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Old 03-31-2013, 10:12 PM   #1
backburner
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Bought a Car, received clean title (at time of purchase), car ends up being salvage

What's are my options of recourse?

Location: Southern California

Quick run down:

1) Bought a car
2) At time of transaction, we ask seller if car has a clean title, to which the response is Yes.
3) Title provided doesn't indicate SALVAGE

Now, I've never seen what an actual car title looks like if the car is salvage vs. clean

When we go to register, it turns out the car has a salvage title.

I'm guessing the seller provided the original Title, which was printed/generated prior to the car being salvaged.



Edit: I know CarFax would've probably prevented this. But this isn't really my car, I'm trying to help a cousin out. I used "We" for the sake of the thread and relayed information as it was given to me.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:30 PM   #2
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Seller lied. Take him to court.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:49 PM   #3
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he may not of lied if a car transfers state its issued a clean title
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
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he may not of lied if a car transfers state its issued a clean title
That's called washing the title and as far as I know, it's also illegal.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nerdy46 View Post
he may not of lied if a car transfers state its issued a clean title
Not true when I just did it.
Went from Michigan to NY and NYS had whole inspection for salvage car procedure to make sure it was roadworthy.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:14 PM   #6
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if the car has already gone through salvage inspectiob its given a rebuilt title.. when I moved my rebuilt car was given a clean title.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:18 PM   #7
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whether its illegal or not i would find out from the dmv if theres a recourse for this. they should have some answers for you.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:15 AM   #8
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This happened to me when I bought my E38, and I was told I could use the court system, but unless there is something in writing saying it has a clean title, it was my word versus the PO's. I will always use Carfax from now on to check before buying a car.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:49 AM   #9
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If the car was issued a salvage title, then the seller presented you the wrong title.

There's no way the seller wouldn't know the title wasn't salvaged.
He gave you the wrong documentation on purpose with the intent of being deceptive. (old title vs reissued current title)

As far as legal recourse, you'll have to check with the DMV first.
If not, you may unfortunately need legal help.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:32 AM   #10
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I thought California had lemon laws...?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #11
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I thought California had lemon laws...?
Totally unrelated. Lemon laws only apply to new cars that have factory defects causing the car to be in service for a specified number of consecutive days.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:42 AM   #12
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Totally unrelated. Lemon laws only apply to new cars that have factory defects causing the car to be in service for a specified number of consecutive days.
Interesting. Learned something new!

Gonna have to take the guy to court then. .
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:51 AM   #13
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Going to court would be the easiest way to get a judgement but even then you can't prove the other party told you it was a clean title. I'm not sure if them presenting you with an older title is enough to prove intentional deception or not. And even if you get a judgement, collecting it is a whole 'nother story. You'd spend tons of time at hearings and filing collections and going after their assets (if they have any) and people can just lie and hide stuff anyway.

You'd be better off spending all that time working an hourly job. You'd end up with more money in the end.

Sorry this happened to you. People suck.

Of course, the easiest way to deal with this would be to hire some muscle and do it the not-quite-so-legal way. but I can't advise you to do that, of course.

Here's another question: Are you going to drive the car into the dirt? If so, who cares it's a salvage title since you inspected it and it looked good enough to buy?
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:36 AM   #14
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California small claims court. You can seek up to 10k and you will win. Because you got a signed receipt of what you at least thought you were buying right?!
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:20 PM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Will share this with my cousin and see what route she wants to go.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:28 PM   #16
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$40 and this could've all been avoided. People out there suck, can't trust a sellers word without research, especially private parties. Goodluck with situation. Getting car insurance was probably hard with a salvage title no?
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #17
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California small claims court. You can seek up to 10k and you will win. Because you got a signed receipt of what you at least thought you were buying right?!
Good luck with small claims court. If the receipt is real basic without details, it will be he said/she said in court. If it's not in writing, you will not win. Lesson learned......
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #18
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You are asking a legal question that needs a lawyer to arrive at the proper answer.

Having said that, I think the seller passed off a defective product to your sister/cousin/whomever. If you have AAA, the local office might be of service to you. If not, the DMV itself can provide useful information.

Logic says that if the car is salvage, then the seller should disclose that fact. It is a material defect that falls under the disclosure rules. The question here is if "disclosure" is something that pertains to automotive purchases -- when I get ready to sell my house, I must disclose certain kinds of defects; in the automotive world, a salvage title would be a disclosure item. I don't know if the salvage status has to be disclosed, but it should be -- especially in Calif. There is nothing wrong with selling a car with a salvage title, but the buyer must be told that such is the case. Salvage cars present a lifetime of service problems, or potential service problems, that the buyer should know about beforehand.
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