... but it didn’t belong to the debtor. It was only parked in their driveway. Here in Quebec, bailiffs cannot legally access DMV records, so they just re-sell anything they seize on the property, incl. cars, without any proof of actual ownership!

How does this happen? Well, getting a vehicle on the road in Quebec requires two things:

  • Registration of the vehicle with the SAAQ, the government-run vehicle registration and insurance board. This registration includes basic PLPD coverage (personal liability and property damage), but it excludes coverage to your person and your own vehicle.
  • Mandatory private insurance that covers your person and your own vehicle.

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The body that represents bailiffs, The Chamber of Judicial Officers of Quebec, has apparently been asking for legal access to this information for more than 30 years already.

But why didn’t the bailiff just look at the registration papers in the glove box? Most likely, the vehicle was locked and there was no key. It would have been sold as-is at auction, and the new owner would have been responsible for getting a new key made at the dealership.

This appears to have been the case, and in today’s story, the original owner was very lucky that the buyer was a decent person:

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In the end, though, this is just stupid. In an effort to protect individual privacy, the government prefers to let bailiffs seize and sell your property - blindly - to cover some else’s debt, and you basically have ZERO legal recourse. I don’t think you could even take the debtor to court to recover the loss, and in any case, that person doesn’t have any money, so you’re fucked.

Proper fucked.