I sold a car to a woman last March. I agreed to take weekly payments of $500.00 until the entire $1800 was paid of for the car. After $1000 they stopped making payments. Even though I had no problems with the car they always have a ton of problems with it since they have had it according to them. They had to replace an alternator even though I had no problem with it and after having a tire blowout on the highway the rim and ball-joint was damaged. The husband of the woman who I sold the car is telling me it is going to be thousand of dollars to fix and he feels that I sold him a bad car even though I believe the problems they are having to be a result of their neglect or abuse. I even offered to drive two hours to fix their car free of charge but they were not interested. After all this, they feel like they do not have to finish paying me for the car stating that I sold them a lemon even though I strongly feel that it was an excellent working car that I drove hours their to sell to them. Whenever I call him since March he states that he will pay me on so and so dates and then never does. He even told me that if I sued him he would win because the car was so terrible even though I had no problems with it and only sold it to get money. I did have a contract with the woman that we both signed stating that she would pay me in $500 increments each week until the car is paid off. I have decided that I need to sue them in civil court and am wondering if my case is solid and whether I should sue for the money or a warrant in detinue. IF I sue for the money and they do not pay me as I expect am I still able to get they car back. Additionally no provision was placed in the contract for instances where she missed payments.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Sue in small claims court for the monetary balance still owed under the contact + your court costs. Private car sales are generally recognized in the law as "AS IS" transactions and absent provable misrepresentations/fraud on the part
of the seller, the buyer is normally without viable recourse.
As for a warrant in detinue action, I wouldn't recommend it in the situation described as the car at this juncture may not be worth having back if the new owners have not kept it properly maintained.
And, if you secure a judgment in the small claims court against these defaulting buyers, you may then have an opportunity to enforce it via a lien against their
real real property, as well as possibly the garnishment of their wages and/or a levy against their bank accounts.