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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    10

    Default Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

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

    Last Saturday I bought a used 2005 vehicle from a private party.

    I checked that it had current registration paid (renewal is in 01/2020). But I didn't know I also needed a smog certificate.

    All I received was the title, bill of sale, and the current registration.

    He drove the car to the bank parking lot so I figured it was legally drive-able.

    We only communicated through text, so I have extensive records. He agreed to a 40 second video saying he is selling the car to me. Paid cashier's check from my bank.

    When I drove it off, I immediately noticed the check engine light was on. I don't know how I didn't see this during the test drive. I took it to a shop on Tuesday which notified me it can't pass smog with the check engine light on.


    What do you suggest?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,758

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    Have you contacted the seller to notify them and request the sale be rescinded? That would be the first step.

    If you wish to keep the car, you will need to get it fixed so that it can pass the smog test. You would then have to try to recoup that money from the seller.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    No I haven't contacted him.

    Should I first ask if he has the smog certificate?

    Or just directly say "We need to cancel the sale because I did not receive a smog certificate?"

    Also, CA DMV's website says I need to notify them within 5 calendar days. Today is the 5th day. What do I do in this regard?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,397

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    According to the CA DMV website a seller must provide you with a current smog certificate unless one was filed with the DMV within the last 90 days prior to sale.

    https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/smogfaq

    Did you check that with the DMV? If there wasn't one you can start by asking for it. If he cannot produce one then you can demand that he take the car back and return your money. If he won't you'll have to sue him in small claims court for your money.

    If he does produce one that's valid and the car won't pass smog now, you are out of luck and will have to incur the repair costs on your own.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    The seller contacted me in response to my demand letter. At first he denied knowing who I was and claimed he sold the car to someone else (seller's agent presumably) and that it's not his responsibility anymore. After I reminded him that I wrote the check in his name and I have tracking, he stopped playing games and said he doesn't want to go to court and would like to meet me in person and give me back the money.

    He's two hours away. The car is not dependable to drive. I can tow it. Given his initial "playing dumb" attitude I'm afraid I'll go over there and he'll make some excuse. Then I would have wasted my whole day, wasted 2 tows on my AAA account (to and from) .

    What do you suggest?

    Do I need to put anything in writing?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,397

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    Quote Quoting Carl83209
    View Post


    What do you suggest?
    That's easy. Go there.

    If you don't go you don't get.

    If you go and don't get, at least you know which way the wind is blowing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    That's easy. Go there.

    If you don't go you don't get.

    If you go and don't get, at least you know which way the wind is blowing.
    Thanks.

    What forms of payment should I accept?

    I'd prefer cashier's check-meet at the bank. But I don't think he will

    Cash. But I don't know how to tell real from fake bills. Will research.

    Biggest concern...personal check? he can just put a stop and then I lose the car and the money

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,903

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    What's it gonna take to get the check engine light to turn off?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bought 2005 Vehicle from Private Party. Not Given Smog Certificate

    [QUOTE=pg1067;1128785]What's it gonna take to get the check engine light to turn off?[/Q]

    Urgent repair quote was over $2K. Another additional $2K+ that need to be done after urgent repairs. Then another $1K+ for good driving repairs. Then a projected additional $1K in the near future to replace a specific part--given the current health of that part.

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