A friend of mine recently made a used vehicle transaction on craigslist. The seller talked my friend into "accepting" the vehicle as a "gift". While driving the vehicle to the shop to get it smog tested, there were problems with the engine and the gas pedal. To top things off, the vehicle did not pass the smog test. My friend now wants to return the vehicle for a full refund, or have the previous owner pay for repairs. Obviously, this was a purchase and not a gift, as the seller accepted money for the vehicle. Q1)Regardless of the purchase being listed as a gift, and the buyer accepting, is the seller still obligated to pay for the necessary repairs to pass smog testing? Q2)if Q1 is not an option, is it possible to get a full refund from the seller? Q3) If Q2 is possible, are there any legal repercussions upon admitting to the dmv that transaction was an actual sale and not a gift?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your friend has engaged in a fraudulent transaction to avoid paying vehicle transfer tax. The DMV is likely to go after him once it finds out. If your friend sues the other party the defense will be "unclean hands." He cannot ask the court to help him out when he is also guilty of wrongdoing. If your friend wants to try his luck tell him to do it with his eyes wide open for the potential problems that may follow.
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