Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that we have been without a vehicle for some time now. Well, we just recently got the motorbike back and I thought now would be a good time to share a bit more about what happened with it.
Before I start, let it be known that I do NOT approve of the purchasing methods here in Guatemala and had nothing to do with the motorbike?s purchase.
When you buy a vehicle here, the papers are very rarely transferred. That means, in the case of the motorbike, some vehicles have had several owners. We think the motorbike had six or seven before Irving. This also means that when something happens, that original owner is still on the hook for everything.
Now, in this case, Irving?s paperwork for the bike had all been stolen a while back. He can?t get the right paperwork without finding the original owner who?s name is still on the bike?s papers. And when the bike was confiscated . . . well, you can?t get it back without the papers, either.
Unfortunately, Irving tried to track the original guy and he has essentially disappeared. With the help of his friend, who sold him the bike, they managed to track back three owners before the trail was lost.
Finally, Irving?s dad told him that he had a friend of a friend who might be able to help. Irving went to talk to the guy who was less than helpful. ?Sorry, I can?t do anything if you can?t prove you?re the rightful owner.? he said. Irving tried again and the guy told him to wait til he had a minute. He waited for an hour, only to be told that there was nothing to be done.
Just then, a judge who studied with Irving from first grade to graduation came in and said he would vouch for him. Then his padrino or godfather, showed up . . . he?s a doctor and a close friend of the mayor of Antigua and said he would vouch for him, too. (btw, I have NO idea what his padrino was doing in the Muni, but that is just an example of Irving?s luck)
Well, in the face of two renowned pillars of the community, the guy at the desk couldn?t say a lot. He called down to the impound lot and told Irving to come in on Monday. They did up the accounts and the grand total came out to Q2,400. That?s just over $300.
Since Irving?s cousin has no intention of paying us for any of the stuff that was his fault (bypassing an officer who told him to stop, not having paperwork or license, sassing the officer who DID stop him, etc.) it was an awful lot to pay. Irving told the guy he might as well buy a new bike instead of paying that much.
Surprisingly, the discussion went on and a number of fees were waived, dropping the grand total to Q750, or just under $100.
On Monday, Irving went back to get his bike and was told at the impound lot that they weren?t going to charge him the full price of having his bike in there for over two months. Instead, they dropped it to just Q150, so we ended up having to only pay Q550.
And now we have the bike again. Which is going to be sold, supposedly, to someone who can either fabricate paperwork or do a better job of sleuthing out the original owner to fix the papers on it. In the meantime, Irving can ride it because he still has the police paper that says everything was stolen.
The Moral of the story: Don?t buy a used vehicle in Guate unless you can get the paperwork transferred from the original owner.