All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

The Case Of The Disappearing Car

Exactly six months ago to the day, I wrote a post entitled The Cheek Of It which I would ask you to refer to before reading on, otherwise the following probably won't make a lot of sense.

At the end of June, I paid the garages' final invoice and I didn't end up being charged for the parking space. I had no need for a pretty incapacitated automobile, so I asked the manager to either try and sell the car off or scrap it. We left things at that.

Over the ensuing months, I heard not a peep from the garage. In all honesty, I was too preoccupied with my job to find the time to get in touch. I was however getting increasingly concerned about the status of the car, not least because according to the Drive and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), I am still the car's legal owner.

I decided to go over to the garage this morning to get an update. The manager told me that about ten days after they had received payment (i.e. around the 9th July), the car "disappeared" from the supermarket parking lot and the manager (a.k.a. the crook) had assumed that I had taken it away. Forget the fact that this might not be the case...why hadn't I been I contacted?

I went to the Police who suggested I find out if the supermarket had arranged for it to be removed and taken to a breakers' yard. After all, it was parked in one of their spaces.

Surprise surprise,The manager of the store didn't know anything about it, but told me that they hired a firm to remove cars they couldn't account for. It would therefore be a good idea to go to the breakers' yard to see if it had ended up there. Surely, they would have a record.

Of course, the said breakers' yard not only had no knowledge of my car but denied having any contacts whatsoever with the Supermarket! Things were starting to look pretty Kafkaesque.

I called up the Local Authority who also had no record of removing my car.
Somebody was lying. Let's be honest here, would thieves really drive off with a half broken 8-seater people mover? I think not. No-one's that desperate.

I made my way back to the police station, waited nearly two hours to see an officer and subsequently filed a stolen car report. The policeman suggested that the garage may have initially sold the car on. Now, why wouldn't that surprise me?

The good news is that I have now covered myself legally, by reporting the car as being stolen, which means the DVLA (hopefully) won't be chasing me to renew my road tax. The bad news is that I spent about six hours of my holiday time, driving around looking for clues as to the whereabouts of a car that might not exist any more....or if it does is probably being used as a getaway car somewhere in the north of the country.

I did NOT need this today.

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