General Question

TLRobinson's avatar

What's the reasonable and fair thing to do when you were in the possession of someone else's car, and it was stolen?

Asked by TLRobinson (2370points) March 5th, 2010 from iPhone

My friends 20 year old son was driving her exhusbands car and went to a gym to play basketball; while playing, someone stole his keys and ultimately the car. The car was uninsured and he is still making monthly payments.

Please provide ideas on what would be the fair thing for her to do; no commentary needed on the insurance issue or other observations.

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22 Answers

davidbetterman's avatar

Cease payments immediately. It is not the son’s fault that someone stole the keys and then the car.

marinelife's avatar

She should (actually the young man should) continue with the payments.

Is there any chance of getting the car back?

TLRobinson's avatar

@marinelife- I don’t think so. Should she pay half the car note?

netgrrl's avatar

If I buy something on time, and before I pay it off, it’s stolen, I’m still liable for the full amount of the loan.

What other way is there to look at it?

TLRobinson's avatar

@netgrrl- know that. But my friends exhusband is liable, she just feels compelled to make some type of restitution; since her son was in possession of the car.

john65pennington's avatar

First, i would hope that someone made out a police report. second, when you borrow anything, you are ultimately responsible and liable for its safe return or restitution. this incident described, involves a criminal act as well as possible civil litigation. check the web for the bluebook value of the car and compare this price to the actual amount owed on the stolen vehicle. the finance company is going to have to be satisfied first. are you positive this is actually what happened to the vehicle or was there maybe a drug deal involved?

netgrrl's avatar

Ah. I misunderstood. Well legally she isn’t liable, obviously. The rest is solely up to her. Personally I wouldn’t be able to help feeling badly about it, but I wouldn’t feel responsible for the theft unless I’d done something stupid like leaving the keys in the car.

Now, if I had a smaller price item a friend had loaned me, and it was stolen while in my possession, I would feel bound to replace it.

(I’m imagining a scenario where I borrowed a $1,000 necklace from a friend for the evening. We might make an agreement beforehand about possible loss or damages while it was in my possession – assuming there was no insurance in the item.)

TLRobinson's avatar

@john65pennington- where is the drug deal inquiry coming from? That’s an extreme stretch.

lilikoi's avatar

How did the keys get stolen? Did he leave them in the car?

Is the ex-husband also the kid’s father?

The ex-husband is ultimately responsible. I’m thinking the kid should get a job and pay the father half of whatever is left on the loan. What a bummer situation!

And were there any witnesses? Maybe someone saw who took the keys or car. Maybe it was one of his friends? Are you certain you’ll never see it again?

TLRobinson's avatar

@lilikoi- pretty certain we’ll never see it intact. He had the keys wrapped in a sweatshirt. Someone obviously was watching him. The ex is not the biological father, but has helped raise him since he was very small. There were witnesses but no ones talking.

netgrrl's avatar

You know, all I can think of is if I loaned my car to someone and it was stolen through no real fault of their own, I wouldn’t expect them to pay off the car.

marinelife's avatar

If she wants to help out her son, she could offer to pay half the car note, but I hope you don’t mean her ex-husband would pay the other half.

That way, her son does not lose anything and does not gain a valuable life lesson.

TLRobinson's avatar

I agree with you @marinelife.

john65pennington's avatar

TLRobinson….....people attempt to make a stolen auto report to the police, when in reality, they traded their vehicle for a hit of cocaine and a promise to buy it back tomorrow. when this does not occur, they call the police to report their vehicle stolen. people do this all the time and the police are wise to it and never make a report. i am not saying this is what happened in this incident, but one has to wonder.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Isn’t illegal in most states to drive/own a car that’s being driven without car insurance? I don’t think the son is liable for anything. The exhusband shouldn’t have lent it out if he knew he didn’t have insurance. How do you know he didn’t have a friend “steal” the car to get the money from his ex-wife?

thriftymaid's avatar

The guy owes the owner a car, period. If mom wants to pay her ex-husband for her son, great. But ex-husband is due the value of that car.

davidbetterman's avatar

Baloney. Ex-husband shouldn’t be loaning his uninsured car out. It is his car, and the loss is his responsibility.

jca's avatar

it’s not clear from the person that asked the question: was the car loaned to the kid or did the kid take the car without permission?

YARNLADY's avatar

If the owner chooses not to carry insurance, that is his business. The fact that someone else had the car when it was stolen does not change anything. The owner decided not to purchase protection, not the son. The son owes nothing.

jca's avatar

it has been my experience that when the bank “owns” the car (in other words, you owe money to the bank that gave you the auto loan) then you must carry insurance on the car, at least in my state – New York State. i know the asker is not interested in hearing about insurance issues, but i don’t understand owing money on a car and having no insurance on it.

Supacase's avatar

@jca I was thinking the same thing. We just bought a car and the bank requires us to have full coverage insurance for the full term of the loan.

dabbler's avatar

it’s not her car, it’s her ex-huband’s. Presumably the son and ex-husband had some agreement for him to use the car. The ex should take responsibility for the arrangement with the son and for his choice not to have insurance and the friend should stay out of it. Unless there is more to the story and the friend is involved in why the son is driving that car. I.e why does she feel compelled to do something fair or otherwise ?

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