Hi, I need a little help. A buddy had a CNC millimg machine dropped off at his shop 3 years ago. The machine owner wanted lessons on running the machine. His interest dropped off and has not been around for a couple of years. No answer on him phone number. Just dropped off the face of the earth. So to sell the machine I would think that a Lien would be in order. You never know when some will show up and say Hey that,s mine and I want it. So if my buddy sell,s it or gives it away to make room in his shop I dont want him in trouble later down the road. Thanks for and help, Scott ps this is in California
It might be stolen. A lien is placed on a machine if money is owed on it. What you want is a clear title. If it's worth quite a bit then consult a lawyer . If it's junk then scrap it out.
in my state you have time limits as to when you can file a lien from date of sale or services supplied
I'm no attorney but I play one on the iNet. I would check state laws for abandoned property. Your buddy could go to prison if he just sells it out from under the owner. In Texas, he could make a reasonable storage claim and the property would have to be auctioned to pay the storage claim. If your buddy has used the machine, the can of worms is fully open. Better to seek professional help rather than risk a theft charge.
I would start by sending a hard copy certified signature required letter to the last know address. The person picking up and signing for the letter will have to show their ID. Keep copies of phone bills that show date and time he has tried calling. Create a paper trail.
I would create an invoice for storage fees at $100 per month. Put a clause on the invoice that any property left unpaid for 36 months is considered abandoned and will be auctioned to cover storage fees.
Thanks guys for all the advice. A paper trail we have. I will talk to the local court in the morning and let you know what they say, Scott
I would add to this that the machine "owner" might not be the owner if he took out a loan to purchase it. The rightful owner might be a bank or another individual. That's another reason it is so important for him to establish a clear title prior to selling property he didn't purchase.
As stated above, the first right course of action is to consult a professional. Good luck!
How can your buddy sell something that does not belong to him & be comfortable with that decision ?
Your buddy should have anticipated this scenario when the machine was dropped off at his shop - not try to do it now.
Going back & creating charges for storage is unethical if storage charges were never discussed.
Your buddy should find where this guy lives & take the machine to him - if he does not know where he lives your buddy should try & contact the nearest relative.
Your buddy does not own this ....
Jim, You are so right. But the guy who owns the machine is no where to be found. The machine is taking up floor space in a machine shop. The machine weighs over 10,000 pounds. It needs to be gone and we are trying to do it the right way. And you are right there was nothing said about storage and we are not claiming that. Its been over 3 years so what would you do?
Google the guy and see if you can find him. If you find him, inform him he has 30 days to get the machine out of its current location. Other than that, I would contact an attorney and see if legal action for abandoned property could be sought. You may find it easy to become an owner of that.
There's almost no such thing as "nowhere to be found" today. With the internet, the ability to locate people is astounding, even scary. A name & last known whereabouts may be all you need to know. Unless his name is John Smith....
Typical law for real property that has been abandoned is that the owner still has right of ownership. Selling property without ownership is unlawful.
The legal way is to inform the owner, by written notice, to remove, or that the property will be disposed at a certain date. You must try to contact/inform/ and or get permission.
Selling without ownership is difficult to do, as a buyer will want knowledge with a bill of sale that you are the legal owner, which of course now you aren't.
No offense intended - honestly ...
But - only a fool would allow a 10,000 pound machine to be left at their business without some type of written agreement in advance.
I would stay out of this - your friend needs to learn an expensive lesson.
Assuming the machine has a tag showing the make/model and serial number, you may be able to find (at least) the original owner by contacting the manufacturer. Generally speaking, machinery of this value would have a warranty, or at least a record of sale, which would have to be in the name of the original purchaser. Might be a good place to start.
If that doesn't pan out, you could always loan it to a local trade school- it would get it out of your way and technically you wouldn't be selling it.
Just my $.02 worth. Mark.
A lot of good advice here.
Either the guy that dropped off the machine is alive or dead.
If alive - try contacting him as others have suggested.
If dead - contact his next of kin.
Folks usually do not walk away from something of value.
Jim, I think that the guy got in over his head. He had very little money in the machine. He had no place to take the machine after he was to learn how to run it. So he dropped the ball and left my buddy to hold the bag. And yes he still owns it. No we will not just sell it of let anyone else use it. He may still owe on the machine from who he got it from and this is his way of not paying.
Thanks to all that chime in. As things go forward I will keep you posted. The info may help someone in the future, Scott
Well the trouble is to if you try to move the machine,and damage it,then they can come along and say,you owe $x for damages.
If you contact them,they can come down to the shop and say, "Hey, you hit the side of it and dented it and busted the control board,it is ruined you owe us $XXX".
The man set his self up for a problem letting it come in the door sadly. Had good intentions but now he is caught in the middle.
If your buddy rents the building, he may be in a situation he needs to rent another building and move out and just leave that thing sitting and let the building owner figure out how to get it moved. Since your buddy does not own the machine, and perhaps not the building ,then it would not be his responsibility to move it.
Contact the manufacturer's sales department and see if they are looking for the guy too. It could be that there's repo papers on it from them or their financing agent (bank). If so, recovery is worth about 5-10% of the value.
A 10,000 pound CNC is no toy and could be worth a good chunk of change. The value will depend on whether it's new and the attachments, controls and tooling included. Some of these top $250k+.
There could be several things at play here. The owner could be dead, in jail, divorced and his wife bought it, or ???? I agree with trying to find the owner or next of kin, but sounds like you have tried. I agree with a paper trail of all the things you have tried. But I would just go to a lawyer and file for an abandoned property title. Laws are different everywhere, but there is some provision for such a case as your friends case in every state. I also agree with Freighter Jim that "you do not own it". But after three years your friend does deserver to own it. He just needs to do it in a legal manner. I had a similar (but different) thing happen to me years ago. We had some friends (term used loosely) that were moving from Arkansas to Mississippi because his wife got a real good job offer. He had his grandpas old 4 door 56 Chevy and no time or way to move it quickly. So we moved it to my place and he was supposed to get it the next time he came back to Arkansas. It was sitting in a row of other old cars so not really bothering anything. Young and dumb like I was then, I did not even think of a contract. We just "did things" to help friends and family. So for years, every time they came to Arkansas, they never "had time" to get the car. Fast forward 9 years...... I am starting to clean up the old cars and get rid of stuff. I called the guy and told him it needed to be moved as I was cleaning up. I contacted him three more times during the two years it took to clean up the place. Finally his car is the only thing left. I could have moved it to the rear of the farm but was tired of him by then. I sent him a registered letter (notarized) and said he had 6 months to arrange something or I would sell it for scrap. He phoned me and said he just did not have time to get it. (remember that we are now pushing 12 years of being at my place). So at 7 months it was sold for scrap to a local scrapper who liked old cars. I got 165.00 for the car. I sent him the receipt from the scrap yard and the 165.00. That was several years ago, but about a year ago, he calls me. He just wanted to say that he had been thinking about his grandpas old car, and now that he has the time to work on it, he just wanted me to know "how sorry I was for "screwing" him out of his car" those words are a direct quote. No one needs to know what my reply was, but "how sorry was I" really .... any way I hope the deal with your friend works out for the best. and as always submitted with respect ... Donnie Brown ...
Thanks for that post - it lets' us see what lies further down the road no one really needs to be on.