Imagine buying your dream car from ebay, marvelling at the price of it and how easy it was to purchase, now imagine if your worst nightmare became true, as law abiding citizens, you had a knock on the door from the police telling you that your brand new dream vehicle, was in fact stolen.
Linda and Phil Whitwood have been left with thousands of pounds worth of debt after unbeknownst to them; the car they bought from ebay was actually stolen. The bargain car, which was a £6,700 Mazda M6 turned out to have been stolen from a rental company and they have been left to pay the overdue rental bills.
The couple, who are from Stretford had bought the two year old Mazda from a private seller based in Rochdale just days before Linda, was expecting their second child. They even paid for an online check to ensure that the car hadn’t been reported stolen. Though it turned out to be one of 14 vehicles belonging to a car hire company from Northgate, which had been leased from a fictional company and then sold on. A fortnight after their purchase they were flabbergasted when police knocked at their door. Phil, who works for a paper disposal firm and Linda, who is a housing worker said that the nightmare ruined the first precious weeks with their 10 week old daughter.
So do the couple have any rights for accidentally buying the stolen car?
Linda explained that the couple believed that they had done everything right, including paying for a HPI check, which came back completely clear. It was Linda’s due date when the police knocked on the door and instead of preparing for a lovely time but everything has been ruined. The couple were told that they would be covered by their home or car insurance, though she disgustingly stated that nobody pays out for a scam like this. The couple stressed that they don’t have this kind of money and now don’t even have a car, they are looking for a solicitor to help advise the couple. They both said that they feel completely lost by what has happened.
The couple, who also have a child aged three had originally gone to Manchester Crown Court to argue their case that they had bought the car in good faith. However a judge ordered that they had to return the car and the couple, who represented themselves in Court, were also ordered to pay the £1,165 legal costs owed to the firm. They were also ordered to pay £1,160 in hire costs from the day they were first told to give the car back.
Bernadette Stonier, who was the judge in the case exclaimed that she did sympathise with the couple, though the law on ownership was clear, she stated again to the couple that she did not want them to think she had no sympathy for them. She said however, she must apply the law in this case.
Police are still investigating the incident and it has come to light that the Rochdale residence that was used by the Fraudsters was of course a rented property. The people behind the fraud even forged extremely convincing V5 ownership forms, using documents that had been stolen from the DVLA. The online theft check that the couple has originally taken out was clear due to the fact the vehicles had not been reported stolen.