Unable to register their car | The Journal of Montreal


Spouses from Montreal North find themselves stuck with a vehicle paid for $8,500 that they cannot even drive because their seller did not have the papers in order, making it impossible to register it.

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“We’ve been putting money aside for three years and all of our savings are suddenly gone. We thought we were doing business with honest people, but no,” laments Juan Carlos Berreondo Urizar.

The misadventure of the latter and his wife began during the holiday season, when they spotted a 2016 Dodge Caravan displayed on Marketplace, Facebook’s sales platform.

Interested, they immediately contacted the seller to request a meeting to inquire about the condition of the vehicle, which was in Saint-Hubert, on the South Shore of Montreal.

After a conclusive test drive, the couple gave a deposit of $500 so that the car could be reserved for them and had a mechanical inspection done to ensure that everything was in order, which was confirmed by a mechanic.

But everything got tough for them after the transaction, which they unfortunately made before the transfer of the ownership plate to their name.

With a power of attorney from the seller in hand, they were to their surprise refused by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

Not the right seller

The reason given: the owner of the vehicle registered in the file is not the same as the name of the seller on the power of attorney, making the whole thing invalid.

According to the information provided to them, the vehicle is registered under the name of Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), a sort of equivalent of the SAAQ.

“We tried several times to speak with the seller to try to correct the situation and get us a refund, but at some point he stopped responding to us. We don’t know what to do anymore,” laments the father of three, adding that the police are not taking the situation seriously.

Seeing that all they have left as a solution is to go to court against the seller, his spouse Evelyn Domingo contacted The newspaper to denounce the situation.

“It is certain that we regret our purchase. With hindsight, of course we would do things differently, but it’s proof that you can’t trust everyone,” says the 59-year-old man, originally from Guatemala and arrived in Quebec in 1982.

Accident 9 times

The history of the 2016 Dodge Caravan revealed troubling findings.

Between January 2018 and February 2021, the vehicle was involved in an accident no less than nine times, for damage evaluated each time between $4,000 and $8,100. At the last accident, it was declared a total loss.

The SGI confirmed that it no longer owns the Dodge in question, adding that it was sold to a Quebec buyer at an auction for the sum of $1,576 in May.

“The new owner may not have registered the vehicle in Quebec after purchasing it, and that is why it is still listed as registered with the SGI,” said a spokesperson for the company. State.

Refusal to pay taxes

This information was corroborated by one of the two sellers, Charalambos Bitzanis, who told the Journal that his brother Adam had bought the Caravan, but he was the one who had made all the necessary repairs.

“I passed all the inspections. […] I don’t understand why he would have to put the vehicle in his name. We bought a car in Ottawa last summer, I did not put it in my name and I managed to sell it, ”he said on the phone, deploring having to “pay a tax”.

“All Quebec wants is to ‘collect’ the money from this tax. It’s ridiculous […] I wish I could help them, but I don’t know what to do,” said Charalambos Bitzanis.

This is not the first time that the latter has made a sale of a vehicle that is doubtful to say the least. A judge ordered him in 2017 to reimburse a buyer due to “false representations”, thus voiding the contract.

– With Philippe Langlois

A bomb to delay

The situation in which this couple from Montreal North finds themselves is a “ticking time bomb”, believes Option Consommateur lawyer Sylvie De Bellefeuille, who implores future buyers to be more careful.

The situation can lead to a lot of costs, considering that the vehicle can start accumulating fines since it is not registered and its transit has expired.

“They are really stuck with a vehicle. […] They will end up in illegality at one time or another”, specifies Me De Bellefeuille, estimating that the buyers will probably have to initiate legal proceedings, which can prove to be a long process.

6 tips

  • Consult the register of personal and movable real rights to verify if the automobile is paid for.
  • Obtain the vehicle file to know its history
  • Do not write a check to the seller or make an online transfer before you actually own the vehicle
  • Do a pre-purchase inspection
  • Make sure the name of the vehicle owner
  • Report an abnormal situation to the local police



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