Our Court Ruling and Threatening Phone Calls

I thought that my first blog back from vacation would be about Penghu, but after sitting down to write this morning and receiving two threatening phone calls, which have set my teeth on edge and have me angrier than hell, I guess my Penghu posts will have to wait.

Last week, I posted about some problems we’ve been having with a purchase that we made several months ago. In a nutshell, we bought a second-hand car. The car has broken down. We tried several times to settle this problem with the owner before realizing we had no choice but to take the matter to court. The owner has steadfastly refused to deal with us since the money changed hands.

Since then John has spent quite a bit of time and money going to court. John’s decision to do so came around because we felt we had no other option.

Just before going on vacation last week, I decided to chat with my Chinese teacher, Kirk, about this problem. I indicated to him that this has been hard on us. Going to court was not something we wanted. We don’t know how things work here. We felt that by relying on the courts for assistance, we would get the protection and help we need that we aren’t able to acquire on our own. We are coming to realize that court is not something that anyone would want. It’s simply too complicated and lengthy of a process.

Kirk stressed that we were right to pursue things in the manner we have taken and made a good suggestion. He offered to help us construct a letter to the court to let them know that, as tax-payers who are unfamiliar with the Taiwanese court of law or Taiwanese culture, we are unable to settle things out of court and truly need a court official to make a decision for us. I mentioned this to a few other Taiwanese friends and they also agreed that this could be what is needed to get a firm decision made. They also encouraged us over this week to keep pursuing this matter until it is settled.

We believe we did everything in our power to compromise and deal fairly with the owner of the car. He has stonewalled us every step of the way.

Two weeks ago, the judge ordered Mr. Su, the previous owner, to fix the car. Instead, Mr. Su ordered the garage to make unnecessary repairs to the car to boost the outstanding amount to be paid to the garage. He then had the bill sent to John.

Last week, John finally got the car back from the garage after paying $6000NT to get it out. He left an outstanding bill of over $6000NT and told the garage that Mr. Su would be paying the remainder of the bill.

Yesterday, the court ruled in our favor after Mr. Su failed to show up for his third court appearance. Mr. Su has been asked to pay all the outstanding bills on the car. John called me while I was in Penghu yesterday to tell me the good news.

Then today, as I was sitting down to process trip photos, I received a phone call that left me shaken and very very angry. When I answered the phone, a man demanded to know where I lived. Of course, I’m not stupid and I didn’t tell him anything. I asked who he was and he repeated his question, so I repeated mine and then he started screaming obscenities at me in Chinese. My Chinese might not be great, but I think every foreigner here has learned basic swear words and other catch phrases for telling people off.

I was completely taken aback. I tried to call back and of course, the number is blocked. Then I called John and he told me that he had received a couple of weird phone calls yesterday after the hearing. Obviously the coincidence is too great to ignore. A very small group of people have our home number here in Taiwan. We’ve never had a prank phone call before, so it’s pretty easy to point the finger. Mr. Su has our number from our first phone call to him about the car and John had to sign documents intended for Mr. Su at the courthouse yesterday. Our home phone number was included on that document.

About an hour after the first phone call, I received a second call. It was the same voice again demanding to know where we live.

We just want this to be over. While I’m glad that we don’t have to go back to court, I’m worried now that we’re going to have these phone calls to deal with over the rest of the summer. Even worse, the punishment for Mr. Su wasn’t terribly harsh and I’m sure there’s nothing stopping him from suckering the next poor person that has the misfortune to make his acquaintance.

Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian expat who has been living abroad in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. My husband and I have owned our own business in Taiwan since 2012. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on on Twitter @globetrotteri or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carriekellenberger/.

14 thoughts on “Our Court Ruling and Threatening Phone Calls

    Kim

    (July 17, 2008 - 11:21 am)

    Ah man, what a jerk. Well, the yelling must be a sign of frustration, so I guess he’s realizing he’s losing. Maybe you can have the number blocked? Or just put the receiver next to the phone when they call, and have them yell to your table, drive up their phone bill a little hehe >:D
    I’d also report these phone calls to the police/court (if that’s possible in Taiwan), you never know if things may get out of hand, it’s better to have the officials aware of the situation.

    Todd

    (July 17, 2008 - 11:41 am)

    Looks like it’s time to change your phone number!

    Sarah

    (July 17, 2008 - 1:41 pm)

    What an awful situation! One thing you can try re: the alls is pick up a free Grand Central number (we have one).

    It will send calls from the old number to you, but allows several programming options so you may not have to answer when that person calls.

    Krzysztof

    (July 17, 2008 - 4:03 pm)

    I agree with Kim. You should report these phone calls to the police. This guy is unpleasant. Perhaps it’s only talking but you never know what he can do. Have you thought about change your phone number?

    Carrie

    (July 18, 2008 - 8:33 am)

    Hi Kim,
    Laying the phone down and letting him wear himself out isn’t a bad idea at all! We can’t prove it’s him, so there’s no point in contacting the police. He has lost. That’s why this is happening. We received another call this morning. I hope he’ll eventually move on and forget about us.

    Carrie

    (July 18, 2008 - 8:42 am)

    Todd and K,

    Yep. We are considering a change in numbers, but it pisses me off that we even have to consider doing so! I’m so angry I could tear strips off any one who looks at me the wrong way! 🙂

    Mia

    (July 18, 2008 - 7:58 pm)

    There very same thing could happen here in the US or Canada. There are some people who try to get their way through bullying every time. I would report this to the court as well. And of course, change my number. I just hope your home address wasn’t on the paperwork. But if it was, by reporting it, you are protecting yourself if anything happens.

    Joanna

    (July 19, 2008 - 2:47 pm)

    This is terrible Carrie but hopefully the guy will probably just get over it and move on. He is probably trying to intimidate you but you should report his actions to the appropriate authority. Hopefully this strange Chapter of your life will be closed soon.

    Carrie

    (July 19, 2008 - 4:33 pm)

    Hi Mia,

    Yes. I keep saying to friends here that this is not just Taiwan related. I certainly hope no one thinks I’m bashing Taiwan. This kind of thing could happen anywhere. John didn’t include our home address, thank goodness.

    Carrie

    (July 19, 2008 - 4:34 pm)

    Thanks Jo. I’m hoping he forgets about it and moves on too. This has been going on for months now and we’re just praying it’s all over soon.

    Wee Lemons

    (July 19, 2008 - 10:39 pm)

    Jesus Carrie, this is ridiculous & troubling to hear about. I completely agree that you should change your number & make a report about this – intimidation is for the weak & this chapter is over. Mr. Su needs to learn a lesson in fairness and honour from the sounds of it.

    Stevo

    (July 19, 2008 - 10:52 pm)

    Carrie: That’s horrible. I’ll give you and John marks for being brave enough to take this ordeal to court. I’d be lost if I even tried something like that. I hope improves.

    Carrie

    (July 20, 2008 - 4:33 am)

    WL,

    We’ve gone 24 hours without a peep. Maybe he’s found someone else to annoy.

    On Friday, he called our friend and translator and harassed her. We feel terrible about it. She has him on voice mail though, going on about how horrible we are and how terrible foreigners are. Now we have proof if something happens.

    Carrie

    (July 20, 2008 - 4:34 am)

    Hi Steve,

    This was John’s decision and I support him 100% There’s no way we could have done this without help from our friends. They’ve really been amazing, and I hope we can somehow return the favor some day.

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