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Do we have any legal rights if a car dealership is taking our car back, because of their mistake?

Chino Hills, CA |

Two weeks ago, we purchased a used 2006 Lexus Rx at a reputable Lexus car dealership. They called us yesterday informing us that we need to return the car. Apparently, there was a problem with the DMV paperwork and the previous owner. The title was never in the dealerships name, so I guess they sold us the car before all the paperwork cleared. It was a great deal, and we can't find a deal like this one anywhere. We put 5000 down, and have excellent credit. We signed all the proper paperwork, and became really attached to this car. We are so sad we have to return it, but we don't legally own it. Do we have any legal rights regarding the dealership, and them inconveniencing us this way? Thank you

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Attorney answers 3


You might have a case for breach of the sales agreement, depending on what the agreement says. Try to work it out with the dealer first, though, since they may go overboard to make sure you are a satisfied client.

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.


Yes. A dealer may not sell something it does not own. You are also entitled to the benefit of the bargain, ie, if you "got a deal" you should not lose out on the opportunity. Feel free to get in touch with my office as we handle auto dealership issues statewide. We will give you a no fee review.


With the sale of a vehicle comes a warranty of title. If the dealership failed to transfer good title to you, it breaches this warranty of title. Generally, you can cancel the transaction and recover the consideration you paid for the vehicle--the $5,000 downpayment.

If you want to keep the vehicle, you would need to compel the dealership to perfect the title for the vehicle. Depending on the status of the title, this may mean paying off any liens or removing any other encumbrances to the title.

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