What do you do if you bought a car and you find out later that it was reported stolen?

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What do you do if you bought a car and you find out later that it was reported stolen?

Asked on October 3, 2012 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As long as you had no knowledge that the car was stolen, you are in no criminal jepoardy. However, you will lose the car. At this point your only recourse will be to try and get a full refund from the seller. If you bought it at a dealership, you should be able to get your money returned. If you are unsuccessful, you can sue them in small claims court and/or report them to your state's department of consumer protection. This assumes of course that they also didn't know of the stolen status of the vehicle (for example they bought it at auction). However, if they intentonally sold you a stolen car, then chances are the police will shut down the business. In such a case, suing in court may get you a judgment but collecting on it may well be problematic. The same holds true if you bought it from a private seller.


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