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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Can I Get My Money Back From The Car Payments, down payment,

Customer Question

Can I Get My Money Back From The Car Payments, down payment, and trade in value of my previous car back from the person who financed the car I have been paying for in their name? They do not wish to negotiate anything and they refuse to allow me to drive the car currently. This was once someone I trusted. I have bank statements proving the payments came from my account and the dealership contract shows my trade in amount. Is their hope? I would be losing about $4500 if not.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Dear Customer,Unfortunately, if the title to the vehicle is in the other person's name, and you have nothing in writing to show that the vehicle was to belong to you, there is not going to be anything that you can do to force them to give you possession of the vehicle (the title creates a "presumption of ownership").You can try suing under a theory of "equity" ("fairness") for a claim called "unjust enrichment" where you sue for the return of the money that you invested in the vehicle with the reliance that they would transfer the vehicle to you - but unfortunately, this is a very weak claim, and absent very strong proof to the contrary, you are unlikely to succeed (but it is your best chance of recovering anything out of this).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay, thanks for the information. What makes the claim so weak and do you know what I should expect in the courtroom?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
You are trying to enforce a mutual understanding (your perspective) against the written title for the vehicle (again, the title creates a presumption of ownership). Your original question asked if you could get possession of the vehicle - I don't see a way to do that, you are left with trying to get your money back out of this transaction, and I am not certain that a court is going to find in your favor, you are welcome to attempt it, but I have concerns as the documentation supports the other party.