1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Car sold to unknown mechanic, title not transferred, toll charges going to me

Discussion in 'Car Sales, Dealers, Repairs, Lemon Law' started by Ana rose, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    California
    I bought a 2006 Subaru Outback as a private sale on CL (first mistake). It died literally just after purchasing it, in front of the former owner. We had it towed, she refused to reverse the sale, but refunded me 2k of the $4450 to deal with repairs. The engine had blown so there was no way I was able to have the car fixed. I found a Subaru mechanic who was willing to buy and tow the car out of the shop. The situation was messy and I had him sign a bill of sale but it wasn't sufficiently filled out with an address. Turns out he didn't transfer the title into his name, and without realizing it my name was inputted into the DMV system as the new owner by the former owner.
    The guy clearly fixed the car because he is now going over the Golden Gate Bridge and all his toll fees are being charged to my account!
    I have spent hours on the phone with DMV and Fastrak. Apparently they can't help me because I don't have the buyer's information to release the title (I have tried twice to send the DMV the Release of Liability with the advice to put "unknown" into the new buyer fields, but this is not being accepted).
    Surely I am not stuck paying this guy's toll fees for the rest of my life?! Please help me, any advice/direction will be so appreciated!
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    How did you contact your buyer the first time? Why can't you contact him again?
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    It seems that your problem is that you did not file the release of liability before the tolls were assessed. You're supposed to file the release of liability within 5 days. If you did not do that then you will likely have to pay the pending fees. If you should locate the buyer later you can potentially sue in small claims to recover what you had to pay.
    once the pending toll fees are paid you should be able to file the release of liability with the unknown information. I suggest you do this in person rather than online to avoid any further complications.
     
  4. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    All I have is his name, JC, and his phone number. I have called him at least 5 times and he clearly knows the situation and has no interest in calling me back. He is a mechanic, with a shop in Richmond that I have been unable to find because I don't know the name of it, who I found on Craigslist. His phone number leads to nothing when I investigate it.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Actually the timing makes no difference. I cannot successfully release liability without having the buyer's residence information.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,004
    Likes Received:
    5,232
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You have expertly analyzed WHY you are facing an apocalyptic Financial crisis.

    You might wish to contact your state's vehicle licensing agency and see if a state agency employee can offer you options that might help you get the freeloader out of your pocket.
     
  7. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you for your sympathy. What you are referring to is the DMV, right? I have spent hours with DMV reps, and while I get plenty of sympathy from them too, I have not gotten a viable solution from them. I can't believe this situation I am in, it's absurd!
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    The DMV website specifically indicates that you can put "unknown" on the release of liability. I suspect the problem is that they won't release liability when fees are due. Had you submitted the release of liability immediately then the buyer would not have had opportunity to rack up fees in your name. You might check with DMV for clarification.
    If you pay the fees then you may be able to finish the release and not accumulate more.
     
    army judge likes this.
  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Using the phone number in the post you included I was able to easily identify a person with the initials MJ. Perhaps you can find the same.
     
  10. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    You can enter "unknown" into the fields but they will not process the title transfer until they get that information, such as from the new buyer. That is why both attempts to do this have been noted in the system, but are not being processed.
    I also found that same MJ result but the guy who bought it was named JC (Juan Clark). I could try to identify the MJ name but what could I do with that ultimately? I can't arbitrarily say I sold the car to someone else just because that name is associated with the phone number.
    I really appreciate you trying to help me problem solve this though!
     
  11. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I dunno.... I have trouble accepting that anyone with the first name Juan has the last name Clark.
    You may have been given a false name.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

  13. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,989
    Likes Received:
    873
    Trophy Points:
    113

    My daughter has a very Italian first name and a VERY Irish last name. United States is a melting pot. ;)
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,718
    Likes Received:
    2,670
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Check this out. There's lots of Juan Clarks.

    juan clark at DuckDuckGo
     
    justblue likes this.
  15. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I was thinking... Given that "JC" has recently posted vehicles for sale you could have a friend contact him and ask where the vehicle can be viewed. If you can come up with an address that appears to be one of the locations in the photos of the ad then use that.
    You could use satellite or street view of Google Maps and never even have to go there.
     
    justblue likes this.
  16. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    You are amazing! Thanks for finding those CL ads! Although they don't really give me much more info to go on than I already had, and I have moved from CA recently (quite inconvenient) or I would just go there myself under the guise of being an interested buyer.
    BUT I just found a new lead, and bought a full report on this person...the number and half the name match. With this information, should I send in a new Release of Liability, even if I am not sure if the primary address listed is current?
     

    Attached Files:

  17. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Use the addresses to check if the location matches what you see in the photos. It looks like a residence/apartments. If it matches, use it.

    Unfortunately, you are still likely on the hook for fees accumulated before you submitted the release of liability.
     
  18. Ana rose

    Ana rose Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    None of the addresses are listed in Berkeley. This all just seems weird...seems like other people had to have run into this situation before, selling a car to someone who gave false/insufficient information and who didn't assume the title. I wonder how it's been resolved in the past?
    Anyway, thanks for your help. I will follow up here whenever it gets resolved.
     
  19. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Hmm.. It seems those addresses may be old. I hope you can find something you can work with.
     

Share This Page