How about using the street address, bozos? Or if that wasn’t there, the city or county has plat maps showing where each lot is, and the deed comes with a legal description.
The first time you go there, you make damned sure you have the right house. Just because I *think *I bought the house next door doesn’t entitle me to actually occupy it. And if you’re going to send your flunkies there later, give 'em a pic of the right house or something. How tricky can this be?
Anyway, you fucked up. Your flunkies, relying on the GPS whose limitations we’ve already discussed, committed an act of illegal trespass, entered someone else’s house, and threw everything away. The owner says there was more stuff there to be thrown away than you say there was. But you know what? She’s not the one who fucked up. You are. So pay the lady her $18,000 and consider yourself lucky it wasn’t a lot more.
These activities need to be regulated. #1, a standard procedure documenting everything removed. #2, the items should be stored for a period of 1 month before destruction. #3, the activity should be heavily insured, if you ransack in the wrong house, you LOSE and the homeowner has just won the proverbial lottery. Of course, your insurance rate will depend somewhat on the reliability of your operation.
Presumably there ARE laws that cover this. But apparently because they’re a bank and all, local law enforcement decided to not charge them with so much as a misdemeanor trespassing charge. So her only recourse is a civil suit, which hopefully some lawyer will take on pro-bono.
And I’d expect this bank is getting a ton of bad local publicity. I certainly wouldn’t keep my money there, not so much after they made the original fuckup (but really, when DID it become legally acceptable to identify by GPS which unfamiliar house you had the right to take possession of?), but after they decided to play hardball with their victim afterwards.
The trouble with charging them with a crime is that there’s no intent. They all genuinely believed they were doing something completely legal. Get rid of intent, and minor mixups that have nothing to do with a bank throwing all your stuff away suddenly become criminal.
I also, FTR, have no trouble believing the bank’s story, that the place was basically empty, and the owner is fabricating all the valuable stuff she had there, since “Hey, free money!”
A couple years ago there was a story about a bank that did this twice to the same house. As I remember the thread it devolved, SDMB-style, into a discussion of how to estimate the resale and replacement value of a garage full of tools.
At the very least, banks should clearly be taking pictures of everything they gut to protect themselves.
On the other hand, if a bank cleaned out my house, I’d expect them to pay what it cost to replace everything, not what I could get if I sold everything at a garage sale or what I paid at a garage sale when I bought it in the first place. I mean, I doubt I could get $500 bucks for the contents of my closet, but surely it would cost several thousand to go out and buy a whole new work wardrobe, casual wardrobe, 3-4 special occasion outfits, and 10 pairs of shoes. And I would think that I was entitled to go out and replace it all in one fell swoop: I would suffer a real loss if I had to take the $500 and spend years hitting garage sales and thrift stores to find actual equal replacements.
You bring up a good point, but my point is that many people think that if they paid, say, $50 for a pair of pants five years ago, then that pair of pants is still worth $50. OK, maybe it’s only worth $45, they’ll say. Some people think that the stuff that’s sold as “collectible” increases in value, too. After five years, the pants are probably going to be somewhat out of style (unless they’re classic five pocket jeans), and they’re also going to have less life in them.
I used to work in a women’s clothing shop in Las Vegas. We had quite a few customers who came in because the airline had lost or misplaced their bags, and yes, replacing even one suitcase full of clothes can be pretty pricy. And sometimes, you’ve got alterations and such as well.
I don’t think that instances like these should be jackpots for the victims, but I do think that the banks or rehab companies should have to pay more than just damages. The penalty for doing this sort of thing should sting the bank, to give them and other banks an incentive to not do the same damn thing again, as well as giving some justice for the victim.
Granted that a five-year-old pair of jeans isn’t worth as much as a new pair of jeans, but the burden is still on the offender to replace them with something of at least equal value. If the bank can find a pair of jeans of similar age and quality (and can prove they’re of similar age and quality, which is going to be nearly impossible) at a thrift shop, then the bank can go to the thrift shop and buy them. But it’s going to be a heck of a lot easier (and probably cheaper, bottom line) to just replace it with a new pair of jeans.
For example, suppose your speedometer is not correctly calibrated. You look at your speedometer and see 30, but the radar shows 40. You can most likely avoid a speeding charge…but at the cost of pleading guilty to driving with defective equipment.
That would probably not be available to you if the radar showed 60, though, because a reasonable driver would be presumed to be able to recognize such a dramatic discrepancy between actual speed and speedometer readings.
Why do you get tagged for defective equipment? You reasonably believed you equipment was working, after all. Answer: because some offenses are “strict liability,” which means they don’t include an element of guilty knowledge. You’re guilty if you did the act, period.
(Speeding itself can be such an offense, but for purposes of this illustration, it’s not).
The woman in this case is asking $18,000 for replacing everything. IMO, that’s a damn cheap price for the bank to pay. So what if her property was only worth $5000 in used condition, or it only costs $10,000 to replace it all? The bank will quickly lose a hell of a lot more than $18,000 from wasted time fixing this, legal costs, and bad publicity.
The workers are probably in for a really bad day, and the owner may not get in any trouble for it. Of course, if they went to the home with the Sheriff, the homeowner might just be the one on the wrong end of a gun.
When guns are involved, the fallout from an error is magnified.
The bank screwed up this badly and all the woman wants is $18,000? The bank should pay this off immediately and give her a free toaster because they dodged a bullet. Otherwise some lawyer will come out of the woodwork and they’ll be fighting a million dollar lawsuit.
I agree that people tend to wildly overestimate the value of their individual items (Craiglist is my cite) , but I think they also underestimate the accumulated value of a household. So they overprice the stuff at a garage sale and carry too little insurance.
I assume they would also have to replace them quickly, and that’s where it gets impossible. The value of having all my stuff right now is a very different number than the cost of buying all my stuff over time, and what I have lost is the value of having my stuff right now.