A Courtenay man believes the current ICBC system is broken.
James Phillips and his family love to get on their bikes and last August he found one on Craigslist.
But there was a hitch; the motorbike didn’t have any registration papers.
The previous owner had bought it from a local shop and told Phillips that there wasn’t any paperwork for the bike because he had used it for off-road purposes only.
“It was a bit of a red flag that the bike did not come with papers,” Phillips told CHEK.
Phillips was concerned enough that he went to the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) customer services building in Courtenay to find out if the bike had been stolen. ICBC in turn said they couldn’t help him and sent him to an Autoplan broker, who eventually got an answer from an ICBC agent confirming he says that the bike had not been stolen.
“They said it was all good and I just needed to go through the ICBC paperwork and submit all that,” Phillips recalled.
So in September, Phillips sent the paperwork off and was told it would take about three weeks. Eight months later, he still hadn’t heard anything from ICBC.
“My paperwork had apparently been misplaced but they found it and got on it right away. I was contacted to verify a few little details on the paperwork. They said ‘OK in ten days you should have something in the mail,'” Phillips said.
About a week later the police were at his door. It turns out that after all of Phillips’ troubles, the bike had indeed been stolen in December 2006 and ICBC was seizing it.
Phillips says ICBC even questioned him about whether that call with the Autoplan agent had actually occurred, and says at the same time he was told they don’t keep track of those calls.
An ICBC spokesperson tells CHEK News it has no record of the call.
It also turns out the bike had been removed from a police database called CPIC which tracks stolen vehicles because of the length of time that had passed since the December 2006 theft.
Phillips says the system is broken. He says while ICBC told him the bike hadn’t been stolen, they also told him he could have paid $20 for a vehicle inspection report that would have indicated it had been stolen.
“I didn’t know that was a possibility,” Phillips said, who also said the agents he dealt with treated him like he stole it.
ICBC says there were red flags and cautions people against purchasing a vehicle if there is no paperwork.
“Our general advice to the public is that a vehicle without any registration papers is a red flag and we would advise anyone thinking of purchasing a vehicle without any paperwork to proceed cautiously,” stated ICBC spokesperson Brent Shearer.
When asked if the system is broken as stated by Phillips, Shearer said ICBC’s website outlines the steps people should take if they are thinking of buying a used vehicle before going through with the purchase.”
Those steps include requesting a vehicle history report.
“The report shows whether the vehicle or motorcycle has been involved in a crash or has been stolen,” said Shearer. “We advise anyone thinking of buying a used vehicle to order that report so they can make an informed decision and steer clear of a bad deal.”
There is one positive though, ICBC has decided to reimburse Phillips about $500 for new parts that he had put into the bike if he can show them the receipts which he says he has.