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Paid For Vehicle But It's Under Ex-Girlfriends Name

Discussion in 'Car Sales, Dealers, Repairs, Lemon Law' started by David Sousa, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. David Sousa

    David Sousa Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hello Legal Experts,

    Was hoping for a little guidance here.

    Quick Background:
    Back in March of this year, my now ex-girlfriend as of last week had failed to make her Mercedes -Benz car payments and therefore had the vehicle repossessed by the bank. Me being the nice guy I am, went and bought it in full ($25,000) back from the bank. I have proof and copy of the check from my business account.

    The game plan was to buy the car back from the bank and sell it a few months later, recoup most of my money and then buy another vehicle under my name obviously.

    Seeing how we broke up now, she feels completely entitled just to take the vehicle back with her to Florida and leave me out of my $25,000 :(

    What are my options here?
    I have heard that, because I can show proof of full purchase from the bank with my $$, even though the title is under her name, I could take her to small claims court. The court most likely wouldn't give me the car completely or all of the money back for that matter, but may force the sell of the vehicle and we split the money. Still a large loss for me and massive come-up for her, but $12,500 is better than $0.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    David S.
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    If your plan was to sell it...why did you put the title in the Ex-GF name?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Sorry, you didn't buy anything back from the bank. You paid off the loan. That's all.

    The bank should have taken title before selling it. Which is part of the repossession process and would require the bank to put it out for auction where you could have bid on it like everybody else.

    The car is titled to her. You paid off her loan without any agreement with her regarding paying you back or possessing the car.

    You basically gave her a gift of $25,000 and your chances of winning anything in any court are close to zero.

    It's not your car. If you don't give it back to her she can file a theft report with the police and put you in the soup.
     
    justblue likes this.
  4. David Sousa

    David Sousa Law Topic Starter New Member

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    She bought the car from the dealership. She failed to make the payments and got it repossessed by Mercedes Benz financial. Prior to them auctioning off the car, there was an option to pay off the loan in full and buy the car outright, which I did. They never asked who's name the title should go under.
    The check came from my company and was signed by myself not my girlfriend. You would think that would be asked by MBF prior to them sending out the title. Clearly she wasn't the one who paid for it. It was a males signature and coming from an LLC.

    The plan was to sell it quickly after within a few months, because these high-end cars depreciate so rapidly after a certain mileage.
    We had been together for 6 years, so obviously this breakup was an unforeseen event as well as her taking the vehicle post breakup. All happened so rapidly.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You're only half right. You paid the loan off. You didn't buy the car. The lender didn't sign over title to you did it? No. You didn't buy the car.

    Wait. Do you have a written purchase contract with the lender that guarantees that the lender will give you good title when you paid off the loan? No. Didn't think so.

    You didn't buy the car. Don't take my word for it. Wait and see how it goes. Maybe you can convince your ex to sign the title over to you.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Do you have anything in writing, even a text message, in which she agrees to repay you or acknowledges she owes you for the vehicle?
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Everything else aside...
    If you were to sue here and if you were to win, how do you plan to collect from this woman who can't even make a car payment?
     
    justblue likes this.
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Not many good ones. The car belongs to her. You paid off her loan, which sounds like a gift, "being the nice guy [you are]."

    Heard from whom?

    For starters, the most you can sue for in small claims court is $10,000. Second, unless you can prove that this was a loan and not a gift, you have no viable case. Do you have evidence of the "plan" you mentioned other than your own testimony?

    The title was under her name from the get go. The lender was merely a lienholder. The transaction was you paying off the loan, not buying the car.

    The lender doesn't care where the money comes from.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The court is NOT going to force the sale of the vehicle.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    She may FEEL that way because the law is on her side.
    You paid her debt.
    That doesn't mean you own her vehicle.

    You can't sell what you don't own.

    You can't sell the vehicle to anyone with a brain, because you can't produce a good title.


    Yes, that's what you think.

    You should have waited for the vehicle to go to auction where you could have obtained title, not just possession.


    You could take the matter to small claims court in CA.

    The problem for you is that even IF you prevail, you will still be out of $15K.

    WHY?

    The maximum amount an individual can sue for in Small Claims Court in California is $10,000.

    However, the woman has no money with which to repay you.
    Another problem for you will be that Florida and Texas are the two most debtor friendly states among the 50 US states.


    I doubt that will ever occur (even if it is a likely outcome).

    She most likely will have fled with her car to the safety of sunny, lovely Florida.
     
  11. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Active Member

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    Really?

    You've been together for 6 years, and didn't put a ring on her. If this was such a solid relationship you would have. Something tells me you've engaged in a lot of behaviors that annoyed her a little, and the whole car thing was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    (By the way, if you were married, the car would be a marital asset.)

    In addition to everything else that's been pointed out, there may be an issue with using your business account to cover what was clearly a personal expense.
     
    army judge likes this.

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