Should I have to pay for a rental car that has expired tags?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2011

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Should I have to pay for a rental car that has expired tags?

I rented a car for the weekend. I got pulled over searched and harassed by the police. Isn’t it a breach of contract?

Asked on September 6, 2011 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Technically, you are right--it is a breach of contract, since you were not provided a car you could legally drive.

However, even when there is a contract breach, you have to consider two factors: one were you damaged in some economic way (which controls whether you can sue for compensation, or have compensation due you to offset anything you owe); and two, did you receive some benefit?

In this case, if all that happened was some "harassment" by police--over soon, no other consequences--you have not suffered any damage you can be compensated for. And if you in fact were able to drive the car, then you received the benefit of it, notwithstanding any breach, and have to pay  for the benefit you received. In short, from what you write, you probably do need to pay for the rental.

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