Am I liable to pay remainder of money owed for a vehicle if I give the car back to the seller?

I bought a used car a few years ago. I owed the car lot aprox.$400 when I left the lot. I was unable to pay the rest of the money so we worked out a verbal deal where he would have some tax work done by my parents for the remainder of the cost of the car. He eventually backed out of the deal but says I now owe him more than $700. I don’t want to pay him and the vehicle is no longer worth the trouble to keep. Would I be liable for the rest of the money if I give the car back the the car dealer?

Asked on May 18, 2012 under General Practice, Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you drove off the car lot with a verbal agreement that you owed $400 or so for the car several years ago and now the seller wants to change the agreement to you owing $700, you technically only owe the $400 as agreed.

If you gave the car back to the seller, you would still be responsible for the $400 owed. From a practical point of view, it will be difficult for the seller from what you have written to prove that you owe the remaining $400.

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