Can I sue someone for not giving me the title to a car I already paid for?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue someone for not giving me the title to a car I already paid for?

An uncle of a friend of mine sold me a car for $1000. We agreed on paying $400 down and $100 payments weekly until the agreed amount was fully paid. The bill of sell includes the down payment and the payment plan and had a verbal agreement that he would give me the title once the car is paid off. Now we’re at $900 paid and when I took him the last $100 he claimed he could not find the title and a week later still says the same thing and will not file for a lost title. Can I take this to court to get my money back?

Asked on August 15, 2017 under Business Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue. Oral contracts ("oral," not "verbal," is the correct term) are enforceable--though if you had a written bill of sale spelling out the payments, you had a written agreement, too. You complied with your obligations: you made the payments you were supposed to make. When one party (you) honors its contractual obligations (you made the payments), the other party (the friend's uncle) is required to honor his obligations (and sell you the car). You could sue him for breach of contract to get the greater of your money back or the now-current fair market value (blue book value) of the car. For a car worth around $1,000, give or take, suing in small claims court, on a "pro se" (as your own attorney) basis is an excellent option.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption