What if you bought a used car from someone and they will not sign the title over?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What if you bought a used car from someone and they will not sign the title over?

A friend bought a car from another friend. The car had a title pawn on it and she said if we paid the pawn plus give her an extra 100 we could have the car. The car was paid for and the title pawn sent the title to us. Now she will not come over and sign the title and she will not take any calls from us.

Asked on August 7, 2018 under Business Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You would have to bring a legal action against her to get the title. Such an action would seek a court order requiring her to sign the title over to you and as such, cannot be brought in small claims court--small claims only issues monetary judgments, not court orders to do something other than pay money. You would have to bring the case in "regular" county court, which increases the cost, complexity and time involved. Alternatively, you could sue her in small claims court for the then-current value of the car, but would have to prove that value with expert testimony, such as by having a car appraiser or at least a very experienced used car salesman (i.e. someone who professionally puts values on cars) testify, and would have to pay such a person for their time testifying. As a final alternative, you could sue her simply to get the money you paid (for the pawn ticket and the $100) back and could do that in small claims court without having to bring in expert testimony. All these lawsuits would be based on "breach of contract"--on her violating the terms of the agreement (whether written or unwritten) with you.

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