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Posted: 10/23/2004 12:40:58 PM EDT
I'll try to make a long story short. I am an owner operator trucking company with two trucks leased on to a company. I pay the company $100 a week for trailer rental for a 48' flatbed. I have been renting it from them since April 2004. We have received tickets and warning 4 times because we did not have documentation for the trailer and requested this information from our company. My driver was put out of service 2 weeks ago for not having trailer documentation. The company would always tell us they would pay the tickets and get it taken care of. Wednesday of this week my driver delivered a load to Virginia (we are in Texas) and received a call from the company's dispatcher to only bring a load back to Texas and park the trailer in the company yard. My driver knew this was out of the ordinary and questioned the dispatcher who finally told him the trailer was listed as "stolen" since May 2004. Apparently my driver was told back in April 2004 to pick up the incorrect trailer in the storage yard the company shares with other trucking companies. We later had converations with the Genaral Manager about how much they paid for the trailer, etc. because I asked about purchasing it from them. We have been running about 7 months now with a trailer that has been listed as "stolen."
Trying to keep it short....I had my driver drive empty to home at my expense. A talk with the company owner has resulted in the owner threatening to end our business relations "contract" if I turn the trailer over to the authorities and talked to DOT (Department of Transportation) instead of keeping quiet and returning it to the company storage yard and letting the company I am leased to try to contact the owners of the trailer and compensate them for use of the trailer.

Any good suggestions or lawyers that could handle this in Texas?
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 12:53:14 PM EDT
You haven't called the cops yet?
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:00:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kidlightning:

returning it to the company storage yard and letting the company I am leased to try to contact the owners of the trailer and compensate them for use of the trailer.

If I was anywhere near they yard, first, its their fuckup, headache & potential money loss, let them figure it out. Second it will affect your cash flow if they pull the plug on you now. Truck sits= you and driver with no income.

If it was cross country, I wouldnt like it but may try and slide back to their yard.

I guess my biggest thing would be, where the flock is my trailer I am paying you for me to buy damnit!!!!!

Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:02:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/23/2004 1:05:35 PM EDT by TwoStage]
Holly Smokes man you could have had the rig impounded and the driver could have went to jail Scale masters have done that in the past.

There are other companies to lease to, I would find one.

Trun their A$$ in and move on to another company, that is your rig and it won't make anything setting in a impound some where.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:05:18 PM EDT
+1 on the above post.

If he gets pulled over and it's run, your driver can go to jail and there will be impound fees associated with it. Not to mention the bad things that can come of you knowing you've got a stolen trailer. Eeek!! I'd call cops, then sue the company you're leasing from.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:10:28 PM EDT
Definatly contact a good lawyer asaFp, because I'm not a lawyer. Look into breaking the lease at no expense to yourself. Take them to court if they want. Turn them into the police as soon as you have a good lawyer. The first question the law will ask when you tell them what date you found out is why didnt' you tell them earlier. Start a new lease with a different company asap. If you lose money waiting to find another company, sue the original company for lost income.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:15:35 PM EDT
You last guys do realize when the truck sits, and you still have truck payments, and insurance and house bills and etc, etc, etc.......there is no income. None for the owner and none for the driver.

I agree the company is fubar'd. I agree he needs to move on, but to call the cops, truck gets parked regardless and he has no money headed straight to the poor house in the hammer lane.

Furthermore the company can always say, "He stole it" and try and blame the owner operater/driver. Now his truck (that he still has to make payments on or lose) is impounded anyway, etc.

Discretion is the better part of valor. Get out as easy as you can. Give him his stolen trailer. Find another company and move on.

Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:19:14 PM EDT
Best bet is for the 2 of you to part ways now. Nothing good will come of this for either of you.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 1:26:46 PM EDT
We found out on Wednesday it was listed as stolen. My driver drove it home from Virginia and parked it this morning. There is alot of expense and lost wages for myself as well as my drivers. My plans are to talk to the Police Department on Monday and turn possession of the trailer over to them. My biggest concern was getting my driver home without him being arrested. Now that he is home I am looking at collecting losts wages, expenses, etc.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 2:31:47 PM EDT
This shit happens all the time. Big companies with many(hundred's if not thousands)of trailers. Drivers drop them and quit or get under another trailer because the other has bad tires,air leaks,lights don't work, etc.and they get lost .If they list it as stolen and it never turns up insurance company will settle. But insurance companies don't pay for shit that gets lost. Wreck your truck and insurance pays, lose your truck and you are s.o.l. Some companies will pay a token"finders fee" if you locate one of their lost trailers.

I would have loaded it and brought it home. You are no more likely to get busted pulling it with a load than with it empty, actually probably less so if your way bills are in order and show the trailer number and it would have paid your way.If you were going to get busted for the "stolen" trailer it would have happened when you got the first citation for the registration.If you were really worried about him getting busted why didn't you tell him to dolley down and come home?You made the call, it's your loss.

Is the company refusing to put you under another trailer?If so they are probably pissed because you left the load and now they have an angry customer.Were they willing to put you under one when you decided to bring him in empty?

If the trailer belongs to a leasing company they won't give a shit as long as the company pays the rental for the time/miles on the trailer.If it belongs to another trucking company probably the same is true, although they may want compensation for lost revenue. In any event the company should take care of that.

If you got the trailer home and all you are actually out is the fuel/deadhead home(which was your call) I don't see any advantage in getting the authorities involved. What can you possibly gain?If the people who own the trailer want to file/press charges against someone its going to be you. You had their trailer no matter what a dispatcher told you. It will become your word against the dispatchers( who will maintain its your fault because you got the wrong trailer and claim he gave you the right number true or not) and it will only cost you more money.

It does sound like your company wants to just put the trailer back on the drop yard and hope nobody pursues the issue, which is kinda sleazy but for them cost effective. No blood no foul kind of thing.

Cut your losses and either patch up your relationship with your current company or move your lease. In either case in the future if you don't have proper documentation for your equipment don't pull it.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 2:39:24 PM EDT
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