Seattle, WA asked in Consumer Law and Contracts for Oregon

Q: Can someone return a private, as is, sale car after driving it over 400 miles?

Asking for my parents- They helped my brother by advertising and selling a used minivan for 2700 dollars. The woman who bought it test drove it and paid full price. She signed a bill of sale that said as is. Yesterday, a week after she bought the car she came at 9:00 at night to return the keys. My parents didn't want to answer the door that late so the buyer went to a neighbors house and gave them the keys and then took off. She had driven the car over 400 miles and broke the dip stick of the oil tank off. She is demanding her money back or she will take my parents to court. What are the legal rights of the seller?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA

A: Sorry to hear your folks are having this problem. Normally "as is" covers all problems, but there could be an exception, that is where the seller knows of a defect that cannot be readily detected. Why does the buyer want to return the car? As the seller, once the buyer took possession and drove it away, the deal was done. Did sellers keep copies of all paperwork and file the notification of transfer with the DMV? or did they just sit back and do nothing after the sale so the car is still registered to them? Did they go to the DMV office to see the transfer was completed?

Tell the seller the deal was completed and she cannot have her money back. Negotiate for a reduced return to her if she returns all the ownership documents and signs whatever the DMV requires to cancel the sale. Your local AAA office might be able to help you. If all this fails, just say "no" and wait for her to file suit.

Returning the keys is not a transfer of ownership.

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