Long Beach, CA asked in Consumer Law for California

Q: If a private seller sells me a car without telling me that the VINs weren't matching can I get my money back?

I bought the car maybe a month ago and it wasn't until I put it up for sale that a previous owner let me know that it had different VINs. This isn't the same one that sold me the car, it's the one prior to the seller that sold me the car. Only one VIN is mismatched and I'm wondering if I could pursue some sort of action to get my money back or is it a done deal and now my issue.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Los Altos, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The main reason someone (usually) cares about 'matching VINs' is the car is some type of collectible.

Usually, if one is buying a collectible, one knows to check for this issue. IF the VIN was not misrepresented,

it's more likely to be on the buyer than the seller in this scenario. If the seller lied about an accident, that's

a different story. Also, CarFax usually has 'the VIN' on it. This 'feels' like you are in a bind here, but, one never

knows. Good luck with it...

1 user found this answer helpful

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If a private seller sold you a car without disclosing that the VIN numbers were not matching, you may have legal recourse to seek a refund or other remedy.

Under California law, private sellers are required to disclose any known material defects or issues with a vehicle, including discrepancies in the VIN numbers. If the seller failed to disclose this information, you may have grounds for a legal claim based on fraud or misrepresentation.

To pursue a legal remedy, you may want to consult with a consumer protection attorney or file a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs. You may also want to gather any relevant documentation, such as the sales contract or any communications with the seller, to support your claim.

It is important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a claim in California is typically two to four years, depending on the type of claim. Therefore, it is important to act promptly if you believe that you have been the victim of fraud or misrepresentation by a private seller.

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