A man on Montreal’s south shore claims a vehicle he purchased in September was unlawfully taken from him by the former owner of the car, leaving him out of pocket several thousand dollars.
“I was blown away. I could not believe she showed up to take the car,” Michael Gilmore said from his Brossard home. “I made my payments. I did nothing so I feel I got defrauded. She took my money and took the car.”
Gilmore says his ordeal started in September. He had befriended an elderly woman he met while working as a chef at a senior’s residence. He mentioned to her he needed to purchase a new vehicle. She told him she was no longer able to drive, and wanted to unload her Ford Fiesta.
They agreed on a price of $14,000. But Gilmore, who has three children and is separated from his former partner, said he could not afford to pay for the car in full. He says they came to an agreement he would pay $2,000 up front, and then $1,500 monthly.
Gilmore says the woman said she did not want to transfer Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) the province’s automobile insurance board, ownership to him until the car was paid in full. So, he agreed, meaning the registration of the vehicle was still in the woman’s name.
“She seemed nervous. She thought if we transferred the car I would not make the payment and I would run off with the car, but lo and behold look what happened to me,” Gilmore said.
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He claims the two signed a written contract that a friend of the woman’s had drawn up, asserting he owned the vehicle.
He says in October, after the woman received a photo radar ticket in the mail for $140, which Gilmore said he would pay, the woman demanded payment in full for the car. Gilmore says he made his $1,500 payment in cash to the woman on Oct. 13, for which he claims he has a written receipt signed by both parties. After that date the woman called him several times a day, demanding the remaining $10,500.
“The harassment started. She would not leave me alone,” Gilmore said. “7:30 a.m. she would be calling me. The threats started, she would phone me 50 times a day. If I did not answer the phone she would say, ‘If you don’t call me back in 15 minutes I am sending police to your work and I am saying you stole the car.'”
Gilmore claims the woman had made a winter tire appointment in the fall for the car, as she owned the winter tires. Gilmore showed up for the appointment Nov.17, and the woman was there waiting for him. She showed the garage workers her SAAQ registration, and demanded she take possession of the vehicle, for which they agreed. Gilmore called the police, who showed up, and told him there was nothing they could do, as the woman technically owned the vehicle.
“She said, ‘The car is mine. I am taking the car back,'” Gilmore said. “The cops helped me pull everything out of the car. The cops did not want to see my contract, they did not want to listen to me. They said the car is registered under her and she could take the car. ”
Gilmore says the police helped pull his car seats and personal possessions out of the vehicle, and left him stranded. He had to call his former partner to come and pick him up.
“It’s unfortunate people have to be this dishonest. She stole my money,” he said. “It hurts as a single dad. Things are beyond expensive. We all know we all do groceries these days, gas, everything is so expensive today. It’s hard to get by especially on a single salary. It’s a lot of money.”
Global News spoke over the phone with the woman involved. For privacy reasons Global News is not identifying her. The woman claims she received the $2,000 initial payment for the car, but denies she ever received the $1,500 October payment. She also claims she received a ticket in the mail for $140 from a speed camera. She said she demanded full repayment from Gilmore, and after one month of not receiving it, she decided to take back her car. She claims she always owned the car because it was in her name. She also claims the car was scratched and damaged, and she is owed money for that.
Gilmore has hired a lawyer, and says he would like his money back.
“Not only now I am trying to save money on the side to purchase a vehicle. Now I need to buy another car. Where is the money going to come for Christmas? I have three children,” he said.
He cautions others not to be as trusting as he was.