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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Buyer Rights vs. Co-Signer Rights

    I helped a good friend of mine purchase a vehicle in the latter part of 2007. Because of this person's poor credit rating and history of auto accidents, it was too much for them to have purchased any vehicle (shy of outright purchasing a vehicle). I volunteered my very high credit as a way of assisting them in the purchase of a brand new small car.

    I am the primary buyer, the other is the co-signer (this was the only way we could manage to make the payments reasonable). Since the purchase the co-signer has taken the vehicle back their state of residence. The agreement, although verbal, was that the co-signer would pay either myself or the auto-loan company each month and that where sometimes the entire payment might not be paid by the co-signer, I would pick up the difference. I also pay for the insurance of the vehicle, where as the co-signer pays for maintenance and fuel.

    At no time has the co-signer paid me, nor after repeated requests for each payment have I received anything (sometimes not even an excuse). The vehicle is registered in another state (Texas), I live in California where the vehicle was purchased. The title is still in trust of the Auto Loan company.
    I no longer wish to pay for the vehicle and would like to sell it.

    What rights do I have to the vehicle?
    Can I just walk on the property of the co-signer and drive the vehicle away?
    Does the co-signer have any right to the vehicle?
    Can the co-signer file a stolen vehicle report against me, if i take it? Can I hire a Private Investigator or Repossession company to obtain my the vehicle on my behalf?

    Thanks for reading my inquiry.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Buyer Rights vs. Co-Signer Rights

    How exactly is the vehicle titled?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Buyer Rights vs. Co-Signer Rights

    According to my preliminary attempts to communicate with the Financial Services for the vehicle (Auto Loan Co), both my name and the co-buyer are on the Title. I requested that a copy of the title be sent to me (today). In my 3rd conversation with the Auto Loan company, I have discovered that both the co-buyer and the primary buyer have EQUAL rights to the vehicle. This leads me to believe that I cannot just walk in and take the vehicle, but that I need to make arrangements with the Co-buyer.

    Another note that the Auto Loan company made was that, even though they have documentation that I have made every payment (and on time), that the co-buyer still has as much rights to the vehicle as I do, period.

    I have spoken with the co-buyer in the last few weeks, regarding the idea that I would like to sell the vehicle. The co-buyer agreed that if they did not assist me in making the payments by the next time they were due that they would relinquish the vehicle to me, to sell.

    This leads me to more questions...

    If the Co-Buyer decides to keep the vehicle against my wishes to sell it, can I refinance the vehicle and remove the Co-Buyer entirely, without that person's consent?

    What sort of legal actions am I entitled to, if any for the sake of this vehicle when the Co-Buyer has never paid for the price of the vehicle?

    I get the impression that this could be a sticky situation, but my speculation has practically no grounds in what is/ is not legal. I'm really at a loss here for where to go (in the case that the Co-Buyer is uncooperative).

    All this may likely be avoided, provided that the Co-buyer is still cooperative in giving up the vehicle. For now I have little reason to believe that the person will not relinquish control. My concern is for the sake of my rights, if any, because of promises that the Co-buyer had made that payments would be sent, that have never been received.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Buyer Rights vs. Co-Signer Rights

    Finally got a copy of the title for the vehicle. It has both my name and the co-signer's name. However, it says

    Co-Buyer "OR" Co-Signer

    This leads me to believe that I could conceivably refinance or sell the vehicle without the Co-signer as it does not say "AND".

    The document is very simple though, so i may have to still look into how California Law works. (vs. Texas Law)

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