Against my better judgment, I sold a car to a friend’s daughter last year. It was a BMW 330 that I purchased new in 2002. The car was in excellent condition, and I got a fair price. My problem is this. While I owned the car, the dealer discovered a problem with my tail lights that could cause a fire if left unrepaired. After doing research, I discovered that this was a common problem and that BMW had refused to do a recall. I had the repairs done by the dealer at a cost of approximately $600. That was about 3 years ago. When I later sold the car, I included copies of all repair receipts. When I gave her the leather binder with all the receipts, she said “Don’t you think that’s a little anal?”, but eagerly took the binder. A few months ago, I discovered that BMW had, under government pressure, indeed recalled all 3 series vehicles from 2002 through 2005 for faulty grounding in the taillights that caused overheating and potential fires.
At lunch today, my friend was praising his daughter’s initiative at submitting my repair receipts to BMW for reimbursement for the repairs that I had paid for before she bought the car. He also told me that she asked him if she should share the reimbursement money with me, to which he said, “No, you need the money more than he does.” Yes, she is in her late 20’s and still lives with her parents.
I don’t REALLY need the $600, and if I got it, it would have been a windfall and I would give it to charity. Also, my friendship with her father is worth more than $600.
So, my questions are,
A) Will BMW reimburse her as the current owner of the vehicle, even though all of the repair receipts are in my name?
2) Ethically, to whom does the reimbursement rightfully belong?