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  1. #1

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    Jan 2010
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    Bought used car, seller refuses to sign title over

    Jurisdiction / State: California

    Four years ago I bought a used car from my ex. My mother wrote a check for the vehicle and I have had the vehicle in my possession ever since but have been unable to register the vehicle in my name. At the time I bought the vehicle she was my girlfriend and we lived together so I was not concerned with changing it in my name, which I now realize was a big mistake. We split up 2 years ago and have been trying to get her to sign it over. Last year she sued me for $2000 for random bills and I have been paying on it up until last month when I was laid off. I had a company vehicle to get me to and from work and now the only vehicle I have can't be registered and she says she wont sign the title over until she is paid in full. I have a canceled check that shows vehicle was paid and the statement from the credit card company showing the money was taken out for the car. Can I sue her for breach of contract and have her pay the fees for late registration for last 2 years? and how does the fact that i still owe her money for something else unrelated affect the case?

  2. Registered User Samaritan & Scholar
    mightymoose's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Hanford, CA
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    It sounds as if you have paid her for the car but still owe for other things? If so, if she refuses to sign the car over, take the matter to court and a judge will take care of it for you.
    The other money you owe is a different issue. If she wants to put a lien on the vehicle she may be able to do that, but she can't hold it as collateral if you have paid for it. In fact, you could potentially sell the car to pay her the rest of what you owe... but not if she is still holding the title.

  3. #3
    thelawprofessor's Avatar
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    May 2001
    New York City
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    Mighty Moose is right. But before you sue, you may want to send a demand letter. In numerous small claims cases the defendant wrongfully assumes that they can raise defenses such as the time they paid the tip at a restaurant 3 years earlier that the plaintiff didn't share in and every other nickel and dime they can account for. It doesn't make a difference. If the sale took place it's done. The agreement was transfer of title and that never occurred and hence a breach of contract by the defendant.
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for educational purposes only & are not substitutes for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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