Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
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Generally when a private party sells a car, they have a duty to disclose any known issues with the car. A lien would be one of the things they would be under obligation to disclose. Is the seller charging $600 for the paperwork, or to pay off the lien?
for the paper work
Was there a contract governing this sale?
When a person sells a car, they need to provide the necessary documentation so that the sale can be recorded with the Department of Motor Vehicles. To demand $600 for paperwork is extortion, since the true owner of the car is already entitled to that documentation. The best way to get this paperwork is to send a demand letter requesting the paperwork - it is also in the seller's interest to provide this so that they are released from liability in the event of an accident. Also, many insurers will not provide insurance unless the insured is also the registered owner of the car. If they fail to respond to the demand letter, you can bring a court action. However, the frustrating thing is that small claims will not order specific performance - it will not order a person to do a specific act; they will only order the payment of money. As such, you would need to file in regular court. Since there are many procedural issues, this generally requires the hiring of an attorney. So you may first want to send a demand letter requesting the documents, with a statement to the effect that if they fail to provide it within X days (usually 10), you will file a court action requesting the production of the documents, along with attorney fees and costs incurred as a result of the action.
Did you have any questions on the above?
sending a demand letter requesting the documents is that like a threat
No; if you mentioned criminal prosecution that is considered a threat; but stating that you intend to pursue your legal alternatives or bring a civil suit, that is permitted.