Neighbour war...possibly heating up...question

My best friend (let’s call her Anna) and her fiance (Mark)were coming back from Florida and their car broke down in Grand Forks, ND. They left it with a garage and made their way back to Canada. The following Monday, they found out the car’s computer was blown, and the vehicle is simply not worth the price of repairs so they wanted to junk it. Unfortunately, you can’t junk a vehicle in the States. You are required to bring it back. The fiance found this out when he went down to grab their luggage and empty the car - basically they had to find some way to tow it home.

Eureka! A neighbour (three doors down) was driving his large flatbed down to Grand Forks to pick up two vehicles, one that was supposed to be driveable, and one that wasn’t. Anna asked if there was room, would he mind also picking up their broken vehicle anyway? They said if he did, they would pay for his gas one way. He agreed and off he went.

He was late getting to the garage (unforseen delays) and the garage was closed and had not (despite previous arrangement) left the vehicle open, with the keys under the mat. The neighbour had no way to pick up the car since he wasn’t able to put it in neutral. Anna and Mark offered to pay for a night in a hotel and his meals if he would stay overnight, but he said he had to come home. He came back with the two cars he had originally planned to bring back.

Anna and Mark gave him a thank you card and a number of restaurant gift cards, totalling about 75.00, to thank him for the time spent trying to figure it out, and also 20.00 for the phone calls home. They came home today to find the card returned, complete with the gift cards and the 20.00 and a demand for $350, saying he “ran the diesel all the way down there”.

Now, I am a little more forceful than her, but it’s my argument that if there was an agreement (or contract) then it depended on him bringing back the car, since he didn’t fulfill, why would they pay? He was going down there anyway, and taking the flatbed anyway for his own purposes. But I tend to get pretty worked-up. I have already explained how ugly neighbour fights can get, but she honestly can’t afford $350 for nothing except paying off a bully.

What say you guys?

I say his costs were covered by whatever had him going down there in the first place. Why exactly does he think she owes him for his own business?

I agree, completely. I think he is trying to bully her into paying him some money, because he feels he can…

Both sides made a mistake, but I’m more on your friend’s side. All concerned should have set a fee before hand.

But since the driver didn’t I don’t know how he can demand so much. Did he show receipts for gas? At least he returned the stuff they offered.

Try having your friends say something about the receipts. If the driver is still aggressive about it maybe a hint that they are considering “legal options” might be in order. I don’t know what your system in Canada would do for either side.

Why on earth does he feel he CAN? is the question. I’d tell your sister to ignore him, as if this is the whole story, he’s clearly insane.

Are your friends in the Winnipeg area? Assuming they are…

Even if he had actually picked their car up, $350 would surely be considerably more than the cost of gas, one-way, from Winnipeg to Grand Forks, which is what he agreed to when they made the arrangement.

According to Google maps, Winnipeg to Grand Forks is about 240 km, or about 150 miles. Even if his truck only gets 5 mpg (very unlikely), that’s 30 gallons, or about 115 litres to drive one way. And even if diesel is $2.00 per liter in Canada (which i doubt), that would still be only $230.

So, basically, he’s asking for far more than he originally agreed to, even if he had actually brought the car back with him. But he didn’t bring the car back, and he apparently had to drive to Grand Forks anyway, so i think he should take what your friends offered him, along with a large steaming mug of STFU.

No AAA plus towing insurance, your fault, sorry.

This is my take, too. He was going anyway, he didn’t do what they agreed they would pay for him to do, they owe him nothing.

I think the thank you card and gift cards were generous and appropriate considering he did have the hassle of going to the lot the car was in and finding it locked. But that’s all I think they owe him, nothing more.

Here would be my approach. How far out of the way did he have to drive to try to pick up your car? Pay him for that time and fuel. How much time did he waste trying to get the car when he got there? Pay him for that time as well. It sure ain’t HIS fault he could not get the car.

Have any idea of those numbers? If it was 5 miles outa the way and 15 minutes a gift card and note is fine. If it was way more than that then yeah, the note and gift card are probably not enough.

A total shot in the dark here but is it possible he thinks your relatives are much richer than himself? And because of that thinks it only right they compensate him excessively just cuz?
I’ve had to deal with this same issue with some of my wife’s family, they would drop off broken or virus infected PCs and expect me to fix them for free(I did not mind really) but then he wanted to christen our son(he is a preacher with a church) and I was like eh ok. Later on he tells my wife we owe him $500 for that, saying some words over a kid after his regular services.:mad: I was preparing to send him a bill for my computer repair services, eventually my wife actually showed him our bank statements and asked him who was rich.

Paying him for whatever added expense going to the garage cost him is fair. Beyond that, nothing. If I read it correctly he was making the trip anyway and was paid for it by someone else.

I am with your friend all the way on this. Rewording the problem, I ask UPS to pick up a package from a small business in Fargo. The driver gets there too late to receive the package but is still able to fill up her truck because of another order.

UPS could charge you an attempted pickup fee (which your friends offered with the gift cards) but they would never charge you for the freight of the other packages.

The driver is wrong and being very unethical in this scenario.

I’m wondering what idea is in his head that makes him think that he is owed $350. Do you suppose once he arranged to pick up their car, he got it in his head that they would be paying for his whole trip and he doesn’t want to admit to the reality that they shouldn’t be paying for it now, since he didn’t pick up their car? That is a very strange idea, that someone should still owe you money when you didn’t fulfill your part of the bargain.

They should pay him (cash) for whatever added inconvenience he suffered. I can see him being pissed about a thank you card and gift cards, though.

Gift cards for restaurants are much worse than cash because not only are they only good at a specific place, but you rarely (if ever) could use one without paying extra money (for tax, tip, etc.) above the face value of the card. So $20 plus $70 worth of gift cards is really only $20 if the person doesn’t care to go through the trouble and probable extra expense of using the gift cards.

However, I agree that they should not feel they owe him anything near to $350. But he did go out of his way to check on their car and used mileage and time. So they and he ought to be able to come to an agreement somewhere between $20 and say $100 for his time and trouble.

I think he’s pissed off (unjustified in some senses, justified in others) about going out of the way and wasting time. But the cards were an honest attempt to compensate him for his trouble. If he had declined them and instead requested reasonable compensation for his expenses (which a $75 gift card sounds like it would cover), and reasonable compensation was not provided, then he might have some reason to be pissed. But he has no reason to be pissed off if he doesn’t make a reasonable effort to resolve the issue.

I have had restaurant gift cards expire. I have had restaurant gift cards for restaurants I do not like. Cash, on the other hand, is always appropriate.

Next time you put $50 worth of gas into your car, try paying with a Domino’s Pizza fifty dollar gift card.

You caught the part about a ‘reasonable effort to resolve the issue’ right? If he doesn’t want the gift cards, he could say so, and ask for reasonable compensation. $350 sounds high to me, but if it’s valid, he’s reasonable in asking for it. Not in getting all bent out of shape. Of course I don’t know if the OP is being reasonable either.

And that would be your fault.