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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have this happen to them?

I sold a trailer for my dad the day after Christmas. The couple came and looked at it and then bought it for $1650. Wrote me a check. Me, being stupid, took the check and gave them the title. Trusted the people as they seemed honest.

The woman messaged me the next day and said they had questions on the trailer could I call them. I referred them to my father and gave them his number. They never called him.

Now they have stop payment on the check and still have the trailer. No communication whatsoever. Have had it for two weeks. Check returned last Monday. Just noticed yesterday as dad has been in the hospital and parents have not been home to look at checking account and have had other things on their mind.

What's my recourse? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
People sell stuff for people all the time. You don't need power of attorney. Check was made out to him. I am trying to get the money owed to my dad.
 

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A check is a legal and binding document. I would call them and give them until a certain date to either return the trailer or bring cash for the amount on the check or I would go to the police station What they did is a crime. I have had an experience with a bad check passed and I , after giving the check writer a date to make good on it, went to the police. It settled with him going to jail, as my check was not the only one written, and eventually was paid a percentage of what was owed. Canceling a check and keeping the trailer is a crime.
 

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I think the couple should be made aware of the below laws for the State of Nebraska. Have you been able to get ahold of them?

Defining Theft Under Nebraska Law


A person commits theft under Nebraska law by:
  • taking or exercising control over the movable property of another, with the intent to deprive the owner of the property, or
  • transferring immovable property of another -- or any interest in that property -- with the intent to benefit a person who is not entitled to the property. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-511.
Nebraska criminal statutes also identify a number of more specific theft offenses, including:
  • failing to return rented or leased property at the end of a lease or rental agreement (§ 28-511)
  • failing to return a leased or rented vehicle (§ 28-511)
  • using a fraudulent or stolen credit card to lease or rent a vehicle (§ 28-511)
  • theft by shoplifting (§ 28-511.01)
  • theft by deception (§ 28-512)
  • theft by extortion (§ 28-513)
  • theft of lost property, or property that has been delivered by mistake (§ 28-514)
  • theft of services (§ 28-515)
  • theft of telecommunications service (§ 28-515.01), and
  • theft by receiving stolen property (§ 28-517).
Classification of Theft Offenses and Penalties in Nebraska

Like many other states, Nebraska classifies most theft crimes based on the dollar value of the property involved. Let’s take a closer look at the different levels of theft under Nebraska law.
Class II Misdemeanor Theft.

Theft constitutes a Class II misdemeanor in Nebraska when the value of the property stolen is $200 or less. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(4). This is the lowest-level theft offense under Nebraska law (sometimes called "petty theft").
Theft of telecommunications devices is an example of a more specific theft crime that qualifies as a Class II misdemeanor in Nebraska. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-515.01.
A second conviction for theft at this level will bump the offense up to a Class I misdemeanor, and for a third or subsequent theft conviction at this level, the offender will be guilty of a Class IV felony. § 28-518(6). More on these classifications below.
In Nebraska, a Class II misdemeanor is punishable by no more than six months imprisonment or a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. § 28-106. There is no minimum term of imprisonment for a Class II misdemeanor under Nebraska law, and any sentence of imprisonment must be served at a county jail.
Class I Misdemeanor Theft.

Theft constitutes a Class I misdemeanor in Nebraska when the value of the property involved is more than $200 but less than $500, or when the offender has one prior conviction for the theft of property valued at less than $200. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(4).
After a second or subsequent conviction of theft at this level, the offender will be guilty of a Class IV felony. § 28-518(5).
In Nebraska, a Class I misdemeanor is punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. § 28-106. There is no minimum term of imprisonment for a Class I misdemeanor under Nebraska law, and any sentence of imprisonment must be served at a county jail.
Class IV Felony Theft.


Theft constitutes a Class IV felony in Nebraska when the value of the property stolen is at least $500, but not more than $1,500; and:
  • when it is a third or subsequent conviction for the theft of property valued at less than $200, or
  • when it is a second or subsequent conviction for the theft of property valued at between $200 and $500. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(2)
Under Nebraska law, a Class IV felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of no more than five years or a fine of no more than $10,000, or both. § 28-105. There is no minimum term of imprisonment for a Class IV felony. A sentence of incarceration for a Class IV felony must be served in an institution under the jurisdiction of the Department of Correctional Services if longer than one year, or in a county jail if less than one year.
Class III Felony Theft.

Theft constitutes a Class III felony in Nebraska when the value of the property involved is more than $1,500. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(1).
In Nebraska, a Class III felony is punishable by imprisonment for a minimum term of one year and a maximum term of 20 years, or a fine of up to $25,000, or both. § 28-105. A sentence of incarceration for a Class III felony under Nebraska law must be served in an institution under the jurisdiction of the Department of Correctional Services.
Civil Penalties for Theft Under Nebraska Law


In addition to criminal penalties, any person who commits shoplifting in Nebraska may be civilly liable to the store owner for any actual property damage or loss sustained as a direct result of the incident. That means the offender may be on the hook for:
  • the full retail value of the goods stolen
  • the cost of repair or replacement of the merchandise
  • court costs, and
  • reasonable attorney’s fees. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,194.
The parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits shoplifting also may be civilly liable to the property owner -- for the amounts detailed above -- so long as the child is under the age of 17 and living with the parent or legal guardian at the time of the shoplifting offense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My dad knows the county attorney and is going to see him today at 1:00. Due to his health, he does not want to deal with the stress of calling them and arguing over the phone. I am not an arguer either so I will let the county attorney handle it.

I am shocked that they have the audicity to just keep the trailer with no communication.

ETA: I don't want (and neither does my dad) the trailer back.
 

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Wow! The audacity of some people-hope the attorney can get the money from them, but you may have to re-sell the trailer if it comes back. Hope it is still in the condition you sold it.
 

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I hope this all works out for you! I do know that you should be extra careful dealing with people nowadays. I know first hand that there are very dishonest people who do these things to acquire horses, tack, and equipment. I boarded somewhere where the stable manager would get horses under a payment plan, then once she picked the horses up, she would never pay them again. It's crazy, and it stinks that people are that way, but I would have demanded a cashier's check or cash. Such a shame.
 

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I see a problem if you signed the title for your dad without legal authority. That, in itself, could be considered a crime in most states. Did you sign your name (not legal owner) or did you sign your father's name (forgery).

Maybe that is why they wanted to talk to you. They might have found out that the trailer was illegally sold and cancelled the check before you could cash it. It is a good idea to make a bigger effort to talk with them. In all honesty, if I had bought a trailer where the legal owner had NOT signed the title, I would have done the same thing and then paid, again, when the ownership issue was solved legally.

Saying it is done "all of the time" is NOT true where a government paper(title) is involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
No, dad signed the title.

Basically I was there because trailer is at my barn where I board. They looked and gave me a check made out to my dad and with the title ready to go, signed by my dad. I was basically the person who took their check - to my dad.
 

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You really don't know if they actually kept the trailer. My thoughts are they sold it since they had the title. A photo of it in their possession may be helpful if it's not too late

Good luck and I hop your father gets better.
 

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I never sell anything anymore unless it is for cash. I will give a receipt or title or whatever, but it has to be cash. If the buyer is coming on later Saturday or sunday to look at something, they can either get the cash Friday or use an ATM. Any excuse of not having the cash with banks, atms, etc so accessable these days is a red flag to me.

When I go to buy something, I plan ahead and take cash. It can always go back in the bank if the sale falls thru. Of course if we are talking thousands of dollars and know the sale is going through, I will accept a bank cashiers check . I would also ask the seller if they will accept the cashiers check.
Its sad when people set out to steal something.. I am sorry and hope this works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well we didn't call the police. We did send a letter from an attorney to the people who finally called. Initially they asked me in an email if it was road ready and I thought it was. I just used it this summer. They came and looked at it and paid me. Then hauled it away.

Next day they took it to someplace to have it checked out. Mechanic told them it has a broken spring and 3 bulges in 4 of the tires. I had no idea as I thought the tires were great and never have looked underneath it. Guess that shows you my trailer knowledge. My dad thought the trailer was fine too.

Now they are claiming that I misrepresented the trailer by saying it was road ready. Honestly I had no idea that the trailer had any issues. Even hauled my own horse in it. Anyway if I were going to swindle them I would have taken cash.

They have until this Sunday to pay otherwise we are going to court.
 

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They either pay you for it or they bring it back. Simple as that. Who is say the mechianic isn't their friend and they are trying to get it for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
He won't bring it back because he states that it isn't safe. He says if we want the trailer back to come get it. Dad says no - he owns it. No warranty ever was implied and we had no idea of the problems. He inspected it himself. Anyway, I don't want the trailer back for obvious reason. Unfortunate situation.
 

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The laws might be different where you are, but around here a used vehicle, much less a trailer, when sold privately comes without any warranties whatsoever. Once the ownership is signed over to the new person and they take possession it's their baby, regardless what they may find afterwards, intentionally concealed or otherwise. It's the buyers responsibility to actually do their homework before agreeing to purchase, not the seller's responsibility to do so.

There are failing to uphold their side of the agreement and trying to weasel out on what they think is a technicality that doesn't actually exist, so I suggest you stick to your guns and get your money.

This is a prime example to everybody of why only to deal with cash, certified cheques, or a bank draft in these sorts of situations – I would never ever accept a personal cheque for anything from someone I don't personally know as a friend.
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