I admire people with initiative, people who are still able to find a niche in this busy auto market and make a buck. But not in a million years would I come up with an idea like this: setting up a site that advertises stolen cars for sale! At least that's what its name suggests: www.voiture-volee.com which is French for...ahem...stolen-car.com.
For anybody in their right mind, the first "minor" inconvenient would be the fact that selling stolen cars is... illegal. Well, the people that own the website claim there are three situations when stolen cars can be sold, legally.
According to the site, a stolen car becomes legal if the rightful owner didn't claim it for at least three years, if the purchaser filed a complaint against the seller (aka the thief) and the case has been closed, or if the rightful owner got paid by the insurance company for the theft.
We're no experts in French legislation, but a theft is still a theft. And they seem to agree on that, since there is a disclaimer on the website which reminds people that "stealing, reselling or buying stolen cars is strictly forbidden". But then again, their motto is "Buy cheaper, buy stolen". Which makes sense - from a thief's point of view...
The cars advertised on the website are allegedly from France, and are said to be priced some 50 percent lower over the regular rates. Take these two cars for example: a diesel 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class with 112.000 miles is available for EUR10.000 ($13.600), while a 2004 Mini with 48.000 miles sells for EUR5400 ($7300). There are plenty of cars to choose from, but in order to gain full access on the site one has to register as a member. Which is not that simple, since one has to be accepted by at least three existing members. We're pretty sure there's an oath involved as well.
The site is hosted in Panama, so French authorities have a difficult time tracking the owners and the registered users. We don't know whether this is for real, a joke or merely a scam, but it's worth keeping an eye on it.
By Dan Mihalascu