What happens if I leave my car at the tow yard?

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2011

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What happens if I leave my car at the tow yard?

I bought a car from a private seller. When it came time to give me the title, his information was on the back as seller and buyer. It turns out that he was given the car by his aunt and didn’t need it so he sold it to me. The aunt could not be reached so I signed as co-buyer. The DMV wouldn’t accept it and stated that I need a notarized letter from the original owner(the aunt), that the vehicle was sold to me. I took it as a loss. I assumed that I was scammed out of money and that this guy was long gone. It turns out that it was towed by the management of the apartment complex. The original owner was contacted by the tow yard because the truck is incurring fees and the vehicle is still in his name. She gives them my number and they are calling me asking for the fees which at this point are up to $1300. I only paid $900 for the truck in the first place. Here’s the question, what would happen if I were to just leave the truck at the tow yard? It isn’t in my name and the title is still a mess. Is there any legal action that the tow yard can take?

Asked on March 2, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The title is not in your name. You were never given clear title and you never had possession of the car it appears from what you wrote. So, no possession, no title, a faulty bill of sale (faulty title slip) equals no liability.  Ownership never truly transferred to you so you need to simply speak with the gentleman from you purchased said vehicle, inform him that you did not obtain clear title, you want your money back and let him figure it out with his aunt. Appears to me she has an action against her nephew, not you. If you wish to consult with a lawyer in your state about but are low on funds, you may want to contact your state bar (sometimes they offer pro bono hours on certain days of the week) or your local legal aid.

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