Originally Posted by NZ Benz
The trick would be to have a POS car worth much less than the fines and buy it back at the auction with a clean title.
In San Francisco....
It takes one or two months for the booted or towed car to come up for auction, and there is no way for you to know the day it happens.
I've seen this happen, but you'd better be prepared to bid to win. I saw one guy try to get his pickup truck back that way, but he didn't bid high enough or wasn't quick enough, (Each auction is over in about 60 seconds, 130 cars get sold in one hour) and the guy even had his truck keys with him, but the guy who won his truck in the auction, wouldn't sell it back to the guy who'd once owned it.
That's been tried, but it requires real dedication. The tow company has to send out at least two certifed letters to the last Known registered owner's address, and then if no one replies, the car goes up for auction.
Trouble is, you'd never know when that is. The auctions are usually held every Wednesday at 10AM, and the gates open at 9:00AM, THAT moment is the first time you get to look at a list of the cars going up for auction. There is about 130 cars at a time, with NO advance notice to the public WHICH cars will get auctioned that day, you'd have to go EVERY week, to look, till your car came up for auction.
Also, there have been problems with auction employees stealing wheels, tires, stereos out of cars before they were auctioned, or switching good tires/wheels for cheap ones on the cars, and the good cars somehow disappearing or secretly auctioned off to auction yard emjployees outside the process, every once in awhile the scandals get to be too much and the contracts go to different towing companies.
Those auctions can be fascinating to watch, and theoretically you could get a running car cheap, and I actually once bought a 1986 Chevy Cavalier wagon that had been abandoned for $1200 worth of parking tickets, for only $325, but had to put about $300- $400 into it, set of keys, alighnment,battery, muffler, brakes, tuneup etc. into it to make a runner out of it.
You bid on cars that may or may not run, 90% of them had problems besides tickets, dead batteries, no gas, flat tires, body damage, bad electrics, abandoned cars, cars seized from criminals, and you have no way to know what you are buying, and hundreds of people are there to bid against you, including poor people, tow truck drivers, illegal immigrants, auto mechanics, students, hippies, etc. It is up to you to pay cash on the spot and remove the vehicle yourself by 5pm off the lot that day. There is a locksmith there who cuts ignition keys for $35 each if you want one. (I used him and lucky for me there was juice in the battery and some gas in the car so I got out of there, many people weren"t so lucky)
The day I bought my car, I saw saw a 12 year old Lincoln Towncar speeding away from the auction, it was full of illegal Mexicans who'd gotten it there. It was pretty funny.
It's a real zoo!