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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55703
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I bought a car over a year ago but the seller never gave me

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I bought a car over a year ago but the seller never gave me the promised title. We signed a bill of sale. I later came to find out the vehicle had a lien. What recourse would I have?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good evening. You have recourse against the seller and you should raise the stakes in pursuing that recourse. You should send the seller a certified, return receipt requested letter demanding that seller either deliver you clean title with no lien or refund your money in total (including the cost of all repairs you made) within a short specified period of time. Inform the seller that if your demand is not timely complied with, you will have no choice but to file a suit for your damages. Be sure to specifically mention that you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as a deceptive trade practice action, which will entitle you not only to your damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your suit. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment.

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Does this apply to a private seller too? What about a quiet title; would that be another option?

Thanks so much for following up. Yes, that would also apply to a private seller. A suit to quiet title is a specific suit for real estate, not personal property, so it wouldn't be applicable for this vehicle.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Twice staff at the Kansas Dept of Revenue motor vehicles have advised me to file a quiet title suit. Were they wrong?

The problem is that the title is not at issue; it's the lien. It's not that your right to the title is in question....the seller simply has not delivered it or cannot deliver it without the lien. A suit to quiet title is not going to extinguish the lien. So, you want to sue for breach of contract, deceptive trade practice and fraud.
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Thank you so much for the positive rating! I appreciate having had the opportunity to serve you! If I can be of assistance to you in the future, just look me up and I will be happy to help!