Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-31-2014, 10:52 PM
motherofthyme is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2

A moral dilemna


I am new here but have a moral dilemna I want opinions on. I recently sold an old van to a nice couple of young guys who turned down my suggestion to get it checked by a mechanic before they bought it. I was honest in my knowledge of the car and what we had done to it. Nothing suggested that it would breakdown but it was 14 years old with 170,000 kilometres on it. Within one month the car stopped working and they were told it needs a new transmission, a $3000 job. They are poor young 20 somethings who scraped together the price I asked for the car ($1800). They have phoned me and although they know it is buyer beware and I don't have any legal requirement to give them any money back, are hoping I will give them some money.
Should I and why?
  #2  
Old 07-31-2014, 11:00 PM
sisu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: oi, oi, oi
Posts: 2,343
No, you made an offer to get it checked. They are 20 somethings and sometimes they have to learn the hard way.

Although if you believe in karma then maybe....

Did they buy the van to tool around in or was it to start a new business?

Oh and g'day.

Last edited by sisu; 07-31-2014 at 11:01 PM.
  #3  
Old 07-31-2014, 11:09 PM
brewha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,389
You are not legally obligated to give them a penny.

What you are morally obligated to is your business.

Apparently, you are asking a bunch of internet strangers their advice in hopes that we will agree with what you want to do.

So, what do you want to do?
  #4  
Old 07-31-2014, 11:43 PM
Farin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,021
I don't want to sound cold-hearted, as those without money are always squeezed in situations like this, but they bought a used vehicle of uncertain credentials and then refused to spend the $100 extra to have a mechanic do a once-over on it. Honestly, i would have done that before I purchased the car. My personal response to this is a recitation of the facts, point by point, and then saying that the bill of sale specifies "As-Is" and "No Warranty Implied or Offered."

Past that, assuming everything in your story is correct (e.g. you were upfront and honest with your knowledge, recommended a visit to a mechanic, etc) then you did all you could and gave them a price everyone thought was fair enough for the transaction to proceed.

At this point, the only reason to give them any money is to absolve yourself of your own feelings in the matter, whatever they may be. (whether is a sense of charity, responsibility, guilt, or other)

However, on the flip side I will give you advice: Admit to nothing in addition to what you said when you sold them the vehicle. Since you are using dollars and kilometers, I'm assuming that you are Canadian. Canadian laws (though varying by province) are similar to those of us yanks down south: they might be able to squeeze you in small claims proceedings if you admit, for instance, suddenly recalling a clicking sometimes when you were driving.

In this kind of situation, additional information can be twisted in court into saying that you did not provide all necessary information and defrauded them for their cash in exchange for your "junker" vehicle. Beware what you say and no matter how cordial they treat you do not go into "Friend mode" with them and start with small talk. That'll usually get you in trouble when something slips out that they can use.

I would also recommend that if you do decide to give them money (without the legal system being involved) ensure that you have them sign a waiver of further responsibility on your part. This would be their second chance and you shouldn't give them a third.
  #5  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:37 AM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 28,155
How likely is it that a mechanic would have detected a problem with the transmission a month before it failed?

I'm not sure how/whether it affects the answer to the OP's question; I'm just curious.
  #6  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:39 AM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,253
^^^^
Good advice from Farin, IMHO.

Assuming all your info is correct, and you had no indication the tranny was about to fail, then them's the breaks. Life isn't always fair, and we can only control fairness with respect to the ethics of our dealings, not by trying to make up for everyone's personal misfortunes. Ask yourself if these nice friendly folks would give you money back if the situation were reversed, or if you could even reasonably expect that they should.

OTOH, if you didn't reveal everything you knew about the car, then you and your conscience need to have a discussion.
  #7  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:40 AM
Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,733
Can you afford to give them the money?

If so, give! No you don't "have" to, but only a jerk does only what he "has" to do.

No you're not necessarily a jerk for not doing it (again, it depends not just on what you can afford, but a myriad of other factors impossible to go into in a context like this). But you can't go wrong by being generous.
  #8  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:47 AM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,253
I'm assuming the OP isn't particularly wealthy. If one is very wealthy, I'd argue one actually has an obligation to concern oneself with those less fortunate, but that's a completely different discussion and the morality of the situation becomes a no-brainer. But what Farin and I both commented on was about what was ethical when neither party has a great deal of spare change to throw around.
  #9  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:54 AM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 29,763
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
How likely is it that a mechanic would have detected a problem with the transmission a month before it failed?

I'm not sure how/whether it affects the answer to the OP's question; I'm just curious.
Probably depends what the problem was. If he pulled the dipstick and it smelled like burnt toast, was jet black or half empty, then it needed to be looked at more closely (like pulling the pan and filter).

I heard a similar situation on Click and Clack and was surprised to hear them say (paraphrased) "It's only been a month, take it back, give them their money back, less a few dollars if you want) and go from there. Resell it for less money and tell the new people what the mechanic said, fix it and sell it for more money or scrap it but morally you have to take it back and you know that or you wouldn't be asking" Their words, not mine.

Personally, I'd be awfully tempted to say "What do you want me to do about it? I told you to have it looked at, I told you it was buyer beware. It was fine when you drove it away and I have no idea what you've been doing with it for the last 30 days (and xxx kilometers)." Keep in mind, during that time they may have had a bad mechanic work on it, they may have been hauling a trailer, they may have been driving it far rougher than they should have been.


How about this, make a compromise, call them up and say 'I thought it over, you gave me $1800 for a working van and now you're telling me it doesn't work. You had it for a month and I have no idea what happened during that time. Bring it back and I'll give you $1500"

Personally, I think that sounds fair. They're out $300 for not taking it to a mechanic like you suggested. You've got your old van back and you can decide what to do next.

That's assuming you still have the money and can afford to give it back. If you don't that's different.


ETA, there is a third option. Offer them some money to keep it. I don't know what the magic number is, Split it (900)? Give them $1000 back? I don't know, but if they keep it, then it's really not your problem. But at that point I'd type something up. Do the math, figure out what they've given you and make a receipt with everyone signature on it. So, if you gave them $1000 back, make a receipt that says "Van, as is, $800" with the date and names etc. Then go to the DMV and get the title switched into their name ASAP.

Last edited by Joey P; 08-01-2014 at 12:59 AM.
  #10  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:59 AM
Antinor01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Galion, OH
Posts: 11,668
Unless you misrepresented or omitted something, like the maintenance, when talking to them I don't see how you have any obligation. If you buy a 14 year old vehicle with 100k miles on it and don't have it checked out first then you take your chances.
  #11  
Old 08-01-2014, 01:21 AM
Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: on your last raw nerve
Posts: 23,123
Nope. That rhymes with Dope, and that starts with "D", and that stands for Don't.
  #12  
Old 08-01-2014, 01:29 AM
UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 9,060
Obviously the answer to this is going to depend on your particular moral standards, but must moral codes suggest that we have an obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. These guys entered into a transaction with you which in itself was morally unimpeachable, but which sadly has not worked out well for them. And of course it has worked out well for you; if they paid more than the van was worth then you received more than the van was worth. And you might feel that's a windfall to you which is not wholly unconnected with the misfortune they suffered. Yes, there misfortune was probably caused or contributed to by their decision not to have a mechanic give the van the once-over, and they, not you, are responsible for the decision. But, equally, your windfall was equally attributable to their decision. And of course their decision was itself caused by their (relative) poverty, which is itself a misfortune.

In short, these guys have suffered a misfortune. You have benefitted, at least indirectly, from their misfortune. You have a moral obligation to help those less less fortunate than yourself, and that moral obligation is perhaps a little sharper in this situation.
  #13  
Old 08-01-2014, 12:57 PM
YogSothoth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 14,000
You should buy them a horse
  #14  
Old 08-01-2014, 01:13 PM
Skammer's Avatar
Skammer is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 14,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock View Post
Can you afford to give them the money?

If so, give! No you don't "have" to, but only a jerk does only what he "has" to do.

No you're not necessarily a jerk for not doing it (again, it depends not just on what you can afford, but a myriad of other factors impossible to go into in a context like this). But you can't go wrong by being generous.
I agree with this. If it were me, and I could afford to help them out, I would. If I couldn't, I would explain that I was very sorry but there was nothing I could do.
  #15  
Old 08-01-2014, 01:48 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 24,911
It's cheaper to remove a used transmission from a scrapyard and have that installed rather than buy a new one.

Just another option.
  #16  
Old 08-01-2014, 01:51 PM
Bill Door is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,141
If it had run maintenance free for the next 10 years would you feel like they had an obligation to give you a couple of thousand dollars for the excellent service they received out of your old van? If not, why should the opposite be true?
  #17  
Old 08-01-2014, 03:46 PM
Bozuit is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by UDS View Post
Obviously the answer to this is going to depend on your particular moral standards, but must moral codes suggest that we have an obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. These guys entered into a transaction with you which in itself was morally unimpeachable, but which sadly has not worked out well for them. And of course it has worked out well for you; if they paid more than the van was worth then you received more than the van was worth. And you might feel that's a windfall to you which is not wholly unconnected with the misfortune they suffered. Yes, there misfortune was probably caused or contributed to by their decision not to have a mechanic give the van the once-over, and they, not you, are responsible for the decision. But, equally, your windfall was equally attributable to their decision. And of course their decision was itself caused by their (relative) poverty, which is itself a misfortune.

In short, these guys have suffered a misfortune. You have benefitted, at least indirectly, from their misfortune. You have a moral obligation to help those less less fortunate than yourself, and that moral obligation is perhaps a little sharper in this situation.
I think this is a good post. I don't envy your position, motherofthyme. Hope it works out.
  #18  
Old 08-01-2014, 04:30 PM
mhendo is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 25,550
I feel for the guys who bought the van from you, and if you can afford to help them out, and you want to help them out, then by all means go ahead and help them out. It would certainly be a nice thing to do.

But i don't think you have any more moral obligation than anyone else. Yes, you sold them the van, but you were honest about its condition, and you offered them the chance (actually, made the suggestion) to get it checked out by a mechanic before they made the purchase. They chose not to do this, and unfortunately they're now left with a van that needs some fairly expensive repairs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UDS View Post
You have a moral obligation to help those less less fortunate than yourself, and that moral obligation is perhaps a little sharper in this situation.
I'm curious.

If the buyers came up to you, explained this situation to you, and asked you to help them out with $500 towards the repairs on their van, what would you say? You say that "You have a moral obligation to help those less less fortunate than yourself." Well, if these guys are less fortunate than you, don't you have the same obligation? And yet the fact is that most of us simply can't afford to help out everyone who is less fortunate.

I'm betting that the OP isn't rolling in cash. I could be wrong, but most people who sell old vans for $1,800 probably aren't doing so just to make room for the new S-class Mercedes. If the OP has less money and financial security than you or me, don't we have as much obligation to help out her customers as she does? After all, everyone has conceded that she did nothing wrong in conducting the transaction itself, and your basic position is that people are obligated to help those less fortunate.

Again, i'm not saying that the OP shouldn't help out. But if she does, it will be true philanthropy. If she were a dealer, or someone who habitually made extra cash by buying and selling used cars, i'd be more inclined to saddle her with some moral obligation here, but that's not the case.
  #19  
Old 08-01-2014, 04:41 PM
Blaster Master is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Centreville, VA
Posts: 6,127
The morals of the situation aren't straightforward. Taking your story at face value, that you were completely honest with them and they turned down having a mechanic look at it, there's still a few things here to consider.

First, I'm not a car guy, nor do I know how you drove the vehicle or it's maintenance record. At the same time, you don't know how they treated the car in the time since you sold it to them. What is the likelihood that the transmission was near end of life already? If so, I suspect a mechanic, with some context of the maintenance record and examining it, may well have known. OTOH, not being intimately familiar with the expected life of that transmission is, maybe it had been driven and maintained well and was long lived, or maybe it was driven hard and was unexpectedly shortlived or maybe it was right about due. These are things that complicate buying a used vehicle. Assuming you did a reasonable job maintaining it and they had an idea of where it was in it's maintenance, then that's something that should have been factored into the cost.

For instance, I've seen sellers with cars that in general ought to go for a certain amount but have had recent work down, like a new engine, new transmission, new tires, etc. ask for a little more because of that sunk cost. I've also seen ones that admit they need some major maintenance ask for less. I'd say that if all the maintenance was honestly represented and they were aware of it, then there's no ethical obligation on your part, unless you come to realize you were mistaken. If not, I'd argue you do have an ethical obligation.

I would, suggest that they didn't have it reviewed puts some of that on them. Similarly, that you don't know how they drove it could put more of it on them. However, it is possible that your honest representation of how it was maintained and driven by you was misunderstood, as they maybe are more cautious or whatever, in which case I'd say you do bear some responsibility for the miscommunication, informed consent and all that.


OTOH, it seems to me that they're not really blaming you for the situation, they're more appealing to your humanity. If you trust that they didn't mistreat the car, that it was likely going to fail regardless of who owned it, and what it's worth in the condition of needing a new transmission, do you feel like the amount that you received for it was fair? For instance, maybe it isn't worth all that much less even with needing a new transmission, especially if one can get one from a junkyard and install it inexpensively. If that's the case, maybe combined with their not getting a mechanic to look at it helps even that out some, or not. At the same time, I feel like there is, or at least should be, a moral weight assigned to a well intentioned and honest deal, as it seems this was, so you shouldn't be unfairly hurt either.


So that said, I don't think you have a specific obligation, and I think it's all going to be a matter of how you weigh it all up. As far as the car goes, either you can let them keep it, and keep the current value, or you can take it back and give them back the current value. And then with the rest, you can divide up based upon what you feel is the distribution of responsibility for the fault in the car and adjusted with your level of compassion.

Speaking for myself, in your situation, let's just assuming it's worht something like $1000 now, in which case I'd probably work out that they should have paid for a mechanic, not your fault and with the weight of the buyer beware, that probably adds an additional value of 2-300, then basically split the rest. In short, with those rough numbers, I'd probably offer them to either keep it and give them about $300 or give it back and give them about $1300.
  #20  
Old 08-01-2014, 05:00 PM
cookiecuttercc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 43
nothing much to add from above except...

$3000 (CAD, i assume) for a transmission repair "sounds" like the 20-somethings need to find a better mechanic. (or they're trying to rip you off). naturally not knowing all the facts, it's impossible for me to tell.


To second the others, original poster has zero moral, ethical obligation. If poster wants to be a 'nice guy' (to some, perhaps a chump/rube to others?) then by all means refund the money.

there is no right answer----though i'm very wary of our cherub buyers----they're either idiots or scammers. (Hanlon's razor strikes again.)
  #21  
Old 08-01-2014, 05:07 PM
Chimera is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the Dreaming
Posts: 24,689
If it was me, and I sold a used vehicle for a reasonable price, suggested they have it checked out and it broke down a month later, I wouldn't feel any obligation to give them any money back unless perhaps they were close friends who really needed it AND I actually had that kind of money sitting about.

As pointed out, you have no idea how they drove it, what they did to it. You also don't necessarily know it will cost 3 grand to repair it.

I might feel a little bad about the circumstances, but I don't think I'd help them out.
  #22  
Old 08-01-2014, 06:50 PM
Typo Negative's Avatar
Typo Negative is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: 7th Level of Hell, Ca
Posts: 18,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherofthyme View Post
I recently sold an old van to a nice couple of young guys who turned down my suggestion to get it checked by a mechanic before they bought it.

<snip>

Nothing suggested that it would breakdown but it was 14 years old with 170,000 kilometres on it.
I went in to this thinking a kilometer was longer than a mile. This is about 105,000 miles.

Still, we should all be aware that all things mechanical will eventually break, even if well cared for. And sometimes things just go bad. I recently had to replace my alternator for my '08 RAV4. It has less than 100,000 miles on it. Shit happens. No could have told me weeks before that is was going to fail. Something inside it went 'ping' and it stopped working.

If the van was well serviced (and there were no leaking fluids), there were probably no signs that the transmission was going to fail.

This is the risk a buyer takes when getting a used vehicle. You did nothing wrong. You owe them nothing. If your conscience bothers you, you could split the cost of repair.
  #23  
Old 08-01-2014, 06:59 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Also, once the vehicle was out of your hands, you had no control over how it was used. Not to say that the 20-something definitely abused the car, but how do you know they didn't? They bought an old car with high mileage and then something went wrong. That's not your fault.
  #24  
Old 08-01-2014, 07:01 PM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,581
Years ago I sold a car that had a cracked engine block. I told the guy who bought it that it had a cracked engine block, he drove it and said "nah, it doesn't." I told him I couldn't afford to have the engine blocked fixed, but that I understood that someone who knew how to do it could get an engine for a reasonable cost from a junkyard and put it in, and then the car would be worth more than my sales price + the engine - and that was who I was hoping to sell it to - someone who could replace the engine and end up with a decent car, probably to resell. He confirmed this, said his son was a mechanic and if it had a cracked engine block that was what he'd do.

He called a few days later and said it had a cracked engine block and would I give him his money back.

As other people have said, used cars are buyer beware. When I buy used I buy from a dealer who will give me a warranty - I don't know used cars well enough to take the risk of getting a bad deal.

Thats low miles for a 14 year old car, but its a 14 year old car - and they got a bargain price on it unless the exchange rate is a lot different than what I think it is.
__________________
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
  #25  
Old 08-01-2014, 07:53 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 15,175
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiecuttercc View Post
$3000 (CAD, i assume) for a transmission repair "sounds" like the 20-somethings need to find a better mechanic. (or they're trying to rip you off). naturally not knowing all the facts, it's impossible for me to tell.
I was thinking that too. There are plenty of such older vehicles in junkyards, but with usable transmissions.

You probably have a lot more experience with older vehicles (having kept this vehicle running for a while) than a couple of 20-y-o's, so talk to your mechanic about getting a better price for the job. If you want, you could offer to loan them the down payment he wants, or even pay it for them -- but that's entirely your generosity -- you have no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to do so. [/QUOTE]
  #26  
Old 08-01-2014, 08:41 PM
slowlearner is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 494
I've been young and dumb and on the opposite of the transaction, it would never have occurred to me to go back to the seller and ask for a refund. Give 'em nothing, the potential value of nothing is much greater than 1800.00.
  #27  
Old 08-01-2014, 10:06 PM
Guinastasia's Avatar
Guinastasia is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 53,042
Question -- if she gives them money, could she be LEGALLY responsible if something else goes wrong? I can see a problem there right there.
  #28  
Old 08-01-2014, 10:28 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 24,911
I don't think the OP is coming back.
  #29  
Old 08-02-2014, 10:26 AM
Learjeff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 4,086
In any case, it's not a moral dilemma. A dilemma is when you have two choices and both are wrong.

In this case there are two choices and both are right. So, it's actually more of a "moral opportunity".

The most I'd consider doing is to find a reasonable price for replacing the tran with one from a junkyard and offer half of that, and I'd consider it charity.

A transmission shouldn't go bad after only 100K miles or so. I haven't had an American car with a transmission failure under 150K miles, ever, and I always keep a car until it fails. (With one exception, transmission has always been the failure that makes it not worth fixing. The one exception was a cracked head on a 1982 Escort, back in 89. This counts my cars and my wife's, since 1980, about 8 cars not counting her new one.) My understanding is that most foreign makes last longer than American cars.
  #30  
Old 08-02-2014, 10:55 AM
BoBettie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: 1313 Mockingbird Lane
Posts: 7,471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antinor01 View Post
Unless you misrepresented or omitted something, like the maintenance, when talking to them I don't see how you have any obligation. If you buy a 14 year old vehicle with 100k miles on it and don't have it checked out first then you take your chances.
Exactly right- not to be a jerk, but you sold it because you needed the money from it I'm sure- you may have even spent it already (it's been a month). It's a shame that they didn't have it checked out but you sold it in good faith as is and that's just one of those life breaks that sucks. 14 years old is an OLD old van. You take your chances on a vehicle like that. I don't believe your under any legal or moral obligation to do anything- the van is gone and is not your issue anymore.
  #31  
Old 08-02-2014, 11:45 AM
Stratocaster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
I agree with this. If it were me, and I could afford to help them out, I would. If I couldn't, I would explain that I was very sorry but there was nothing I could do.
Can you afford to right now, you specifically? Because if you can, why don't you?

I don't mean that in a snarky way, it's a way to frame how I think about it. Neither you or the OP have any legal obligation, and now both of you are aware of the buyers' unfortunate circumstance. Why don't you feel any obligation to send some money along (assuming you could)? Or if obligation is the wrong word, choose a better one--whichever one applies to your feelings of helping out those you can.

Does the OP have a moral duty because of some other detail than the fact that the poor buyers are in a bad spot? Because there are lots of people in bad spots. IMO, the OP acted in good faith, did nothing wrong, and did not create the unfortunate circumstance for the buyers. Just like you, just like me.

Again, I don't mean this to sound snide. I'm interested in your response, or anyone else who answered similarly. Assuming you had the details and means, would you send some money to these people right now? If the answer is yes, then I get your perspective, even if I don't agree. If the answer is no, then why should the OP feel differently?
  #32  
Old 08-02-2014, 11:49 AM
mhendo is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 25,550
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Question -- if she gives them money, could she be LEGALLY responsible if something else goes wrong? I can see a problem there right there.
I don't see how.
  #33  
Old 08-02-2014, 11:50 AM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 24,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learjeff View Post
....A transmission shouldn't go bad after only 100K miles or so. I haven't had an American car with a transmission failure under 150K miles, ever, and I always keep a car until it fails. ....
I've had two cars with premature transmission failures: both Ford products and well before 100,000 miles.
  #34  
Old 08-02-2014, 12:16 PM
RivkahChaya's Avatar
RivkahChaya is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 10,002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Question -- if she gives them money, could she be LEGALLY responsible if something else goes wrong? I can see a problem there right there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
I don't see how.
It's the reverse of "the exception proves the rule" etc. By admitting liability in this one case, the OP could be setting herself up for a situation where she is responsible for further repairs if the van owners get a lawyer. A lawyer could argue that by paying for the transmission the OP is accepting responsibility for future repairs of the van, with no implied limit.

If the OP decides to help the kids, or give a partial refund, the OP needs to get something in writing that this transaction ends their financial relationship, and the OP will not be responsible for any future repairs to the van.
  #35  
Old 08-02-2014, 12:38 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I don't think the OP is coming back.
She only has one post on this MB, and it's the OP to this thread. You're probably right.
  #36  
Old 08-02-2014, 05:30 PM
motherofthyme is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2

Thank you


I have not been responding to individual questions and responses because of time commitments and wanting to read everyone's thoughts . All the thoughts have very good points and I found myself agreeing that it would be more of a charitable thing to do to give them money.
As parents of similar aged boys we find ourselves thinking in terms of how we respond to our own kids mistakes. one of the biggest problems we have been seeing in our friends kids is that their parents keep bailing them out instead of letting them learn from those mistakes. And their kids rely on being bailed out. I guess some call it tough love but within limits that's sometimes what it takes. We have 3 grown boys of a similar age to these boys. If we give to the buyers , should we not also do the same for our boys? They could use a few hundred bucks, in some cases more than these two. My conscience is clear as to the selling price, our maintenance and disclosure. Part of my problem was that they were such "nice boys". So in giving them money I wouldn't' be helping them to learn from their mistakes and would be undermining our own parenting principles but in not giving to them I feel that I have probably jaded them to nice strangers that they trusted. Rather than a win win situation, I am starting to see it as a lose lose.
  #37  
Old 08-02-2014, 06:49 PM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,253
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherofthyme View Post
So in giving them money I wouldn't' be helping them to learn from their mistakes and would be undermining our own parenting principles but in not giving to them I feel that I have probably jaded them to nice strangers that they trusted. Rather than a win win situation, I am starting to see it as a lose lose.
What they trusted you to do was act ethically. By your account, you did. What else could you possibly have done? They also believed that a 14-year-old van couldn't possibly have anything wrong with it and didn't need to be checked out. That was foolish. Lesson learned. Even with a checkup, this could still have happened. Life has risks. One should try to minimize them, but you can't eliminate them. Another lesson learned.

You've probably noticed that most of the responses to your question, including mine, agree that you did nothing wrong and have no moral responsibility here. I get a little frustrated sometimes with the tendency we as a society have to always find fault, to always assign guilt and apportion blame. No wonder we have so many damn lawyers! If there is malice or negligence then that's appropriate, but sometimes there is great wisdom in the simple words: shit happens. Because sometimes it just does, and it's no one's fault. In your position I'd express my kind sympathies and regrets to those folks, and then I'd get on with my life. There's no lose-lose here unless you want to make it so.

Last edited by wolfpup; 08-02-2014 at 06:49 PM. Reason: typo
  #38  
Old 08-02-2014, 07:05 PM
DingoelGringo is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 795
I once bought a car for $900.00 and drove it 230 miles before the engine blew up because the automatic transmission was slipping. I didn't entertain the idea of trying to take it back to the old guy who sold it to me. Just sold it for scrap as it sat and moved on with my life. THere has to be something wrong with someone who after driving for a month would think it is your bad.
  #39  
Old 08-02-2014, 10:45 PM
AnaMen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,884
I see absolutely no reason to give them back a cent, and I do think it would be a detrimental bailout for them.
The car still has scrap value, so it needn't be a complete loss for them. Perhaps they can find a used transmission at a junkyard and do the swap themselves.
  #40  
Old 08-03-2014, 12:03 AM
Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,733
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I've had two cars with premature transmission failures: both Ford products and well before 100,000 miles.
I have a coworker who bought a NEW Ford vehicle this year (a 2014 model) and its transmission failed within a month.
  #41  
Old 08-04-2014, 07:36 AM
BigT's Avatar
BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 37,024
Why wouldn't you help them out now that you know about the problems? Because you tried to help them with those problems ahead of time, and can spend whatever charity you would spend on them on other people. I just don't see how it's a good thing to teach them that they can just go back to the seller and ask for a handout.

Frankly, it appears they are trying to guilt you into helping them, because otherwise I couldn't think why they think it's remotely appropriate to even ask.

The most I would do is tell them how to get it done cheaper (reusing an old transmission) and advise them that, if they can't get done any cheaper, they might as well look for another vehicle.
  #42  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:32 AM
Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,733
Talk in this thread about what to "teach" the couple seems completely wrongheaded to me. Morally questionable in fact.

Did they ask the OP to teach them anything?
  #43  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:51 AM
not what you'd expect is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 4,917
Well, they're going to learn something from the experience itself.

It's not free to have a vehicle checked out before purchasing, so that could play into the decision not to get that done. I don't think you are obligated to them, but I do think I'd try to come to some sort of compromise with them.
  #44  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:01 AM
Bozuit is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learjeff View Post
In any case, it's not a moral dilemma. A dilemma is when you have two choices and both are wrong.
I think you'll find it's a "dilemna" being offered here. It's totally different.
  #45  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:50 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants Nation
Posts: 26,598
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherofthyme View Post
Part of my problem was that they were such "nice boys". So in giving them money I wouldn't' be helping them to learn from their mistakes and would be undermining our own parenting principles but in not giving to them I feel that I have probably jaded them to nice strangers that they trusted. Rather than a win win situation, I am starting to see it as a lose lose.
First off, motherofthyme, welcome to the Straight Dope. I hope you enjoy your stay.

If you gave, you could carefullyexplain how most people wouldn't give (IMHO), that you're not obligated to, and you are doing so out of generosity. For them, suggest they 'pay it forward' when they can do so. Generosity can not only be money, but also goods or services or time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock View Post
Can you afford to give them the money? If so, give! No you don't "have" to...
Hear hear!


My short answer to the OP here is no, you certainly are not obligated to help them out. Your struggling with what to do tells us you're a kind and generous person.

Years ago when I had very little money I was on your buyers' end of a similar situation. I bought an old car from a friend. It ended up being a very good car that I used for a long time, but early on the water pump failed. My friend the seller felt badly and I didn't want him to. I said then that it was fine, I knew the car was old and that things would fail (hey, it's a machine, and parts do eventually fail). I fixed it at my expense - I found a way to come up with the money and the car went on to serve me for a long time before I sold it to someone else, another friend's sister who had little money. It served her for a long time, too.

Mod Note: Advertising redacted.

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 08-04-2014 at 11:43 AM. Reason: Trying to sell something on the SDMB not permitted.
  #46  
Old 08-04-2014, 11:44 AM
Jonathan Chance is offline
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 23,310

The Moderator Clears His Throat


Bullitt,

Please don't link to your trying to sell things outside of the Marketplace forum. There members can buy/sell/trade. Great Debates, not so much.

No warning issued. Please don't do it again.
  #47  
Old 08-04-2014, 01:34 PM
Omar Little's Avatar
Omar Little is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 13,331
Where's the debate? Sounds like this should be in IMHO.
  #48  
Old 08-04-2014, 02:06 PM
Guinastasia's Avatar
Guinastasia is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 53,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
It's the reverse of "the exception proves the rule" etc. By admitting liability in this one case, the OP could be setting herself up for a situation where she is responsible for further repairs if the van owners get a lawyer. A lawyer could argue that by paying for the transmission the OP is accepting responsibility for future repairs of the van, with no implied limit.

If the OP decides to help the kids, or give a partial refund, the OP needs to get something in writing that this transaction ends their financial relationship, and the OP will not be responsible for any future repairs to the van.
Yep, that's the kind of thing I was thinking of. Thanks.
  #49  
Old 08-04-2014, 05:54 PM
Learjeff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 4,086
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozuit View Post
I think you'll find it's a "dilemna" being offered here. It's totally different.
Hah! I didn't catch that. I never saw that spelling before, either, but evidently it's not as rare as it should be.
  #50  
Old 08-04-2014, 07:41 PM
tomndebb is offline
Mod Rocker
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 40,951
As this thread has developed, it has certainly followed a path to IMHO rather than through Great Debates.

Off it goes.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017