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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 29822
Experience:  Lawyer
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I paid $5,000 vehicle from a private party friend who

Customer Question

I paid $5,000 for a vehicle from a private party for a friend who promised to pay me back in a few days. He took the title and bill of sale supposedly to get insurance and title transferred and plates. It has been 3 weeks now. He put an old plate on the vehicle and did not get insurance. He is living in the vehicle and says he can not pay me back. What can I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


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 your friend for the $5,000 he promised, because he did not pay. If the title to the vehicle and the registration were put in his name, the vehicle belongs to your friend and I'm sorry to say you have no claim to it. In that scenario, the fact that it's uninsured isn't something you need to be worried about, because it's not your car. But you unfortunately don't have any legal right to reclaim the vehicle unless you have something in writing where your friend agreed to give you a lien until the debt was repaid. Without such a promise, the only recourse is to file a lawsuit.

Claims of less than $10,000 can be brought in Small Claims Court. Each county has their own website with more information for you on the process, plus forms. You're also allowed to ask that your friend be ordered to pay your filing fees. If you'd prefer not to go to court, you can try to see if he'd agree to set up a payment plan, although it would be to your benefit to have him give you a lien on the car in the scenario, to make things easier if he doesn't pay.

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