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What would happen if...


findtheriver's Avatar
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01-27-06, 11:58 AM   #1  
What would happen if...

... you go to buy a used car from a private party. They sign over the title and give you the keys. A week later someone calls saying they're the real owner of the vehicle and they want it back- that his friend forged his signature and the sale is invalid. Of course, the friend, and your money, is nowhere to be found.

Thanks for any comments.

 
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zzzz1486's Avatar
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01-27-06, 12:10 PM   #2  
i would say, that they cant do anything unless they filed a police report, but im not sure.

 
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01-27-06, 12:20 PM   #3  
Everywhere I have been, titles must be notorized to be valid. Do you have a new title in your name? It is evident that the "real" owner knows the person who "sold" the vehicle to you. Time for him to be answering some questions to legal authorities.

 
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01-27-06, 03:56 PM   #4  
The notary thing isn't universal anymore. Used to be required here in Florida, but not any longer. Not sure why they did away with this fraud-preventive measure (but it IS a lot more convenient for buying and selling vehicles).


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
findtheriver's Avatar
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01-27-06, 04:36 PM   #5  
Thanks for the replies. I have the signed over title but it's not in my name. My understanding is that I'll be sent a new title in few weeks. Notarization is not required in CA to my knowledge. The real owner says he's going to contact the police and has already notified the DMV. He says he can verify his ID and would like the car back. He's offered to pay me back in installments.

What fun.

 
majakdragon's Avatar
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01-27-06, 07:39 PM   #6  
Elaborate, but possibly the original plan. Get him to drop a dime on his friend that sold you the car.

 
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01-27-06, 09:32 PM   #7  
This is possibly a scam. Don't provide the alledged "owner" with your home address, or any other personal information. The idea may be to scare you into believing you have wrongly purchased his car, and to let him "buy" it back by making payments - which he has no intention of actually making.

It's possible that neither of these "friends" even own the car. Be patient and let the DMV do its work. If the DMV discovers an anomally, you will either be asked to bring the car in for inspection, or a state trooper will pay a visit. If the car is stolen, you are hosed. The state will impound it and return it to its rightful owner. You can file a police report and then it will be up to them to track down the bad guys. Even so, its unlikely you will ever see your money.

On the other hand, this guy may really have been scammed by his so-called "friend". Even if this is true, the burden of proof is on him to prove to authorities that the car is really his. Majak is right though - he needs to file a police report and turn his "friend" in. If he doesn't want to do either of these, then it's unlikely he's on the level.

If you are issued a clean title by the DMV, and decide to sell the car to him, get the full price in cash - no payments or checks. Meet him at a neutral public place to make the sale and bring a few witnesses.

best wishes.

 
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01-28-06, 09:00 AM   #8  
Posted By: findtheriver ... you go to buy a used car from a private party. They sign over the title and give you the keys. A week later someone calls saying they're the real owner of the vehicle and they want it back- that his friend forged his signature and the sale is invalid. Of course, the friend, and your money, is nowhere to be found.

Thanks for any comments.
If the story is true, then you're in posession of a stolen car. It's certainly a case for the police, but not your responsibility to call, in my opinion.

The only problem is that you might be out of luck recouping any money - if it was in fact stolen from him then the "real owner" has the right to reclaim it without paying you anything.

 
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01-28-06, 10:31 AM   #9  
Thanks for the additional feedback. I've spoken at length with the real owner and I believe his story. He met with me at the office of a community law center and brought ID and copies of insurance, registration and title in his name. He's willing to reimburse me in full with a bit extra for my trouble. When his certified check is cashed at my bank, I will return the car.

I don't think he'll pursue his friend legally. Apparently they have a long, long history, and that's something that I'll leave between them.

Much appreciated.

 
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01-28-06, 02:10 PM   #10  
This can still be a scam. Certified checks, cashiers checks, and money orders are being forged all the time..it's the latest thing. Your bank will seem to honor it then when it doesn't clear 10-14 days later, you get hosed. If he gives you a check, immediately cash it (don't give him the car until its cashed) at the bank it was drawn on then put the cash in your bank. If you do this, if the check turns out to be a forgery, the bank has to go after him you don't lose money. A police officer told me this was one way of protecting yourself.

This whole thing sounds very fishy to me.

 
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01-28-06, 09:30 PM   #11  
If you ever believe that you are in possession of ANY stolen property, it is your responsibility to involve law enforcement. Failure to do so could result in being named as an assessory to a crime. That would not only ruin your day, it would suck too.

 
findtheriver's Avatar
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01-28-06, 11:22 PM   #12  
Liz,

The only way I'll take his check is if he meets me at MY bank and gets certified funds right in front of me, which will then be deposited by a teller into my account.

rdn,

You raise a good point. Still, I'm not planning on going to the authorities on this.


Thank you both for the advice. Who knows what's really going on here. Maybe nothing more than seller remorse? This car was advertised on Craigslist and I've had several Craigslisters flake on me in the past.

 
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