What recourse doI have if someone fails to honor an installment purchase contract?

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What recourse doI have if someone fails to honor an installment purchase contract?

I had bought a vehicle in 2007, but under personal circumstances, I really didn’t have a choice but to get rid of it. So I sold it to a guy under written agreement that he would take over the payments but that the truck still be under my name. He had bad credit so we couldn’t even add his name on the contract with the lender (that’s what I was told). But everything was going fine, until 1 day the guy decided to take off with the truck. He contacted me a while later to tell me that he totalled the vehicle. He then disappeared in thin air. I’m stuck with this loan and don’t know what to do.

Asked on January 12, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A contract that someone would have use of the vehicle as long as he pays for it can be enforced, so you can sue the individual for the money owed under the agreement. You might also be able to sue him for the damage to/destruction of, if he was driving negligently, reckless, DUI, etc. On the other hand, if you were still the owner of record and were the one on the car loan or financing, you are liable to the lender for the money they are owed. You have to pay them, but may be able to get money back from the other gentleman--IF he can be found, if he has money, and if you successfully sue him. Note that if you had insurance, if someone other than you were  the "real" driver of the vehicle, it may be the case that your insurance coverage woudl be voided. You should discuss this was an attorney, bringing with all relevant paperwork, including the insurance contract.


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