Can I sue someone for not giving me the title to a car I already paid for?

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Can I sue someone for not giving me the title to a car I already paid for?

An uncle of a friend of mine sold me a car for $1000. We agreed on paying $400 down and $100 payments weekly until the agreed amount was fully paid. The bill of sell includes the down payment and the payment plan and had a verbal agreement that he would give me the title once the car is paid off. Now we’re at $900 paid and when I took him the last $100 he claimed he could not find the title and a week later still says the same thing and will not file for a lost title. Can I take this to court to get my money back?

Asked on August 15, 2017 under Business Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue. Oral contracts ("oral," not "verbal," is the correct term) are enforceable--though if you had a written bill of sale spelling out the payments, you had a written agreement, too. You complied with your obligations: you made the payments you were supposed to make. When one party (you) honors its contractual obligations (you made the payments), the other party (the friend's uncle) is required to honor his obligations (and sell you the car). You could sue him for breach of contract to get the greater of your money back or the now-current fair market value (blue book value) of the car. For a car worth around $1,000, give or take, suing in small claims court, on a "pro se" (as your own attorney) basis is an excellent option.


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