My question involves vehicle registration or title in the state of: California
I'm writing about something that just happened to my son's girlfriend, and hoping someone can enlighten me on if she has some remedy. Her purchase was in California in August 2014, and I have just come to be aware of this in the last couple weeks.
She was told by a friend that the Service Manager of a Dealership had a used car for sale. She went to see it and ended up buying the car for $5,000. Rather quickly the car had terrible transmission problems and a new $4000 transmission is now required. I understand California is a strong buyer beware state, so we are not trying to get money back via that route.
Here's what's shifty:
The Service Manager sold her the car (which was sitting on the lot, but not as a car for sale from the dealer -- just the place he kept it). as a private party transaction. No Dealership paperwork was done at all. He did not represent it was a dealer car, but his car. He told her that it was a trade-in from some nice lady that bought a new car there. Now I learn that the car had an "open title" meaning that it still had the lady's name on it. The Service Manager, nor the Dealership, had their name on it as my son's girlfriend noticed when she was at the DMV taking care of the sale paperwork -- just the name of the woman who traded it in.
My friend who knows a lot about cars tells me that this is illegal if the seller is not a dealer, and the DA would love to hear about this. And by the way, one of the principals in the business has already been in big trouble for title fraud in the past. It's a rather small town and so it's definitely known in the DA's office I'm sure. I have to find out, but I doubt the Service Manager is a California authorized dealer (don't yet know where to check, looking for an online source). And it was not the Dealership doing this sale. So it seems like an illegal sale to me, and enough trickery to maybe force a refund and/or at least get them in trouble with the law.