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  1. #1
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    Mar 2016
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    Default Purchase of a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Texas

    First-time poster here.

    Saw an ad on craigslist for a used car. Went to the guy, he was located in an office in a car lot with an adjacent mechanic. Seemed legit.
    Test-drove the car and made him do a few repairs before buying the car for $5400 walk-out (he said this included taxes and registration, and that the car had a clean title). The only paperwork I received from him is a "bill of sale", a passing inspection report, and the temporary paper license plates.

    A couple of weeks later he calls me claiming that he was trying to register the car and that he is going to need extra money because he miscalculated the taxes and registration. I refused to pay him a single extra dollar especially because the car turned out to have a ton of mechanical issues and costing me over $2000 to fix. I told him it was his problem and threatened to report him to the Department of Transportation if I don't get the title soon.

    A few weeks later I received a "bonded title" in the mail even though he had originally told me that the car had a clean title. When I tried to sell the car to Carmax they only gave me $1700 for it because of the bonded title.

    What should I do? Do I have a case if I want to take him to small claims court and make him buy the car back and pay me for all the repairs?

    Thanks
    Imad

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    How long ago did you buy the car?

  3. #3
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    Mar 2016
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    Bought it back in September 2015

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    Is this a licensed car dealer?

  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    On the "Buyer's Tag Receipt" the "Issuing Dealer" and "Dealer Number" are both present, so I assume he is.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    If he is, then there was presumably a window sticker in the car informing you that you were purchasing the car either with a warranty or "as is". If you chose to purchase the car "as is", your complaints about the need for repairs aren't going to get you anywhere.

    Your normal remedy upon finding that the title was not as represented would be to try to rescind the sale. You seem to be stating that you chose not to attempt to return the vehicle, and instead chose to sell it to a used car dealer. If that's not the case, what happened when you went back to the dealer and tried to return the car or get some money back?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    6

    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    Here's where it gets complicated. We took the car back to the car lot (where the dealer and the mechanic are located) over 5 times to get the car fixed as part of the 6 month warranty they provided. The dealer was never there - only the mechanic. I tried calling the dealer several times and he never picked up. I didn't want to get into an argument with the mechanic because he was doing the repairs but after taking it several times there and not getting the problem fixed, we decided to sell it to Carmax and thats when we found out about the bonded title.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    So you repeatedly took the vehicle back for repairs, but some problem you have not described for us was not fixed. Are you stating that you chose not to raise any issue about the title, even a single time, in all of those visits? Not even in the voice mail messages you left for the dealer?

  9. #9
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    Mar 2016
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    6

    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    Yes, I repeatedly took the car back for repairs. The mechanical issue was a vacuum leak that was causing the check engine light to turn on. Several times while driving the car would also turn off and not turn back on until I leave it for 15 minutes to cool off. Eventually after that mechanic stated he wasn't able to fix it I took it to another mechanic in Austin and he also tried to fix it and gave up after putting in over $2000 in repair bills.

    When I called the dealer it wasn't regarding the title, it was regarding the repairs. I hadn't even noticed that the title I received was bonded and didn't even know what bonded title meant, until after I took it to Carmax and they told me that since it's a bonded title so they can only give me $1700 for the car. I haven't contacted the dealer yet after I found out it had a bonded title.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Purchased a Used Car that Had an Undisclosed Bonded Title

    If you chose not to ever raise the issue of the bonded title, have no documentation that suggests that you were promised something other than a bonded title, and have already sold the car, you've put some significant obstacles between yourself and any recover on the basis of the title. It would help if you could get the dealer on record on the issue of the title you were supposed to receive. You would also need competent evidence that it had an impact on the market value of the car, and in what amount -- which may mean getting a used car appraiser as a witness.

    The issue of the warranty is separate from that of the title. The terms of the warranty are important, and unfortunately we're not positioned to review those terms. If this was a warranty that required you to take the car to the dealer's mechanic for service, your choice to go elsewhere complicates any effort to recover money, as does the fact that the mechanic you chose was apparently unable to either diagnose or repair the problem with your car for that $2,000. You can talk to mechanics who may be willing to testify on your behalf, to see what sort of case you can build about whether the warranty was breached and what your damages may be.

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