the TV, home theatre, fridge/freezer, and washing machine as items on the Warrant - I would give the Debtor another day to try and make a last minute deal with the Creditor or make some other arrangements regarding the food in the freezer.

In actual fact I'd attended without closely reading the Warrant in advance and noting that I'd need a trailer to move everything. There was no hire place in this town that was open in the evening, so I would have to return.

Before leaving, I note the couches in the lounge. The Debtor is quick to tell me that they are not the couches in the Warrant.

"Are you sure?" I ask.

"Absolutely" she assures me.

I lift up  couch and there is a sticker with the Creditor's serial. It matches one on the Warrant. The other couch has no sticker and while it is oviously the other (same brand), I decide that I cannot take it.

Now, you are probably thinking that I was foolish to leave all this property in the residence for another day as it will probably all be gone by the next morning.

Yes, I was thinking that too. However, with a wink to me, the police officer suggested that the Debtor officially relinquish the goods into my possession pending future arrangements. If I returned to the property and the goods were not here, the Debtor may have some criminal charges of theft to account for.

So I had the debtor scrawl a note giving me possession of the various items, including the TV which Weasel had been so insistent was his.

This ploy worked out well because the Debtor could not come to an acceptable arrangement and I returned the following day with a truck and the goods were still there. Thankfully.

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