Skip to main content

Buyer cannot pay remaining balance on a Bill of Sale when it states that the payment must be received by the date stated.

Charlotte, NC |

I signed a bill of sale (as the seller), and the buyer agreed on paper to pay the remaining amount by today. He told me that he doesn't have all the remaining money today (he paid 85% of the full amount) and the bill of sale says that he must pay the remaining amount by today.

My question to you all, what should I do if he fails to pay?

The Bill of Sale states that:
He agrees to pay for the car in the total amount of $4k. I agreed that he pays 3,400 up front, and has to pay the remaining amount of $600 by today. He has the car, I have the title. It also states that once he takes the car, I have no responsibility of the car and it's AS IS.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Do not surrender title until the price is paid. The deal failed SO, return the down payment, charge him for the reasonable use (gas money) and get the key back.


  2. It sounds like you procured a written agreeement setting out the terms of the sale so that is spectacular! Nowadays, it never ceases to amaze me how folks will enter into agreements for the sell of a good (especially when you're addressing something like a car) yet not take the time to simply scribble something about it on paper and make sure both parties sign. Concerning the buyer, as he has not carried his end of the bargain, you may take action in a number of ways depending upon your goals. Being that the sale at issue was not for a very large amount of money, and being that resort to court, especially if you hired counsel, could potentially cost you more than the agreed purchase price of the car, you may want to simply notify the buyer, IN writing, preferably certified, (I would also attempt to call if you have a number for the buyer since it never hurts to go out of your way to ensure notice of something like this), you have cancelled the contract (i.e. the bill of sale-which gave rise to a contract between you and the buyer) as a result of his failure to perform as required and let him know you desire return of the vehicle to x location by x date and time. You might want to also note that failure to return as requested may result in your notifying law enforcement of his theft of the vehicle (theft because he has no title to the vehicle since he did not satisfy his end of the bargain to gain title and because he has no authority to keep the car in light of your request for return of it (as the lawful owner) due to his breach) . You may only want to state this, however, if you believe there is a real possibility the buyer will not return the car (and if the buyer isn't your brother?). If the buyer knows there is a possibility he may face criminal action if the car is not returned as requested, such may motivate him to return the car if such was not initially his intent. I agree with the other attorney that you should also notify him of your intent to keep a portion of his deposit for his use of the car prior to its return to you IF you desire to be compensated for the time the buyer used it. Some folks are involved in a situation like this and they just don't want to do anything but get their property back. Others may feel they want their property back plus compensation plus whatever else they are due under the law. It's simply up to you what course you take, however, this is my opinion as to your options outside of the court process. If you believe you may be interested in pursuing a court related remedy, feel free to contact me. Best wishes.

Business topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics