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Old 16.11.2013, 03:09
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Warning to car owners - theft

If you own a car in Switzerland, please note the following:
  1. Do NOT leave your registration document in the car! The Swiss say to do it, but instead, carry it on your person (I'll explain why later)
  2. NEVER hand your keys to someone or allow anyone to borrow or test drive your car. Ok, not practical, but if you are selling your car, stay in it if someone would like to drive it.
  3. Swiss Insurance doesn't cover THEFT if they consider it Fraud.
  4. The Swiss police are unfamiliar with and unequipped to deal with cases of theft through deception. They also are very LETHARGIC about investigating or following through on anything like fraud.
  5. If you sell your car and the person doesn't pay, the collections process (Zahlungsbefel throught the Betreibungsamt) is expensive, and may not result in getting anything.
Ok, now the specifics... I had to move back to the States in June, and was unable to sell my car prior to leaving. An Austrian co-worker and native German-speaker agreed to help me by posting the car on autoscout. A man name Marco Sala from Basel went to see the car in Zug and came back two weeks later to see it again. He indicated that he wanted to have a mechanic look at the car, and if all was okay he would purchase the car. My coworker allowed Marco Sala to drive away with the car. Later, Sala called and said it checked out and offered a lower price to my co-worker, who called me. I accepted the price, but did not give permission for Marco Sala to be in possession of the vehicle until I was paid. Marco Sala stopped returning phone calls and e-mails, and did not wire the money.

A few days later, my coworker learned that my plates were returned to Zug, and that Marco Sala registered my car in his name in Basel. How? Since the registration was left in the vehicle by my co-worker, Marco Sala of Basel was able to register the car, without any proof that it was transferred to him legally. DON'T LEAVE YOUR REGISTRATION IN THE CAR!

After trying to get Marco Sala to return the car or pay the money unsuccessfully, my co-worker went to the Zug Police to report the theft. I called the insurance company, Die Mobiliar, who promptly informed me that if the keys were handed to Marco Sala, the car was not stolen, but rather "embezzled" and the SWISS INSURANCE DOESN'T COVER THIS TYPE OF THEFT. Basically, they say I have a contract dispute.

The Zug Police took about 4 weeks to contact Basel, who took another 3 weeks to locate and question Marco Sala. He told them that he paid me and had no liquidity problems. That was good enough for them, so they bid him a good day, bought him a beer and pat him on the back for screwing an American. Ok, they told him to send evidence of payment to the prosecutor, then they went on their way. Over 2 weeks have passed, and no evidence of payment has been provided. The police would not give me, the injured party, any information. My attorney in Zug contacted the police officer (Kybur) who was unhelpful and sent him to the Prosector. The Prosecutor insisted on a written request, which was submitted, and today received the answer that he should schedule an appointment in mid-December to review the file, as the Prosecutor was preparing take a vacation for a couple of weeks.

Simultaneously, I decided to follow the official collections process. First, we sent a registered letter to Marco Sala which was never retrieved. Next, we filed a claim in Basel for the price of the car, and estimated attorney fees. These are sent by the local Betreibungsamt via registered mail. giving the person 10 days to dispute the amount claimed. After 3 weeks, my attorney informed me that the Basel Betreibungsamt was really busy and hadn't attempted. When they finally did, the letter was never retrieved. I am told in such instances the police are sent to serve the paperwork, but nothing happened for about 3 additional weeks. After the Basel Police questioned Marco Sala, he was ultimately served with the collection notice, which he disputed. So now what?

The next step is an arbitration meeting, where he is not required to provide any evidence, or do anything other than show-up. If he shows up and declines to pay, the mediator will give us permission to take the matter to court. I have spent 2,200 CHF on the attorney thus far, and today he estimates that if he goes to the arbitration, and then goes to court, I can expect to pay him an additional 5,000 CHF. He also believes there is a high probability that if we are successful in court, Marco Sala will declare insolvency, leaving me without a car, without the money for the car, and out 7,200 CHF in legal fees.

The Swiss seem to think that I should just let it go and allow this despicable individual to have my car for free, after all, there is no crime in Switzerland.

MARCO SALA is a dirty, low-life scumbag. He is truly lucky that an ocean separates us now, as I would now gladly seek him out and show him how a Texas boy handles people like him.
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Old 16.11.2013, 06:06
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

oef that sucks to hear man. do you still have a spare key by chance? (and simply take the car back...) granted your coworker made the mistake of leaving the card in there without any form of payment. (normally you give the card and leave the card with you until paid) ....

I would be on a plane and getting that car back....how much money are we talking about?

I just had my truck gone through yesterday.... so upsetting the world is full of thieves

Again sorry to hear that
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Old 16.11.2013, 08:03
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

Agreed, if you have a spare key, just go and steal it back again.
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Old 16.11.2013, 08:11
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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........ He also believes there is a high probability that if we are successful in court, Marco Sala will declare insolvency, leaving me without a car, without the money for the car, and out 7,200 CHF in legal fees.
At that point - there will be an inventory of assets, these assets may then be forcibly sold, and if the bill is not fully covered - the court will order that an amount be deducted from salary until it is paid.

Follow the proceedings. Unless he has paid, and someone else is screwing you, then you will get your money (including legal and court fees) it may just take a little bit of time.
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Old 16.11.2013, 08:41
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

There is still a problem: if he sells the car to a relative or a friend for Sfr 100,-- it is no longer in his pocession, but he can still use it, as a favour from a friend.

If you have the original receipt for the car, and spare keys, just steal it back. You tell the Zug traffic office it was stolen, show them the original receipt and get new registration papers. Then let Mr Sala prove it is his property.
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Old 16.11.2013, 08:51
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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  1. NEVER hand your keys to someone or allow anyone to borrow or test drive your car. Ok, not practical, but if you are selling your car, stay in it if someone would like to drive it.


Sorry, I'm not trying to add insult to injury, but for me this is the first rule of selling a car privately. You always accompany on the test drive. Don't hand over the keys until you're both in the car, and ask that they be handed back the second you're finished with the test drive.

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Old 16.11.2013, 09:02
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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There is still a problem: if he sells the car to a relative or a friend for Sfr 100,-- it is no longer in his pocession, but he can still use it, as a favour from a friend.
Wouldn't that be sale of stolen goods, and the friend could get done for receiving stolen goods?
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Old 16.11.2013, 09:22
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

So you handed the car over to someone who was not the legal owner to sell it who in turn let someone drive it without accompanying them who then didnt pay and had the papers for the car. This trick for stealing cars has been around for years and is global stunt pulled on amateur sellers

The new guy has the papers and is in the best position to prove ownership now.

Surely it would not have been hard to walk up to a garage and sell it prior to leaving even if you accepted less for a fire sale. You basically gave the car away and most insurance companies globally wouldnt pay for this crazy act.
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Old 16.11.2013, 09:36
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

Public implied threats of violence (even from across the pond) are not a good idea.
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Old 16.11.2013, 09:43
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

it was a brilliant idea to open a couple of threads in the complaints corner too. we've got the point

edit: please remove the thread to protect the OP for his own actions
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Old 16.11.2013, 09:53
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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. He is truly lucky that an ocean separates us now, as I would now gladly seek him out and show him how a Texas boy handles people like him.
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Old 16.11.2013, 09:59
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

Your friends prior to let him drive told him about everything i guess: the owner is in Texas and is desperate selling it etc.....giving him appetite to just take the car.
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Old 16.11.2013, 10:11
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

I would love to change the title of your thread to "warning to expats" - beware of coworkers.

The number of people I know who have to come to me to fix a situation in which a well-meaning co-worker supposedly helped them is mind boggling.

This is what happens when one is too cheap to use professional services and prefers to rely on friends and co-workers.

To the OP, your co-worker is a moron for allowing someone to drive away with the car.
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Old 16.11.2013, 10:27
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

I just keep a photocopy of the registration document in the car, but be aware that if you have a jobsworth police control check they can fine you about 25chf for not having it in the car.. as I found out
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Old 16.11.2013, 10:59
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

he could probably get the car re-registered with the grey card too, I'd say.

and no insurance would cover you.

you'll probably win and get the car back.....
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Old 16.11.2013, 11:17
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

The question that has to be asked is, will the legal fees end up being more than the car is worth.
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Old 16.11.2013, 11:20
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

and what happens when mr marco wakes up one morning to find that someone had " stolen" the car whilst he was sleeping and "accidently" leaving the keys in the car.
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Old 16.11.2013, 11:26
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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he could probably get the car re-registered with the grey card too, I'd say.

and no insurance would cover you.

you'll probably win and get the car back.....
It's not clear the OP will win at all, the 'buyer 's says he paid, he has the car & it's registered in his name.
So it's the co workers word against the 'buyer', the 'buyer' will say the co worker kept the money.

Seems odd the lawyer has not pointed out the chance of success is rather small...
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Old 16.11.2013, 11:28
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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Seems odd the lawyer has not pointed out the chance of success is rather small...


whaaaattttt ? and deny the chance of making a huge amount of money ?
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Old 16.11.2013, 11:29
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Re: Warning to car owners - theft

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whaaaattttt ? and deny the chance of making a huge amount of money ?
This is Switzerland, lawyers are not very expensive, they don't really fight at all, the just push paper about.
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