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That Scam Nearly Blew Them Over

, , | Legal | January 29, 2021

I’m out to do errands with my husband. He has just parked our car in a large-ish free parking lot that serves several shops. As I exit the car, there’s a strong gust of wind and I can’t avoid the door hitting the side of a car nearby with an audible “thunk.” My husband comes around from the other side and we contemplate the damage; our car is all right but for a small dent, but there’s a visible scratch on the other one.

Husband: “We can’t stay here waiting for the owner to show up. Just leave a note with our phone number under the windshield wiper and let’s go.”

While I’m doing this, a well-dressed man in his forties appears.

Man: “Excuse me. Is something the matter?”

He says he works in one of the offices above and the car we’re standing nearby is his wife’s. We explain what happened, apologize, and offer to fill out the Accident Statement so that our insurance will cover the cost of repairs. During the entire conversation, he’s understanding and polite.

Man: “You know what, it’s a pity to go through insurance; your fee will go up. Personally, I wouldn’t even bother with such a scratch, but it happens to be my wife’s car. Why don’t we just settle the matter between us?”

He offers us a deal: 100€ in cash to cover the bodywork costs and no need to go through insurance with all the related hassle. I’m tempted to agree, as we’ve been standing in the parking lot long enough and I’m freezing. My husband is not convinced and would still rather do the Accident Statement. While they’re talking, two elder ladies with shopping bags show up.

Old Lady: “What are you lot all doing right by my car?”

Realization of what had happened struck us like lightning. I turned around from looking at the ladies to speak to the man, but he had already scarpered!

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