Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Self serving crooks & crooks

It seems to be the little things that get you in the end.  Getting scammed in a sting, government ignorance, lack of justice, you know: the little things.

Last night on French CBC, again I was watching Quebec’s consumer protection show La Facture.  This time they were grieving about used car fraud, in the form of rolling back car odometers.

The gist of the story was that the unscrupulous dealer would buy a car at 160000km (that’s 100K miles) worth some 3500$.  Then he’d roll back the odometer to 80000km and sell it for 10000$.

This is a nice tidy little profit for a of day’s worth of work, and screwing the little guy in the process.

Immediately I thought: “Man I just have to blog this.”

They went on reiterating the same crap for a ½ hour.

By the way, cars are actually easier to roll back nowadays because of the electronics involved.  A laptop, a connector and a chunk of software you can get off the ‘net and you are in the scamming business.  Long past are the days of putting a drill to the odometer cable and running it all night to turn over the 99999mile mark.

It is becoming a national crisis.
And the police?  Nada.
And the government? Nada.

Why is it that the government will do nothing?  The answer is so simple it’s not even funny.  Taxes!

Sales tax is much better on a higher-priced vehicle than that 160k-km beater.  It is becoming a massive problem for the consumer and a massive cash cow for the gubmint.
Need I say more?

Another example: inter-province accords.  Quebec and Ontario and even some American states share ticketing information on motorists.  Again this is revenue enhancement for the provinces.  But they share nothing between themselves on true and registered mileage on cars!  Oddly enough American citizens have much better protections for this.

Besides, what’s the business case?  There is no revenue in it.  

And for those select few who still don’t believe, here is a semi-related morsel if you haven’t seen it before: the Quebec government abolished the cities responsibility for road conditions.  In other words if your car is damaged because of potholes, the city is not responsible.

This was voted as a no-cost “gimme” to the cities for taking over the local provincial highway costs.  It saves the cities potentially millions a year in settlement costs and reduced road maintenance since there is no onus to keep the local roads up to snuff.

One could argue that this is saving taxes for the citizens, ie. not having court costs and settlements... one could also argue that it's the government's job to protect its citizens not shaft them.

But there is an update to this from last week’s show: you should still sue.  If you can prove the city was negligent, this falls under another chapter of the law and you could get some compensation.


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