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I bought a stolen car 2 years ago, they took my car. Dealership didnt know. What do I do now?

Denver, CO |

I bought a car 2 years ago from a dealership and it turned out to be stolen. Now their insurance doesnt want to give me any money because they dont see the dealerships fault (they could have checked the hidden vin in my accord, though). They have a title for the car, and I owned it for 2 years.... I want to get most of it back, the depreciated value should still give me some. Is there an easier way than to go to court?

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Attorney answers 2


You should contact Metro Volunteer Lawyers, this is a service provided by the Denver Bar Association. MVL recruits and coordinates volunteer lawyers to perform free and low-cost legal services for poor and near-poor persons who live and work in Adams, Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Elbert, Douglas, Jefferson, and Denver Counties. Call (303) 837-1313 or visit

The information provided to you in this answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation if you have further questions.


Generally, if you never get a valid title to a motor vehicle then you never really own it in most states. If you get a title that is not the "real" title because the vehicle was stolen, then you still never really owned it. When a car dealer signs a contract with you to sell you a specific car, it is generally no excuse that the dealer may not have known that it was a stolen car with a bad or "fake" title. If the dealer has not really given you a proper legal title, then the dealer has breached its contract of sale. Normally you would then have the right to recover your damages. With CarFax and all the other things out there nowadays, to say nothing for the car dealer's obligation to inspect a motor vehicle before selling it retail, it is difficult to believe that the dealer did not have some reason to be suspicious. But even if the dealer had no clue at all, that does not really matter under most state laws. Linda is right that the volunteer lawyers may be able to help you out since they know the law specific to your state. If the volunteer lawyers can't get your money back promptly, then you may want to consider talking to a private Consumer Law attorney near you. "Car Law" is a special area of the law that a general practicing attorney may not be fully aware of. You need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you or you can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers ( and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association for Consumer Law lawyers, But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please check the box below.