If I purchase a vehicle how canI be sure that the existing loan on it is paid off?

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If I purchase a vehicle how canI be sure that the existing loan on it is paid off?

I’m in process of buying a vehicle from a private seller. The seller still owes $1900 on the vehicle and I would like to find a safe way to pay off the title, without taking the risk of him walking away from the deal once he has the title in his hand. Would a signed one page statement be good enough as security?

Asked on June 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is way too much money to be taking a chance with and you need to consult with an attorney in your area on the matter.  It is doubtful that the seller can transfer good title to you without paying off the loan. Generally speaking the lien holder is listed on the title with the party who purchased the vehicle.  What I am afraid of is that there will be some sort of fraud on his part and that an invalid title will be produced.  Please do not do anything also until the car has been completely checked out by a mechanic.  Purchasing a used car from a private seller gives you very little - if no - protection under the law.  So a formal contract may do that for you.  Good luck.


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