What are my options if I ought a boat from a private seller but they owed back taxes which they never told me about?

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What are my options if I ought a boat from a private seller but they owed back taxes which they never told me about?

Seller had title in hand with no liens from bank. When I went to register boaot and change title in my name, previous owner had $1000 in back taxes owed that he didn’t disclose to me. I have called him 5 times and left message with no responce back.

Asked on December 4, 2012 under Business Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the seller knew--or had reason to know (that  is, any reasonable seller in his position would have known) of the back taxes and the problem with title--then he committed fraud by misrepresenting (lying about) a material (or significant) fact: his ability to provide clean title. Fraud can provide grounds to sue for monetary compensation (i.e. the amount of the taxes) or to rescind the sale (that is, return boat, get money back).


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