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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 28087
Experience:  Lawyer
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I recently went to buy a motorcycle. After checking it out I

Customer Question

I recently went to buy a motorcycle. After checking it out I placed a deposit on the bike in the amount of 1000.00 dollars. The following day I came to pay the balance and complete the sale. I paid the man the balance of 2500.00 dollars but when we went to sign the bill of sale I noticed the vehicle was salvaged. I stopped everything ND refused to sign the bill of sale; however the seller refused to refund my money. I ended up taking the motorcycle home but don't know what to do now. Should I have left the bike there and my money? Do I have any rights in this issue? Or do I just bite it and sign the bill of sale and complete the purchase? I am from anaheim California and have no knowledge of CA laws regarding private sales of motorcycles.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

You have the ability to sue for a full refund. A contract requires a meeting of the minds. That means, when you're buying a vehicle, you are buying something that you can register and title in your name and operate as a motor vehicle. If it's got a salvage title, you can't do that. A salvage title needs to be disclosed prior to the sale. So, if you agreed to buy a motorcycle that you can drive, and he agreed to sell you one that is salvaged, there's no meeting of the minds. The contract fails.

The general default rule of as-is sales doesn't apply in this situation. California law also requires that a seller provide a smog certificate with a vehicle when selling it (including motorcycles), and he can't do that if the vehicle is salvaged. Cal. Veh. Code, Section 5751.5.

You can file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court for a full refund of your money, plus your filing fees. You will be required to return the motorcycle if you win the case. You do not have to sign the bill of sale to complete the purchase.

Here are the forms and instructions.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

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