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what do you make of this ?


Bhob
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a GC.com member left some activated trackable items in a rented storage locker

 

after a time, the rent did not get paid on the storage locker, and the storage locker company initiated an eviction proceeding

 

I am told that police were present when the locker was opened, and the contents were sold off to a broker/dealer (the proceeds going to cover the missing rent amounts) - supposedly all legal and proper, with associated paperwork

 

the broker/dealer knows nothing of the geocache hobby, and is not familiar with the subtleties and intricacies of trackables, activation and adoption

 

apparently, there is bad blood between the two parties, and no agreement could be reached on a price to buy back some of the contents of the storage locker

 

the broker/dealer is now trying to sell off the items from the storage locker, including the trackable items

 

the trackable item owner is saying that they are worthless, because they will never be willing to adopt the items out to anybody

 

so, who owns the items ?

is it valid to sell them ?

should Groundspeak get involved in the adoption issue ?

anything else ?

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my understanding is that at the very least, many of the trackable items in the storage locker belonged to the storage locker renter, and were activated in their name

 

it may be that all of the trackable items are that way

 

I have no indications at this time that any of the trackable items were owned by anyone other than the storage locker renter

 

I do not know if any of the trackable items were un-activated

 

I do not know if any of the trackable items were originally owned by the storage locker renter, but have since been adopted out to somebody else

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If they were ones stolen from caches then they should be released. Otherwise it's a case of physical verses digital ownership.

How so? They are coins. They are physical objects that belong to some one. If they where owned by the one who rented the storage locker(and it appears they are because he won't adopt them over) they are now owned by the person who bought them. The current owner could go to court have an order to change ownership details-unlikely as it is not worth the time, it would be thrown out. The owner could force Groundspeak to hand over the details-if he could prove he owns them. That would be a bill of sale saying something like Coin with blue man and black bird on it with tracking number XXYYZZ1234. But since he won't have-they won't go and catalog every single item-there is no proof. The best thing that could happen is have Groundspeak remove those coins from the site-or lock them if they can't remove them, and the current owner has some for his personal collection.

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If they were ones stolen from caches then they should be released. Otherwise it's a case of physical verses digital ownership.

How so? They are coins. They are physical objects that belong to some one. If they where owned by the one who rented the storage locker(and it appears they are because he won't adopt them over) they are now owned by the person who bought them. The current owner could go to court have an order to change ownership details-unlikely as it is not worth the time, it would be thrown out. The owner could force Groundspeak to hand over the details-if he could prove he owns them. That would be a bill of sale saying something like Coin with blue man and black bird on it with tracking number XXYYZZ1234. But since he won't have-they won't go and catalog every single item-there is no proof. The best thing that could happen is have Groundspeak remove those coins from the site-or lock them if they can't remove them, and the current owner has some for his personal collection.

 

I checked with an attorney last year after a similar "possession is 9/10ths of the law" type statement popped up and learned something really interesting. First, that there is no such "law" and never has been. Second, that it is only an ideal that is used when there is no evidence of ownership to be found. Third, that when the second point is in case then the addage only applies to infer that the holder of the property has a stronger claim than the person who does not physically hold it or control it.

 

When you buy a coin, you have a receipt. When you activate the coin it is now registered. Not unlike buying a car and registering. If someone steals your car, stuffs it in a locker and then it goes up for auction, that vehicle still belongs to the original owner.

 

If a coin is activated and you show that you activated it then it is still your property and you have a legal right to reclaim it. :)

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If they were ones stolen from caches then they should be released. Otherwise it's a case of physical verses digital ownership.

How so? They are coins. They are physical objects that belong to some one. If they where owned by the one who rented the storage locker(and it appears they are because he won't adopt them over) they are now owned by the person who bought them. The current owner could go to court have an order to change ownership details-unlikely as it is not worth the time, it would be thrown out. The owner could force Groundspeak to hand over the details-if he could prove he owns them. That would be a bill of sale saying something like Coin with blue man and black bird on it with tracking number XXYYZZ1234. But since he won't have-they won't go and catalog every single item-there is no proof. The best thing that could happen is have Groundspeak remove those coins from the site-or lock them if they can't remove them, and the current owner has some for his personal collection.

 

I checked with an attorney last year after a similar "possession is 9/10ths of the law" type statement popped up and learned something really interesting. First, that there is no such "law" and never has been. Second, that it is only an ideal that is used when there is no evidence of ownership to be found. Third, that when the second point is in case then the addage only applies to infer that the holder of the property has a stronger claim than the person who does not physically hold it or control it.

 

When you buy a coin, you have a receipt. When you activate the coin it is now registered. Not unlike buying a car and registering. If someone steals your car, stuffs it in a locker and then it goes up for auction, that vehicle still belongs to the original owner.

 

If a coin is activated and you show that you activated it then it is still your property and you have a legal right to reclaim it. :)

 

In this situation, as the "owner" left it in storage and didn't pay the bill, the storage establishment has a legal right to sell the contents to recoup the back rent. At that point, the contents belong to whomever purchases them (abandoned property). The owner can't come back and "I have receipts for that!" to get it back from the current possessor. It's a little bit different than finding the coins in a cache and then claiming them.

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Sounds like people are arguing over who the "owner" is. There are 2 different scenarios. The ex-renter originally purchased the coins, activated them, and stored them. When he failed to pay rent, the landlord became the "owner" and auctioned them off to a new "owner". In the second scenario, the ex-renter found these coins in various caches and stored them. He was not an "owner". He was merely a thief. The landlord auctioned these off, but the "owner" remains whoever put these coins into play in the first place. Posters appear to be arguing one scenario vs. the other. It's an impossible argument or discussion to have unless you know if the ex-renter was the original "owner" or not, but nonetheless entertaining to follow.

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The clearest answer to the "who owns them" question has already been answered.

 

my understanding is that at the very least, many of the trackable items in the storage locker belonged to the storage locker renter, and were activated in their name

 

it may be that all of the trackable items are that way

 

I have no indications at this time that any of the trackable items were owned by anyone other than the storage locker renter

 

I do not know if any of the trackable items were un-activated

 

I do not know if any of the trackable items were originally owned by the storage locker renter, but have since been adopted out to somebody else

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Sounds to me like the storage locker was sold legally and the person who bought the contents SHOULD have the right to sell them on, or do with them whatever they wish.

 

It becomes complicated because the original owner has decided he can and will make things difficult - he CAN because if the trackables are activated by him and in his name he can refuse to let them be adopted.

 

MORALLY that is not the right thing to do as far as I am concerned. If they meant that much to him he should have removed them from storage, or paid his rent.

 

If it wasn´t for the fact that these particular items have a kind of dual existence (they exist phsyically and online) this situation would not have arisen. The buyer of the storage area would sell the items to another party and that would be the end of it. In this case part of the value of the items is in their online existence and the original owner has decided to be awkward....

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What if the original owner goes into deep cover, witness protection program, moves to another universe, or passes away? Now what are you going to do? Seems like there would need to be some other method that doesn't involve ex-owner to change virtual ownership. Doesn't look like this is going to be fixed, unfortunately.

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What if the original owner ..... or passes away?

 

In the case of a decease the trackables as well as the caches are considered part of the estate and the heirs have to settle the matter. So someone from the family would have to decide to sell (and give up to adoption) the coins as well as the caches.

 

In this case, where someone didn't fulfill their obligations as to paying rent for the storage space, I guess the dealer would have every right to sell off the coins and the new possessor should (and probably could) demand an adoption. First of the virtual owner, and if he's not obliging, then of Groundspeak.

 

Though, I'm quite surprised about this behaviour of making things awkward and being difficult. I guess I was brought up with a different view on simple manners. I wouldn't even dream of not paying my debts and then trying to be awkward, as if I had a right to....

 

 

edit: silly typo

Edited by ElliPirelli
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IMHO the buyer of such an 'abandoned' trackable may formally demand transfering the full ownership onto himself including changes in all the digital registers the trackable is listed in. I doubt any court would deny it...

 

Maybe, maybe not, but courts are usually involved in legal transfer of real estate, vehicles, stocks, bonds, cash, etc ... NOT a few $10-20 dollar coins.

 

Court mandated transfers are also normally reserved for those items that are originally or officially controlled by local, state, federal or international law. Geocoins don't fall into this category.

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Sounds like people are arguing over who the "owner" is. There are 2 different scenarios. The ex-renter originally purchased the coins, activated them, and stored them. When he failed to pay rent, the landlord became the "owner" and auctioned them off to a new "owner". In the second scenario, the ex-renter found these coins in various caches and stored them. He was not an "owner". He was merely a thief. The landlord auctioned these off, but the "owner" remains whoever put these coins into play in the first place. Posters appear to be arguing one scenario vs. the other. It's an impossible argument or discussion to have unless you know if the ex-renter was the original "owner" or not, but nonetheless entertaining to follow.

 

what bartians said !

 

ILYK
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Seems to me (if locker renter is not registered owner of coins), this would fall into/under the usual disappeared track-able category- owner has basically relinquished control when they set it free. You set it out with the knowledge it might disappear. Best hope is that the new owner of locker either sets them free or sells to someone who'll set them off or try to adopt them from an understanding registered owner.

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a couple of points to ponder . . .

 

what if there were stock certificates in the storage locker

but the shares were registered at a brokerage as being owned by the renter

who owns the stock ?

the person in possession of the pieces of paper ?

or the person who has their name in a registry ?

 

- - - -

 

I think that the released/traveling item situation is more cut-and-dried

imagine that you went to the police with the following complaint -

"officer, I left something in a tupperware container under a bush in the local park

somebody came and took it, and now they won't give it back

please help me"

 

after they stopped laughing, they would probably recommend that you stop leaving things in public parks

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My 2 cents, for what they are worth: I'lll go with the assumption that the coins did originally belong to the delinquent renter (otherwise they should be returned to their proper owners). In this case, ownership should be transferred to the buyer. Forfeiting the coins should mean forfeiting ANY claims to them. I would think small-claims court would be able to issue an order directing Groundspeak to transfer ownership. Whether Groundspeak would then choose to comply or ignore it and be difficult themselves I don't know. I would hope they would comply.

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Sounds like people are arguing over who the "owner" is. There are 2 different scenarios. The ex-renter originally purchased the coins, activated them, and stored them. When he failed to pay rent, the landlord became the "owner" and auctioned them off to a new "owner". In the second scenario, the ex-renter found these coins in various caches and stored them. He was not an "owner". He was merely a thief. The landlord auctioned these off, but the "owner" remains whoever put these coins into play in the first place. Posters appear to be arguing one scenario vs. the other. It's an impossible argument or discussion to have unless you know if the ex-renter was the original "owner" or not, but nonetheless entertaining to follow.

 

You are correct. The owner remains whoever REGISTERED them and put them into play. No matter who holds a geocoin in hand, they are owned by whoever registered them. In scenario 1, the ex-renter did abandon them and could be forced to relinquish control of them legally. In scenario 2, no matter who is holding them, they legally belong to the registered owner and the buyer could be forced to turn them over by a court of law. No one can legally force the owner in scenario 2 to relinquish control of the coin. The dollar value of the item in debate (although some coins have sold for thousands of dollars) is never an issue and this kind of scenario would typically be heard in a small claims court if anyone was set on recovering their property.

 

The real issue in either case really seems to be how hard it would be to get physical control of tracking code registration. Enforcement in either case just seems to be more work than it's worth, but maybe I'll feel a little stronger about it when one of mine shows up on the auction block ;)

Edited by fox-and-the-hound
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Interesting quote I just read from a auction buyer who researched a similar scenario: "Self storage auctions expressly state that the property is being sold without any warranty, the assumption is that true title to the purchased goods are only as good as the title held by the tenant. If the tenant never had true title to the goods (stolen) then title never improves and therefore, an auction buyer can find themselves returning items purchased at a self storage auction."

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