Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Hello there -
Do you sell a lot of cars in the state of CA through your online presence on Ebay? If not. are they any other products that you sell from Texas in other states -- particularly the state of CA. ?
This is the first time I have ever sold anything on Ebay. I am just an individual. This is the first time I have ever sold anything out of state.
I originally had this car listed for sale on Autotrader.com and the buyer requested that I list it on Ebay for his protection in case he sent me the money and I did not deliver the car. Ebay has a buyer protection plan. I agreed to do as he asked and then listed it on Ebay after he had said he would buy it.
The battery is less than one year old and in warranty. He wants me to pay for a new battery because this one was bought at Walmart. There is nothing wrong with the battery, but if there is he can go to Walmart and get another one free.
Porsche recommends oil changes every 10,000 miles or one year. The oil was changed just before I bought the car. I had the car less than one year and only drove it for 3,000 miles. The buyer demands that I pay for an oil change for $350.
When delivered to him the windshield had a small chip that I was unaware of. Now it has turned into a crack since he has had the car. He wants me to pay for windshield repair.
He has given me a long list of things he wants me to pay for, all of which total over $3,000, even though it was listed for sale as-is and he refused to inspect it prior to purchase.
I live in Tx and it is now midnight and I need to go to bed. Where are you located? If you ask me for more information I will reply tomorrow morning when I get up.
This man is a doctor and lives in Beverly Hills, Ca. in a $5 million house. I don't have much money. He has a personal lawyer on call. I don't even know any lawyers. He says he will sue me till I run out of money. I hope you can get me some relief from this man.
Thanks for your help with this.
Hello there Duncan --
I apologize that this took me so long - I went off line for a while at the same time as you were responding to my initial question. Under these circumstances that you describe, the plaintiff in California will not be able to sue you unless he comes to a court in Texas in the same county where you either live or work. You see, there is a procedural rule of law called Personal Jurisdiction in every state of the country, including CA, which states that while a plaintiff may file a civil claim against you in a California civil court citing various issues with the car -- but the California court will require that the plaintiff show that you have sufficient contacts with the state of CA in order to bring a lawsuit against you in the CA courts. Pursuant to a case called International Shoe and a line of cases following it, the US Supreme Court has held that a single contact with a state or a resident of a state is not enough of a "minimum contact" to establish personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a California Civil court. In your case right now, you are a single person who sold a car in a one time transaction online. That was your only contact to California and the court in CA will not consider that contact to CA to be enough for the court to hear such a case in their courts. The only way that a CA court will hear the case is if you were an online business person making many transactions and sales into the state of California and that is simply not the case. If he were serious about bringing suit against you then he would have to do so in the civil court in Texas closest to you and if that happened, Texas law clearly permits a seller to sell a vehicle "as is" (if the buyer did not have it inspected prior to purcahse, then that is the buyer's problem and not your problem).
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have not done so already, can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time? I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
Thank you so much! This is great news for me. Now I can sleep better. You must have put in some time on this and found just what I need. I will surely give you a high score. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX :)
I have one more question. After I click on RATE TO FINISH, then think of another question in regard to this issue, would I ask you the question and pay again, or would follow up questions be included as part of the original?
Hello again Duncan -
Thank you -- as a matter of fact, I did review the law regarding personal jurisdiction to make sure that there have been no changes made since the last time I reviewed this question, so what you have is the latest law,
Regarding additional questions -- you can ask additional follow up questions so long as they are related to the original question and there will be no additional charges.
The buyer still says he is going to take me to court. His attorney called me. If so, I will go and tell my side of this to a jury. I think if it comes right down to actually going into court he will back off. I think this is all based on intimidation, but I need to be prepared just in case he wants to actually pursue this.
I have a couple more questions about this. When the car was loaded on the transport truck it was not covered with overspray as the buyer claims. (I don't believe it is now, either, because he will not send me photos of the overspray.) If we go to trial here in Texas I would like for the truck driver to testify as to the condition of the car when he picked it up. His business is in Los Angeles. Will I have to pay his expenses to get him here to testify? Do I need to hire a process server and pay for a subpoena to be served? I don't know anything about how this works.
Also, can I have my wife and mother testify about the condition of the car and its history that they know about, even though they would be considered to be biased?
Will I be allowed to call character witnesses on my own behalf to state that I have integrity, etc.?
I feel that the case hinges on the legal definition of "as-is" in regard to auto sales.
Is there someplace in the Texas Law that I can quote that states the law in regard to as-is auto sales? Everyone seems to agree that after it is bought it is the responsibility of the buyer to fix whatever is wrong, but is this stated someplace that I can quote to a jury? If so, can you tell me where it is and what it says?
Thanks again for your help,
Hello again Duncan --
I apologize for the dealy -- I was offline for a few days.
I still believe that it will be more expensive to pursue you into Texas to sue you for this than it is worth -- particularly since you sold the car "as is" and you are permitted to do that under Texas law. While there are some states that have enacted statutes limiting "as is" on used car contracts, Texas is not one of them. The only requirement in Texas is that if you are a car dealer you must have a Buyers Guide pasted in the window stating clearly that the purchase/sale is "AS IS". Here is a link to the Attorney General's website in Tx regarding auto sales and "as is" language - https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/buying_car.shtml (you can direct anyone to this website). Other than that, you are not going to find a specific law that says "as is" in Texas means that there is no warranty. If Texas has enacted a law to abolish "as is" or shorten "as is" then that is where and when you would see a law in the statutes. (For example, in Massachusetts, there is a law that specifically states that a used car dealer (this is not applicable to private party sales) cannot sell a car "as is" and any car that is sold by a dealer "as is" automatically has a 30 day warranty under the laws of MA -- and that is how the term "as is" appears in MA statutes). If he tries to sue you in CA I have already told you that the court in CA does not have jurisdiction over you because you are not a regular seller of items and cars into the state of CA. However, you should review all of the terms and conditions of your Ebay membership very carefully to see if there is any language in that contract that states that you agree to be sued in CA over any contractual disagreements and that you agree that the laws of CA apply to any items that you sell on Ebay. This could be where he may have an edge over you -- if you agreed to CA law governing everything because the CA laws might be somewhat different than TX laws. I just spent a half hour trying to determine if a car can still be sold "as is" in CA and it seems that a new and used car dealer CANNOT sell a car "as is" -- but it is still permissible to be a private party (such as yourself) and sell a vehicle "as is" under CA. law -- here is a link to an article on one of our sister websites -- discusses "as is" under CA law -- but you will note that the article is clear to point out that it does not apply to private party sellers. http://www.ehow.com/info_7845733_rights-california-buy-used-vehicle.html
Regarding the witnesses question - if there is a case in TX and you need someone in CA to testify you do have to pay travel and lodging costs for at least 2 days and then it is a special subpoena process (a lawyer has to go into the court in the county where the witness resides in the other state and ask that court to certify the subpoena --- if that is not done, then the witness does not have to travel to another state to testify in a case where he is summonsed by the court in another state (because that other state has no jurisdiction over him)). Regarding your wife and mother testifying -- if they were witnesses they can testify and then the judge or jury decides if they will give the testimony an weight at all because of the relationship. It is completely up to the judge/jury. Regarding character witnesses -- the judge may permit one or two to testify regarding what a great person you are, but it is up to the judge if the testimony is not really relevant to the case (if you have a witness who you have done business with and have known for a while then that type of witness may be accepted as relevant because of it involving business transactions).
The only thing I can think of that he might try to use as grounds for a lawsuit is that he claims that you somehow misrepresented the car to him and as such, the contract was void from the beginning because one of the basic rules of contract law is that a contract is not valid if it was based upon any fraud or misrepresentation by either party. WHo really knows in this situation? If I could crawl inside their heads to try to give you an answer I would -- but I cannot see this buyer coming up with a good outcome in either TX or CA on a private party used car sale (the law is not in his favor in either state) unless there is something in your Ebay contract that gives him additional rights to sue in CA and apply their laws (but even in CA, a private party can sell a car "as is" and walk away, so I still cannot figure this out).
The one final thing that I can think of here is that the man is a bully and used to getting his own way -- his attorney does not care and will call you in TX to threaten you because his attorney is getting paid no matter what the client does with the car or the case. So, they could very well be bluffing to get you to return the money for the car. In many instances, people who have no legal experience start to freak out when they hear "lawsuit" -- and in many instances the person who is being threatened will cave in. Before you do anything, I suggest strongly that if this attorney is in touch with you again that you find a local attorney to represent you and have your own attorney call the lawyer back to find out what his supposed claims are and what kind of case does he think he really has here ?? I truly believe that if you spend the few hundred dollars locally to get a lawyer involved that the bully and his lawyer will most likely back off -- and if they do not, you will have an attorney that can prepare a Motion to Dismiss for Lack Of Jurisdiction to the CA court if the case is filed in CA and you receive notice of the case (if he files a case against you in TX you can handle it by yourself in your local court if you choose to do so -- but so far as filing a jurisdictional challenge in a CA court, it is worth the additional few hundred dollars to have the attorney write the motion up and file it in CA -- because if you simply do not answer the lawsuit in CA then he will win by default and can immediately ask the court for an order to seize bank accounts, paypal accounts, etc).
I hope this all helps. Because of the additional significant research I did here for you on this question I would appreciate it if you would press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face underneath this ANSWER box below to pay me for my time this evening. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below. WHile simple follow up questions are generally included, this was more than that tonight and if you want to be able to ask continuing questions about different aspects of these matters as you go along with the situation as it unfolds around you then my suggestion is that you ask customer service about a subscription plan to Just Answer - for one price you can ask as many questions as you want and press the positive rating under every answer box so the expert who is assisting you will be paid but you are not charged anything additional for as many questions as you would like to ask. You can ask questions in any category and as many experts as you want.
Thank you very much !!
Please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time for the additional research performed above into the "as is" question, as well as answering the additional questions. I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
Thank you very much for such a compete answer. I think you guessed correctly as to my condition right now. His attorney called and I says he is filing this in Ca. and I am very nervous. I really didn't think I would hear from him again because I thought the attorney would tell the buyer that he has no case. I have been told that to file a motion in Ca court to dismiss because they have no jurisdiction that I would have to hire an attny in CA. Is this true or can a Tx attny file it?
I don't know how to find an attny in Ca or how much I will have to pay.
(I am not asking for you to help me find a Ca attny. You have done enough.) It always makes a common person afraid when they are getting sued.
You are right again when you say this man is a bully and used to getting his own way. Also, who is right does not always win in court, it is usually the person with the best attny. In this case, if we go to court it will be me, not much of an attny, LOL.
Thanks again. Sorry you had to put so much time into this. I won't ask you any more questions.
To find an attorney in the CA county that you are sued in, you can do an online search for the bar association referral service. For example, if it is LA county your search would be for Los Angeles California Bar Association Attorney Referral and you will come up with attorney referral resources in the county -- just change the name of the county and you will be fine. Once you get a few names then you call them up and you ask for someone who specializes in out of state lack of jurisdiction issues -- they should be able to give you a few names and you can call each lawyer to look for a good fit with you and go from there. For the limited purpose of filing a motion to dismiss due to lack of Jurisdiction, the cost should not be more than around a thousand dollars (probably less).
I truly wish I could tell you something different here, but you will have to deal with this matter now as you go along.
Can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time? I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
When I clicked on the "Excellent service" face it went to the next page and showed this: "There's one more step. You have already paid for an earlier answer you rated in this question-and-answer chain. To rate another answer, you will need to pay an additional $48. $48 will be charged to your card ending in 001."
I want you be paid. You did an excellent job, but I already paid $48 + $16 and thought that the followup questions were included in the price. You say that pressing a face will not cost me any money, but it does not appear that way to me. Can you clear this up?
There are subscription plans, as I explained earlier, where you can ask as many questions as you want for one price. Follow up questions are directly related to the original question and answer I gave -- when you started asking about more expansive issues such as witnesses and subpoenas, and definitions of "as is" for used autos and attorneys in CA, I probably should have told you that you need to open up new questions because such questions are more expansive than follow up questions. Customer service can explain better how it works . I am going to close this question now and if you have more questions on this lawsuit you will have to open up a new question. Best of Luck. MARY
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).