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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    My question involves vehicle registration or title in the state of: California/Oregon.

    I recently bought a car off of Craigslist that has a title from Oregon. The previous owner put the ad up advertising that "never been smogged in California, not sure if it will pass." When I bought the car, he mentioned that he does not know if it will pass smog. I asked him specifically if he has ever tried, he said no. So I bought the car with the Oregon title and without the smog.

    I looked inside the glove box as he mentioned there was some vehicle history of maintenance and such to see what it was. The vehicle was advertised at 68,000 miles, but there's a book that has numbers (looks like mileage to me) that go up into 120,000. So the vehicle might not actually have only 68,000 miles on it. When I took the vehicle to a friend who own's a smog shop, he looked up the vehicle information and it was smogged back in August, but failed. I am not upset that it won't pass smog. That isn't the issue. My issue is that he specifically lied that he never smogged it. He lied that he didn't know that it will pass smog.

    My faults: I didn't investigate further into the vehicle. I should have asked for the VIN or License plate number to check it's history, but I didn't. I didn't look at some of the vehicle history that he pointed out to me was in the glove box. I was not educated about the laws in California when purchasing/selling a vehicle.

    I tried contacting the seller on why it failed the smog test, but he is blowing me off. If I know what failed, maybe I can try and fix the vehicle so it will pass. I currently have the Oregon title, and bill of sale which he both signed. The transaction took place in California.

    What are my options in this scenario? Do I have any options? Is it worth seeking legal action?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,684

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    As you purchased the vehicle in California, then you can sue the seller even if the vehicle was registered in another state. You can consider suing for the amount you paid, with the idea of undoing the transaction, or for the reasonable cost of repairing the vehicle to the point that it will pass a smog test. Is it worth taking legal action? That will depend upon how much it will cost to perform the repairs and the value you place on your time.

    As an FYI to others, had you purchased the vehicle in Oregon, then the seller would not be responsible to smog the vehicle even if he anticipated that it would be registered in California.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    Thank you Mr. Knowitall. I am currently looking for an attorney. The best course of action for me is to return it to the original owner and get my money back. I will update if things progress.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,236

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    How much did you pay for the car?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,217

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    Quote Quoting Rangerr
    View Post
    If I know what failed, maybe I can try and fix the vehicle so it will pass.
    If the car has ODBII your mechanic can diagnose the problem. Might be something minor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    How much did you pay for the car?
    $1300

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    If the car has ODBII your mechanic can diagnose the problem. Might be something minor.
    I don't think it does. It's a 1990.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,217

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    A car that old and that cheap was bound to have serious problems and you should never have taken the word of the seller in the first place. Lesson learned.

    As for the mileage if the odometer has only 5 figures then any owner is just guessing (or lying) about the actual mileage.

    For future purchases, if the car has a 17 digit VIN you can get a mileage history for free at:

    https://www.vehiclehistory.com/vehicle/land.php

    Check your car's VIN and see how it comes out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    Thanks for the link. I think I have been on there before. Sounds like this is just going to be a pricey lesson learned. No lawyer in the area is willing to take the case. Unfortunately, I didn't have the VIN until we traded title for cash. Even then, the vehicle has no mileage history from that site. At least it has never been stolen before. Thanks for the resources and help.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,217

    Default Re: Used Car With Out-of-State Title Failed California Smog Test

    Quote Quoting Rangerr
    View Post
    Thanks for the link. I think I have been on there before. Sounds like this is just going to be a pricey lesson learned. No lawyer in the area is willing to take the case.
    No surprise. A lawyer would cost you more than the car is worth.

    Quote Quoting Rangerr
    View Post
    Unfortunately, I didn't have the VIN until we traded title for cash.
    I get the VIN on the phone before going out to look and then look at the title first when I go look at the vehicle. If the seller won't cooperate I move on.

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