Giennois, after selling their car, received the new owner’s many fines

We were afraid to go to the mailbox. It’s not your body that shakes, it’s your mind.” On January 23, François and Bernadette of Giennois parted with an old car for just 80 euros.

They sell it to a man – who they find out later, presents himself under a false identity – interested in spare parts. Hastily, François admits that he made “a big mistake”: he forgets to make him fill the vehicle transfer certificate.

Almost 2,700 euros in fines

“He lives in Orléans, I thought we’d do the paperwork another day. At least Bernadette got them to cross out the gray card,” he explains. That same evening, misfortunes begin for the couple. The new owner forces the passage to the charge motorway a first time, then a second, a third… Almost every day and all fines arrive in François and Bernadette’s mailbox.

In one month, the amount of fines is close to 2,700 euros. They quickly dispute the fines and go to the gendarmerie.

“I called the highway police, the courts, but without the transfer certificate no one could help me. We went round and round,” says Bernadette.

Confused, François tries “everything for everything”. He is a faithful listener to the RMC radio station and tells them his story. Every morning, in the program “RMC s’engage pour vous”, the editors find solutions to the listeners’ problems.

The couple filed a complaint

Their business interests them. Journalist Joanna Chabas takes responsibility for the case (see box).

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Assisted by a specialized lawyer, Maître Matthieu Lesage, she advises the couple and contacts the National Agency for specific titles so that Bernadette’s name is no longer attached to the vehicle’s registration certificate. “After a week, the dreaded letters stopped coming. What a relief!”, smiles Giennoise. This news sounds the end of the ordeal for François and Bernadette.

“The RMC team really saved our lives. I am indebted to them for life, confides the father of the family. We are not proud, I accept my mistake, but without them I do not know where we would be today. ‘today …”

On his side, the new owner continues the crimes. After highway tolls, he attacks gas stations where he steals fuel. The couple, who no longer risk anything, were notified by the gendarmerie and filed a complaint for embezzlement of license plates.

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In the wings

François and Bernadette’s case is the first that journalist Joanna Chabas has handled alone. “It was a bit vague at first, but Maître Lesage is seeing more and more similar cases. We especially hoped that the fact that it was initially a mistake on their part would not block everything. And it was quickly settled with the National Agency for Specific Titles”, says Joanna Chabas. “I kept checking in to make sure they didn’t get any more fines,” she continues. “It’s always quite touching when it ends well. We often hear that the RMC is the last resort. It always makes me a little sad of it because we shouldn’t be. No one should feel isolated.”

Elodie Pradel

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