How can we get the pink slip to a car that we purchased 7 years ago and get repaid for money that was subsequently borrowed against it?

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How can we get the pink slip to a car that we purchased 7 years ago and get repaid for money that was subsequently borrowed against it?

We entered into a contract for a sale of an automobile with an individual on his loan because he owed $7,000 more than the car was worth at time. He has not paid the loan off. In fact, it appears he refinanced the car after our agreement and took additional monies out. We paid our portion off in 3 years ago. We still have not received pink slip because he refinanced, without our approval, and now owes more money. The car has been falling apart for about 3 years now because of age which has cost us alot. We would have sold it or traded it in back then but have not been able to because we don’t have title. He has breached the contract. What can we do? Can we sue him for money? How much can we recoup?

Asked on May 23, 2011 under Business Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may not be able to do much other than attempt to sue him or try to file a lien on the car. Anything you do really is subject to the first position lienholder who was the original lender. You didn't get a pink slip or true title so really it would not be enforceable because he had an existing loan and that lender would have been able to accelerate the loan if it knew this occurred or sued you to cancel your deal. You can try to file a lien claim by going to the DMV or sue in court to call in the loan but if he files bankruptcy, he might be able to escape your debt and you won't have a salvagable car without true clean and clear title. You should consider briefly speaking with an attorney to help you file suit or consider perhaps speaking with the new lender and explaining you actually may (if he indeed refinanced out) have superior title.


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