What canI do if I purchased a lemon and the title is not valid?

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What canI do if I purchased a lemon and the title is not valid?

I bought a car yesterday from a private party. I test drove the car and everything seemed fine. I have never bought a car before. I signed the bill of sale and drove home with no problems. This morning, I attempted to drive half an hour to visit my family and within 10 minutes, the car was beeping at me that it was over heated. I pulled to the side and smoke began to spew from the car. While waiting for a ride, I looked for the title so that it would not be left in the car. The title is not valid or even in the seller’s name. I tried to contact the seller, with no luck. What can I do?

Asked on February 20, 2011 under General Practice, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can and should speak with an attorney. Several different issues to explore:

1) At base, if the "seller" did not own the car, he *can't* sell it to you--you should have grounds to rescind the sale if the seller did not have title, since that means he can't convey title. You may have to sue him for this.

2) If the seller lied about anything material, or important--like title; but also about the mechanical condition or shape of the car--that may also provide grounds to either rescind the contract or sue for compensation.

3) Getting back to (1): if the car was stolen in one way or another--the seller had no right to it--then you will have to give the car back to the proper party; that party may be able to sue you if they feel you did damage to the car; you can sue the seller for your money, but you'll have less leverage if the car is going back to a third party; there is a *slight* chance that if the authorities believe you should have known the car was "hot," that you could face liablity for receiving stolen goods.


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