If I traded cars with someone and they want their old car back, doI have a right to keep the car?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2010

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If I traded cars with someone and they want their old car back, doI have a right to keep the car?

We signed a piece of paper saying we traded.

Asked on July 12, 2010 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, sales--especially sales between private parties who are not normally in commerce (and so not subject to some of the rules governing commercial entities or retail establishments) are final, unless and only to the extent that--

* The agreement of sale provides for refunds, returns, etc.

* Or there was fraud in the agreement or sale, which would provide grounds to rescind (void or cancel) the contract.

A swap is a sale--you are exchanging car A for car B, and legally, it is no different than exchanging a car for money. Assuming there was no fraud and no refund, etc. provision in the agreement, you can keep the car. Of course, if the other party is willing to try to take you to court, you might ask yourself whether--even if you're legally in the right and would ultimately win--it's worth the potential cost and headache to fight.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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