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Can I take a car back for non-payment?

Ellenville, NY |

I had a verbal agreement to sell a car to a person I know for weekly payments, no set amount. They stopped paying for a few weeks now and will not return my calls. I still have title in my name. Can I go and take it back?

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Attorney answers 2


Contact an attorney in your area for help. Normally when a vehicle is sold, the title is transfered, and a security interest in the car is held back to secure payment. Title is transfered for a number of reasons, the most important being that most people do not want an unrelated driver driving their car around. In your case, the car has not been transfered, and so the car is still yours from a title standpoint. However, the purchaser does have rights based on your oral contract, and an attorney can help untangle the situation.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Minnesota. Responses are based solely on Minnesota law unless stated otherwise.


It's your car. Do you have the keys? Sounds like the contract would not be enforceable by either of you. If you do not disturb the peace it sounds like you could get in it and drive away, but you may have trouble with the alleged owbner of the vehicle getting mad and calling the police. Since you are the only person on the title it sounds like they would have to go to civil court to sue you if they think hey have a claim. I would talk to an attorney before I tried self help, or at least let the police know hat you are contemplating before you do it.