What to do if I agreed to buy a car from a friend’s father but now hat my partial payment back?

The total cost was to be $2500 which I was to pay in installments. While paying for the car, it has not been moved from the seller’s yard. I have not driven the car or legally claimed possession of the car. I had paid $1150, with a remaining balance of $1350. I have been trying to get in contact with the seller for about a month about re-adjusting my payments. I have not heard from him since my last payment 2 months ago. I have lost all trust for this deal. Is there a legal way to be reimbursed for my $1150?

Asked on January 7, 2013 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

An agreement to buy a car is a contract like any other--it is legally enforceable in court. If the seller has been complying with his obligations--that is, he has done any and everything to date which he is required to do--you cannot get  out of the agreement or get your money back; and to the contrary, he could sue you for the rest of the money you owe him.

On the other hand, if has breached his agreement in any material (important) way--such as by not giving you possession of the car, if he was supposed to and you asked for it--that breach could provide a basis to treat the contract as terminated and recover the money you have paid. If he will not voluntarily return your money in this case, however, you would need to sue  him (for example, in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney) to recover the money.

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