Kamloops News

How a Kamloops woman was scammed selling her car

Katelynn Hammarlund, 20, shows an impound fee notice for a car she sold two months ago and no longer drives. The new owners never registered the vehicle out of her name. She's now stuck with a $750 tab after the vehicle was impounded in Chase.

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops woman says she was handed a notice saying she owes hundreds of dollars in impound lot and storage fees earlier this week for a car she sold months ago.

Katelynn Hammarlund, 20, decided she was going to sell her 2001 Chevy Malibu after she upgraded to a newer vehicle. The young expectant mother did what most people do, and posted an ad online and received a reply from a man asking to view the vehicle.

Hammarlund made arrangements so the potential buyer could view the vehicle in person. When he arrived, he said he wanted the car and gave Hammarlund $900 cash.

"He got winter tires with it, it was all good," she said. "But then he wanted to drive it to the insurance place by himself in my name and I said, 'No, I don't want to do that, that's not good for me, right?'"

Hammarlund agreed to drive him and his girlfriend to the insurance office in her other vehicle and then bring them back to her place so he could put the plates on the vehicle sitting in her driveway.

"I watched them walk in (to the insurance office), waited about 20 minutes and they came out with plates," she said. "So I was like 'Well that went well, it's in his name.'"

Hammarlund drove the couple back to her house and they put the plates back on their new car and drove away.

Almost two months later, Hammarlund found out the car was still in her name.

"I received a letter in the mail on Monday night (Dec. 17) with his name, a copy of a DUI ticket, and a $750 charge of impound and storage at LJ's Towing in Chase," Hammarlund said.

Unfortunately, Hammarlund didn't keep a copy of the transfer of ownership.

The soon-to-be mother says she was taken back by the notice and called the impound lot to see what she could do. Hammarlund said the company told her she had to pay the fine or else it would negatively affect her credit score or her ability to renew her licence.

She then decided to contact ICBC and the police, to weigh her other options. Again, Hammarlund says she found out there wasn't much she could do since the car was under her name.

"I am at a loss," she said. "Even if I had the registration papers, the transfer forms, there is nothing I can do now."

Hammarlund said she hasn't been successful in contacting the man she sold the car to. 

With Christmas right around the corner and with a baby on the way, Hammarlund said she's tight on cash and paying a $750 impound and storage fee on someone else's behalf doesn't seem fair.

"There's no way I can make this payment," she said, adding that she's turned to social media to ask people for suggestions.

Some people have suggested she not pay the fine and leave the car in the impound lot. She's also been told some companies might buy the car for scrap, so she would only have to pay for towing fee, which would be between $100 to $200.

Hammarlund hopes her story can be a cautionary tale for others so they can avoid this type of scam.

"I think maybe (the buyer) had the plates already in a bag or something," she said. "I don't think his intention was to ever get the vehicle registered in his name. It's fraud."

Hammarlund says she hopes she can find a way to deal with the $750 tab before it's due in two weeks.

"I'm hoping to get help somehow," she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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