Tried to save the Oshkosh

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TheTrainMagnifiq

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Hello. Like most I've lurked for quite a long time since high school a few years back and have decided to share my recent experience. I have typed the same thing over and over too much so most of this will be copy and paste from the emails I sent to "consumer protections" with some edits. Keep in mind I was eager to acquire this truck at the time and this was my first vehicle purchase so not everything I did may have been right.



Summary at the bottom with a timeline.







I bought a former military vehicle from a company in Lititz, Pennsylvania and I needed transport from there to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I went to A1 Auto Transport online and [Claims to not be a broker] was one of the companies to call. I told them the estimated specs and where it was going. The truck's guesstimated weight was about 25,000 lbs based on similar vehicles researched. For about a year I was searching for military trucks to purchase and geeking out about the specs and not once did I find a curb weight for the truck. (an Oshkosh WT-2206) The only weights I ever saw is the GVW (54,000 lbs) and weights that include attachments such as plows and blowers (35K lbs and up). At this point the quote is $650.

On the day the truck was supposed to be transported, they told me the truck is actually 28000 lbs because the dump body is 3500 lbs according to "the specs". Mind you I have been looking at different vehicle weights for about a year and in just a couple days they got the weight without even weighing the truck? Over the phone he said they didn't actually weigh the truck. He didn't even tell me where he got these specs from. Up until this point I thought my truck was going to be transported by a lowboy trailer and for some reason they canceled that. (when i first contacted [Claims to not be a broker] he said " it wasn't that heavy") Since when does 3000 lbs make a difference on a trailer that is designed to carry more than double the weight of my truck? During this final call he said he should have contacted me earlier that day and had to call his insurance to see if they could actually transport the truck. Before the call ended I was told I would have to pay an extra $250 and that he would be in a meeting for the next hour or so and hung up. I tried to contact later by text and call with no response for a while. (October 2019 EDIT: I have found out from a National Stock Number that the curb weight is 24,000lbs with the bed so I wasn't far)

Then, a random text 3 hours later from [Claims to not be a broker]; "please have 800 at delivery." I ask why the extra 150 and he completely ignores that question. I ask if the truck was actually 28k lbs and he says that's what he saw on the specs.

Suddenly I get a phone call from the tow truck driver (X Company instantly brokered by [Claims to not be a broker]) in awe of the truck and explains that the company I bought the truck from had to cut the U joint to the front axle because they were unable to properly disconnect it. What I wasn't told is the tow driver is the one who asked for the connection to be cut because it was "the fastest way." So the damage there is a couple hundred dollars and [Claims to not be a broker] didn't tell me they were going to have a wrecker deliver my truck. At 76 miles, I see no reason why wrecker service was so much more than a lowboy trailer anyway. It's supposed to be the other way around. The total ended up being $1K due to the shady side of towing and i had to scramble and make calls so I wouldn't be completely broke. (The contents of this paragraph all happened between 7:00pm and 12:00am.)

__

So I received the title but it's a transfer title from Delaware. This truck was sitting on the Street for about 2 months before being towed in September 2018. In those two months I have tried to find insurance so I can register it as a historic vehicle but with no luck. Companies (Progressive/State Farm...etc...) keep forcing the idea that I need to get commercial insurance that is way too overpriced for my use purposes. I got multiple quotes and sometimes I was able to get non-commercial quotes but those were barely any cheaper.

Specialty companies like Hagerty/subsidiaries of regular companies say they can't insure me because I don't have a regular use car. Even companies that say they are flexible say they cant. I bought this Oshkosh WT-2206 with the intention of occasional pleasure driving and proud display of a former military vehicle. I take SEPTA because that is good enough for me at this time. I might even be employed with SEPTA in the future and that comes with many benefits as you may know. Not even that is good enough to be considered.

I have been doing my research for years on this and most of it was done on a site called SteelSoldiers.com where I found out I can actually purchase and pleasure drive surplus military vehicles on public roads with specialty insurance and Historic Vehicle license plates for certain. I guess with insurance agents that aren't up to speed and dishonest business practices, all of that research doesn't matter.

I called the abandoned vehicles unit within the Philadelphia Police and they told me it was taken by [Police Towing Contractor] in south west Philadelphia which is basically a huge junkyard with salvage written all over it. When I was much younger, I used to live near it and thought of it as the Times Square of Tow Trucks and disposable vehicles. I haven't called the company yet because it involves too much money and things that don't seem possible to get.

Assuming I can pay them, I'd still need storage so this won't happen again. But to get storage I need insurance and registration which I can't get because I take SEPTA. Even to get a permit from the Philadelphia Parking Authority to park on the street needs those things.

I called [Police Towing Contractor] and basically the price by now is at least $3K and they don't want to work with me on the price despite my circumstances. I finally found (not perfect) insurance from GEICO that works for now. I go to AAA to help me register it and they say the title was jumped by the company I bought it from. I'm kind of new to titles & registration so I didn't know the absence of the previous owners signature on the back meant I couldn't register it until they did.
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I sent this to the AG's office after contacting [Police Towing Contractor] (2018 ) and nothing at first but then I contacted them again in January (2019) and I received the attached letter along with info about suing and such. I respond:



Surely this can't be fair. [Life's not fair cool story I agree] I spend my hard earned money on a product, get scammed by multiple entities and I am the one that gets punished for it. And the worse part is I didn't even get to use it. I shouldn't have to pay even more money in court on a case that I have no guarantee of winning based on what the city says about its codes and businesses that hide behind them . They are bound not to consider all that I have gone though, just the final result of the crimes done to me that are actually blamed on me.

---------





And I sent this as well:

.................................misc.......................... (October 2019 EDIT: I have been in recent contact and the rates seem to go up and down accordingly. We are now going on to $20,000 in fees. If I never contacted the AG they probably would have already disposed of the truck as they seem to do every few months(?))

For perspective. I filed a 311 complaint back in July(2018 ) for a large pot hole/cave in that formed along Roosevelt Boulevard. It wasn't fixed until mid January of this new year (2019) and it wasn't even smooth. It was wavy and uneven with the road so it got destroyed as heavy vehicles drove over it exposing a large rectangular depression. (probably would say worse than the original hole) They had to come back and fix it.

So compare my complaint of an actual "Health and Safety Hazard" of a cave in in a heavily traveled road similar to an interstate highway vs my harmlessly parked vehicle on the side of a seldom traveled road. 6 months for something important to be fixed vs 5 days (I think it was faster) for someone's property to be taken away for no reason without warning. Priorities need to be straightened out. If it was an actual "Health and Safety Hazard" it would not have taken 2 months for it to be removed. During that time I have watched the truck and countless police patrols have driven, and walked passed this truck and not one batted an eye because it was no different than the other trucks and buses that usually park on that street for extended periods of time.

And if I were to have had a historic registration as planned at the time, valid inspection would not be necessary. It is a one time payment for registration but as I said before, the title was jumped to me and I was scammed by the company who brokered a tow at the last second even though they say they aren't brokers.
I am pretty sure there are supposed to be protections or exceptions to policies and codes if something like this happens. If not, there needs to be.
Thank you.
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Managing Director response (January 2019)

"Unfortunately, I’m afraid there isn’t much assistance that the City can provide in this case. The issue with the towing company that transported the truck is what is referred to as a ‘consensual’ towing agreement between private parties. The City has previously attempted to regulate this type of activity, but courts ruled that we cannot do so. The only towing activity that the City can regulate is ‘non consensual’ tows that occur exclusively within the city limits, such as in the event of an accident in the public right of way to which an emergency response has been dispatched, or if a vehicle is parked unlawfully on public or private property and is removed. We unfortunately lack the legal means to regulate private towing agreements – the courts have ruled that these are private contracts between consenting parties. However, if you feel that there is a deceptive business practice involved, the PA Office of Attorney General may be able to investigate the matter – and would have the best ability to do so since multiple jurisdictions are involved.

With respect to the impoundment of the vehicle, unfortunately it is against the law to park a vehicle on a public roadway if that vehicle is not registered, displaying a license plate, is uninsured, or does not have a valid inspection sticker. Vehicles in this situation cannot lawfully be parked or operated on public roadways in Pennsylvania under any circumstances. City law permits vehicles in this situation to be towed away by a salvor under contract with the Philadelphia Police Department, and that salvor is entitled under the law to charge towing and storage fees and auction off the vehicle if it is not claimed by its legal owner.

I regret that the City does not have the ability to intervene in this matter. I recognize that it must be deeply frustrating, and I do hope you ultimately have a satisfactory resolution. However, at the very least, you may want to consider contacting a private attorney to see if you can pursue a legal case against the first towing company for deceptive business practices and against any other parties that you suspect may have committed misconduct in this case.


(Another AG quote)
So as the top law enforcement agency in the state, absolutely nothing can be done about a local law enforcement agency allowing a resident's property to be held at ransom by someone they contracted to do the job. No type of regulatory duties that can be performed to end this sooner rather than later with a definite decision? They are hiding behind the fact that the truck wasn't towed illegally but are totally ignoring the fact that I didn't do anything illegal and am 100% being taken advantage of for a third time. First by the seller, then from the towing company that delivered the truck, and now by the police and their contractor. They even advised that the truck isn't worth it and I should just buy another one.


A couple things I may have missed....



I did test drive the truck and it was in good condition. Everything seemed fine and I believe it had less than 1K miles on it (700~ and the 4th digit was in tenths?)



I decided not to purchase it right there. But changed my mind and called a few weeks later to purchase it over the phone.



I tried to force the issue with Hagerty because the wording on their website implies that public transportation is considered in rare cases. They didn't even accept a non owners policy that I have researched to be equal to their requirements.



The police say they can't do anything even though research states they regulate fees and procedures that can be reversed/addressed pending unique circumstances. The police say all responsibility is placed on the vehicle owner no matter what.



I was going off research that the title was valid registration for the first month. But nothing seems to work out as planned as previous insurance problems weren't anticipated, the jumped title wasn't anticipated and the vehicle damage wasn't anticipated.



I read an article that in a few cities if something happened that was out the the owners hands, exceptions would be made by the police/city and the vehicle is released at a discounted price or no fee at all.



For some reason when I was trying to register through Vermont, they sent the application back multiple times stating things were incorrect. (the weren't) The Vermont DMV Commissioner's office handled it.



[Police Towing Contractor] knew from the police report that it was listed as abandoned and I didn't call for months because I was unable to do anything. Why did they keep it this long even though I told them the fees were too much? (even before contacting the AG) They said they would consider lowering the fees multiple times and even told the police this recently. (Oct)



I've come across many people who don't understand/can't fathom this type of recreation. I was trying to explain to one insurance agent who responded; " You want to drive a 54K lb truck for recreation?!?" (It's 24K lb but does it matter)



In stages I wanted to see what the largest vehicle I could drive on the road was. I started with the obvious H1/H2. Then the AM General tractors and finally the Oshkosh trucks. The WT seemed perfect as an oversized 4x4 that no one else would have.



The area the truck was dropped in was an open area that tractors, tractor-trailers, buses and box trucks regularly park so any argument stating it was unsafe on the street vs any other vehicle is invalid and doesn't make any sense. I cant stand that just because it's a military vehicle or looks different than other trucks, it has to be treated like a 100 ton death machine. That is one of the reasons they say they want to dismantle and sell this monstrosity for parts as they are doing a service. (sarcasm if you didn't notice)





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Summary time



Basically I purchased the Oshkosh WT-2206 from Gerhart Machinery in July 2018 but unfortunately after I purchased the vehicle, the towing company that shipped it from Lititz to Philadelphia decided to cut the driveshaft links instead of properly disconnecting them so it had to stay on the street. (I was under the impression that it would be on a flatbed) On top of that they made me pay more than the original asking price so that left me bankrupt. I spent months contacting numerous consumer protection agencies who all did nothing to help.



After a few months (end of September 2018 which is longer than expected) of being parked on the street where large trucks usually park with plenty of space, it was towed away as an abandoned vehicle just to add to my troubles. (Remember I couldn't move it even if I wanted to because it was damaged and I had no money) It wasn't until December 2018 when I finally found some reasonable insurance to register & another fissure is met. The title that I got in the mail back in August 2018 is no good because it was never registered by the company that sold me the truck. It is a transfer title from Delaware issued in December 2008. I even showed the title to multiple people and no one caught on to it. I spent the past year contacting more supposed consumer protection agencies that do nothing and also the city/police itself and they basically called me the criminal in this case. It was 100% my fault that city codes and rules were broken & there are no exceptions for some odd reason. So counting here I am a victim of a towing scam and title jumping.



Timeline of how I found things out;



-Gathered general knowledge and interest in hobby (2010-2018 )



-Bought truck (July 2018 )



- [X Company] says my truck is overweight without proof and broker's a company out to hook n' tow instead of using one of their drivers with a trailer.



-Driver damaged truck to save time on his Friday night (Aug 2018 )



-Insurance isn't what I thought it was and had to find someone new (Aug-Dec 2018 )



-311 complaint (who knows what it said) prompts Police to declare it abandoned with no warning and has it towed (end of September)



-[Police Towing Contractor] refuses to consider my situation, make a deal and stop/lower the fees (Dec 2018 )



-Finds reasonable Geico offer (Dec 2018 )



-Turns out title isn't valid/transferable. It was jumped (Dec 2018 )



-PA Attorney General's Office mediates with no resolution. [Police Towing Contractor] takes offense to this and decides to keep truck to rack up fees for legal reasons (?) (Dec 2018 - Feb 2019)



-Tries to find a way to register (Jan-March 2019)



-Gave up/cancelled everything (March-April 2019)



-Calls to see if truck is still there and what the plans are for it. I'm told my truck has been there waiting for me to pick it up and they don't know why I didn't in December 2018. Threatened to counter sue if I sue but lowering of fees to $2K is considered. Says they will talk to the boss and call me back. No call (June 2019)



-Start's the process over again (June 2019)



-Geico says they can't insure me because of an error (June 2019)



-Finds reasonable Progressive offer (July 2019)



-Multiple denials but I finally achieve antique registration through Vermont (September 2019)



-[Police Towing Contractor] says $18,000 is the price and can't be paid any other time. Says they will talk to the boss and call me back. No call (Oct 2019)



-Police says it's not worth it and I should buy another one. Simply buy another one. Completely ignoring the scams and history I've been through and just recited in detail at the start of the call. Says [Police Towing Contractor] is willing to work the fees down to maybe $9K (Oct 2019)



-[Police Towing Contractor] Says there is nothing that can be done because they did nothing wrong. They sympathize with all that I've been through but because I accused them of wrongdoing to the PAAG they will dismantle and sell for parts. Also stuck on the idea that this truck is the most dangerous thing that can be parked on the streets and that is the sole reason it was towed. (Jan 2020)





Hopefully by sharing folks can know what's up, be aware and not have this happen to them.
 

Karl kostman

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I am very sorry to hear of your incredible giant pile of troubles in buying the 2206 (beautiful truck by the way as you already know you bought it) ! I dont have anything to add to lessen you burden of dealing with all this, and I truly cant believe they cut the drive shaft, OH you situation is virtually everybodies worst nightmare, again I feel for all the troubles you experienced with your first truck purchase and thanks for posting I know it does nothing for you but the chance it could help somebody else out is certainly appreciated!!! Hang in there the day will get better for you!
Karl
 

snowtrac nome

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western alaska
Im glad I live in rual Alaska because I would go postal over something like that. I had a parking lot sweeper impounded in anchorage once. this was a piece of equipment that the state wouldn't issue a title on the impound company took my money and would release the trailer to me but not the sweeper because I had no title to prove it was mine. 2 days later and a threat to have a local lawyer who likes to challenge the government agencys ii finally got my property back ,the funny thing was the impound company wanted 2 more days of storage but because they took my money already they couldn't add any more on.
 

Ajax MD

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I am rapidly learning that there is a lot of shadiness inherent in our hobby.

- Transportation fraud (extorting more money to release a vehicle, damaging a vehicle, stealing a vehicle)
- Wire fraud (Vendors accepting money by electronic means but failing to ever deliver a product or shipping incomplete products)
- Misrepresenting products as domestically produced when in fact they are CHICOM garbage
- Extortionate prices for parts that are common and inexpensive if one knows where to look

I find it really disheartening.
 

8madjack

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Gold country Ca.
70 miles, I'd have just drove it 😁 drove my m931a1 50 miles home. I would have gone postal on the tow company to start.....

Sorry for your troubles, a truly horrible story
 

TheTrainMagnifiq

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they impounded/towed the truck from in front of your house?
It was parked nearby on a block next to a shopping area where trucks and buses usually park.

Personally I didn't want to take any pictures when it was down just sitting on the street or in impound. I was planing on installing a dashcam in the cab and posting city driving videos on YouTube. All I have is the original photos from Gerhart and some screenshots from a bad clip I took. In the google image there was always a full sized coach bus that parked behind it and it looked pretty neat. I meant to take a picture those times but that's a beat myself up moment.

70 miles, I'd have just drove it 😁 drove my m931a1 50 miles home. I would have gone postal on the tow company to start.....

Sorry for your troubles, a truly horrible story
That was the plan. But it was 90-100 degrees on the day I went to see it so it messed with my buying decisions.

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Sandyston, NJ
Not to kick you while you are down but why didn't you just tell the first shipping company to pack up and leave it where it was at. All of that change in price, weight claims, poor communication from them would have left a bad taste in my mouth and wouldn't have trusted them with the truck to ship it. Sounds Like you bought it from a reputable company and they would have probably let you leave it there for another week or so until shipping was arranged.
 

TheTrainMagnifiq

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Philadelphia
Not to kick you while you are down but why didn't you just tell the first shipping company to pack up and leave it where it was at. All of that change in price, weight claims, poor communication from them would have left a bad taste in my mouth and wouldn't have trusted them with the truck to ship it. Sounds Like you bought it from a reputable company and they would have probably let you leave it there for another week or so until shipping was arranged.
I don't really remember 100% but I believe they said I couldn't cancel. Either that or it was the combined lack of communication/ignoring with my inexperience. The company that claimed not to be a broker (first company) canceled the lowboy while simultaneously brokering out the job and the local company (second company) didn't call till after they picked it up.
 

davidb56

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I just can't comment anymore on this. I fled Ca as soon as I retired for some of the same type of _rap. It really _isses me off the way the goober mint steals "revenue" from us for no good reason.
 

davidb56

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A Whole lot of Laws are Useless except for collecting revenue. We survive here with a whole lot less laws, and I hope people that move here realize we don't need politicians and councilman running our lives. If that fancies other people.........fine, live where everything you do is already decided for you by the goober mint. Yes....he broke a "parking Law" and super inflated tow yard fees has cost him a large investment. Its His fault for making some wrong decisions.
 
461
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Sandyston, NJ
Laws are laws. You are right people chose to live where there are strict and useless laws but that’s a choice that an individual makes. I can’t stand the let’s blame everyone else mentality and that laws should be bent for them because they didn’t know. Laws were broken no matter how crazy or insignificant they are. I am done.
 

Hookin1

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Where i live the towing companies are under contract with the police. We can't get away with that, although one company has been inflating prices and is in the process of possibly losing their contract with the city. Did you contact the Attorney Generals office? I would recomend that you file a complaint with them over the matter. I despise towing companies who try to take advantage of people in these situations. Sorry that you are having to deal with this. In my city they actually have an ordinance that allows the police to tag your vehicle abandon if it is not registered or insured even if it is sitting on your personal property, once tagged you have 72hrs to move it or register it.
 

davidb56

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Bonners Ferry Idaho
Where i live the towing companies are under contract with the police. We can't get away with that, although one company has been inflating prices and is in the process of possibly losing their contract with the city. Did you contact the Attorney Generals office? I would recomend that you file a complaint with them over the matter. I despise towing companies who try to take advantage of people in these situations. Sorry that you are having to deal with this. In my city they actually have an ordinance that allows the police to tag your vehicle abandon if it is not registered or insured even if it is sitting on your personal property, once tagged you have 72hrs to move it or register it.
So I guess having a parts vehicle in your back yard is out of the question.........
 

davidb56

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Bonners Ferry Idaho
Laws are laws. You are right people chose to live where there are strict and useless laws but that’s a choice that an individual makes. I can’t stand the let’s blame everyone else mentality and that laws should be bent for them because they didn’t know. Laws were broken no matter how crazy or insignificant they are. I am done.
Correct....you cant fight city hall. He knew the risk of parking a 10 ton vehicle off his property, or not parking it in a storage yard.
 

162tcat

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Washington
It was parked nearby on a block next to a shopping area where trucks and buses usually park.

This is the issue. Why would you buy this without having a plan or place to park it? I honestly don’t see any issue with the city or county towing unlicensed vehicles parked around town. Can you imagine what it would look like if they didn’t? Everyone’s broke down POS or unfinished project just parked around town? These vehicles are huge and draw attention. They are cool but ownership of a MV is not for everyone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

TheTrainMagnifiq

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Philadelphia
This is the issue. Why would you buy this without having a plan or place to park it? I honestly don’t see any issue with the city or county towing unlicensed vehicles parked around town. Can you imagine what it would look like if they didn’t? Everyone’s broke down POS or unfinished project just parked around town? These vehicles are huge and draw attention. They are cool but ownership of a MV is not for everyone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Keep in mind I was eager to acquire this truck at the time and this was my first vehicle purchase so not everything I did may have been right.
It was in a relatively truck friendly area for about two months with countless police patrols on foot, bike and cars. I saw actual tickets being written on other cars and honestly in person it is not that huge. It is comparable in size to a U-Haul. There are cars made in 1979 that are longer and still frequently driven today that have a larger footprint. I was intending to move it if there was ever a problem but I couldn't because of the first two companies.

They did nothing wrong. A law was broken and the vehicle got towed. Simple as that.
Also keep in mind my main problem is there were crimes done to me but only the result/barer of those crimes had fallout and not the actual crimes themselves. Say I'm blaming it on someone else but here is the fact, others broke laws who in turn passed the law breaking onto me. Only the last person in line gets the hammer as in so many other stories.

Another thing is when I called the police they said the doors were locked so they weren't able to look inside to get a possible VIN or serial number to trace it back to anything. This truck has no locks. Remember I still had the Deleware transfer title issued to the seller with the Serial on it. Many of the tractors I see parked anywhere in the city don't have visible plates but I'm sure they have something on the inside due to the nature of their work.

Where i live the towing companies are under contract with the police. We can't get away with that, although one company has been inflating prices and is in the process of possibly losing their contract with the city. Did you contact the Attorney Generals office? I would recomend that you file a complaint with them over the matter. I despise towing companies who try to take advantage of people in these situations. Sorry that you are having to deal with this. In my city they actually have an ordinance that allows the police to tag your vehicle abandon if it is not registered or insured even if it is sitting on your personal property, once tagged you have 72hrs to move it or register it.
They only mediate complaints and pushing for more doesn't work.
 
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