Report: #611932

Complaint Review: Bruffys Tow Marina Del Rey california

  • Submitted: Tue, June 08, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, January 16, 2012
  • Reported By: tenniaguy0322 — los angeles California United States of America
  • Bruffys Tow Marina Del Rey california
    4140 glencoe
    marina del rey, California
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I went to take a look at the weekly auto auction for a friend of mine, trying to locate a vehicle for her.  Auction went of as normal, until we got to a couple of nice autos 98 Civic...etc...  During that time the Auctioneer mentions that he will have one their employees bid along...  During the next time the bid went very high, because of the employee and the 70year old gentleman wanting the car $2700.  A number of the regulars who attend the autions noticed the crooked behavior of Bruffys taking advantage of the old man.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to no that you can't have one your employees bid along with the regular bidders.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/08/2010 11:52 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Conflict of Interest

AUTHOR: LA Courts - ()

I guess we do not expect proper articulation from the employee of such a business or its owner(s).  I am awaiting to see how they deal with my complaint.  I await to see how they will sell my car, if the issues cannot be resolved: They are already asking for over $1,500 (and likely over $2,000) as they took my car from Marina City Club on 12 March 2013 and perhaps they will do the right thing and return it. 

An educated and honest executive with a law degree, or just a decent business person, would understand that the better business practice (the non fraudulent type) requires ordering to prohibit employees or contractors, or their family members, from bidding on any foreclosed or to be auctioned properties.  The owner should say, "Right now my job is to clean this office up, make sure we pass the smell test on everything that we do,..". 

I was surprised that the readers thought if the company policy allows a dishonest act of insider dealing, then somehow that would not land the company in a fraud action with punitive damages before a jury.  The jury would love to terminate this business.

If my car is not returned, I plan to ensure that a court tells this business via the auctioning of my car that the owner should have said, "I don't think having employees bid on other people's properties at this time is a good thing." Too many employees in the Office have access to inside information that could be helpful at auctions, he should be saying. 

He should be saying, "Our mission is to make sure that the office is transparent, make sure that we're accountable to the public and to the folks who put their money in the auction process to bid for properties subject to lien,...".  He should be saying: "No employee . . . including family members, administrative staff and/or contractors to the office, are permitted to bid on any car listed for sale today or at any time in the future. That includes, too, members of the immediate family of anyone employed or anyone that resides in the same household as anyone employed by the company."  There are proper solutions, for example placing a reserve price, etc.  Inflating the bids and manipulating the auction is definitely actionable, warranting punitive damages.

My court case, if they do not return my car, will attempt to establish a policy to address the main conflict-of-interest questions that have plagued this business and it's operations: I would push to ensure that no tow company is permitted to do the selling as well as the towing and storing.  You either "tow and store", or "you auction".

Transactions between the company and the car owners and other lien holders and speculators who frequently buy cars at the auctions must not merely be free from conflict -- but it must also appear to be free of conflict.

I am questioning the personal car dealings of the writer/employee who claims to be a manager of sorts.  If he is a person in authority, he should adopt a new policy prohibiting his personnel from bidding on these cars. The prohibition should be extended to employees who processed legal documents or other paperwork related to auction sales.  This is what local governments do in their Sheriff's Sales.  They are auctioning on behalf of the government.  I am not going to explain the economic theory equivalence that the public job has been privatized and given to this tow company.  This is why we need to create conflict of interest walls and the best way is to prohibit any tow company to sell any of the cars.  Thus, we ask a federal, and then a state court, to break up this company.

Let them come with their lawyers into court.  If they release my blue C70 convertible Volvo then I won't have a case against them.  Whether the judge orders them or whether the boss orders an ethically fair policy, would make for a great day for this company.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Unfair Practice Of Bidding

AUTHOR: Arcadian - (U.S.A.)

When you have your employees bidding on a vehicle just to gouge the other consumer, then maybe you should post signs and let people know upfront, im sure if people knew who the bidder were you'll have less people bidding on these vehicles, also you know that part where it says "bruffy will pay for all taxes and license fees thereof." yeah, you'll see the same vehicle up for auction in a later date surely not one week but a few weeks down the line, if they dont sell it for the price they want, they just put that vehicle on the backburner, til another time, they wont pay for fee's which is a bunch of crock. bruffy knows this, just a loophole they have made for themselve, after ripping people off towing thier cars away, in neighborhood where no sogns are posted, on lead with the city of los angeles. They have ripped many people off. I hope for their sake they do good business practice, and not gouge the consumer eyes with these sure they dont care what anyone says. they have everyone by the nuts anyways.
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#3 General Comment

Buying at auctions...

AUTHOR: Striderq - (U.S.A.)

If someone is going to buy an item at an auction, they should decide before the sale starts what is the top amount they will pay for the item. Then they should not bid more than that amount uder any circumstances. If they allow this to happen to them (whether the opposing bidding is an emloyee or not) then they are buying from emotion and not logic. As far as the company allowing employees to bid, if it's not against the law I see no problem with it and respect the company more for telling bidders ahead of time then letting them find out after. 
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#4 Consumer Comment

It is kind of unusual..

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

to have the public bidding along with employees of the auction. Now since this is written in their policy, I imagine it provides impunity from any legal violation, but ethically, I have to question this practice...definition of "shills" from wiki..

"Shills are sometimes employed in auctions. Driving prices up with phony bids, they seek to provoke a bidding war among other participants. Often they are told by the seller precisely how high to bid, as the seller actually pays the price (to himself, of course) if the item does not sell, losing only the auction fees."

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#5 Author of original report

I guess employees are allowed to bid at auction

AUTHOR: tenniaguy0322 - (United States of America)

It seems from your statement, that Bruffy's employees are allowed to bid on the Autos with all the other bidders.  Then I stand corrected, but that still doesn't seem like any fair auction procedure that should be allowed to take place.  The employees should be allowed to purchase autos after they didn't sell at auction...

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#6 UPDATE Employee

2010.0705 Rebuttal to tenniaguy RE Bruffy's Tow

AUTHOR: R.L. Adlof - (U.S.A.)

Please understand that the posted complaint by the individual only known as tenniaguy0322 got the situation diametrically incorrect from the actual situation. Lien Sale Auctions at Official Police Garages, such as Bruffys, are highly regulated and monitored events and are governed by state law and city ordinance. Bruffys operates well within these laws designed to protect the public at large and, in fact although the individual completely misinterpreted the events; their account of the event actually highlights our efforts to protect the public.

1. The terms and rules of our Lien Sale Auctions are posted in Bruffys lobby and photocopies are available upon request.

2. Bruffys only recovers monies from unpaid services and impounds from each vehicle submitted to lien sale by Bruffys. Bruffys can collect no more than what it is owed. All monies above the amount required to satisfy Bruffys lien are used to pay-down any outstanding tickets then any remaining excess is sent to the State of California and can be claimed by the vehicles last prior registered owner. Bruffys has no interest in the final bid price of the vehicle beyond settling the outstanding debt and Bruffys has no incentive to drive the bid up to very high.

3. Note that all vehicles are submitted to lien sale to allow the public the opportunity to bid upon them. Bruffys does not pull the best vehicles out of the sale Everyone gets a shot at making the winning bid on the vehicle. The majority of bids fail to cure the entire lien owed to Bruffys.

4. The rules clearly state that Bruffys and any of its employees are allowed bid upon any car they desire to purchase. Bruffys and its employees have the exact same right to bid upon vehicles that any individual from the public at large has to bid upon any vehicle. If Bruffys representative or one of its employees places the winning bid, they must pay the entire amount of the bid and any applicable taxes then take possession of the vehicle just like any one else at the auction. The desire to own the vehicle is the driving reason for bidding, not driving up the price.

5. Bruffys announces that an employee or a representative wishes to bid on a car and introduces that representative or employee to everyone at the auction to place folk on notice that someone from the firm is bidding on the vehicle. Bruffys does this to remain completely open to the public. Bruffys introducing employees and representatives means we are not being covert. Bruffys has nothing to hide and, in fact, is publically declaring that the process is above board . . . Unlike the individual only known as tenniaguy0322.

TO RECAP: The post states that the vehicle was desirable and that Bruffys announced that one of their employees desired to bid upon the vehicle . . . Which was that employees right. Bruffys was above board and acted transparently throughout the process AND the individual complaining about our reasonable, legal and ethical actions is concealed behind covert anonymity.

For one to understand Lien Sale Auctions at Bruffys; one has only got to apply reasonable logic that it is in Bruffys best interest to remain completely open and forthright in its dealing with the public AND it is in the publics best interest that Bruffys does so.

Respectfully, Richard L. Adlof -Comptroller, Bruffys Del Rey Tow

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