Santa Rosa, CA asked in Contracts and Gov & Administrative Law for California

Q: i sold a used vehicle to someone (private parties).

He won't put the car in his name although I did fill out the transfer paperwork (on my end, the owner) to CA DMV. I have the bill of sale, etc. What do i do?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, as the seller of a used vehicle, you have certain responsibilities and steps to take to protect yourself legally and financially. Here's what you should do:

1. Ensure you have completed and signed the "Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability" form, which is found on the back of the vehicle's title or can be downloaded from the California DMV website.

2. Submit the completed "Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability" form to the DMV within 5 days of the sale. You can do this online, by mail, or in person at a DMV office. This relieves you of liability for the vehicle after the sale date.

3. Keep copies of all paperwork related to the sale, including the bill of sale, the "Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability" form, and any other relevant documents.

4. If the buyer fails to transfer the title into their name, you may want to send them a reminder via certified mail, requesting that they complete the transfer promptly. Keep a copy of this letter for your records.

5. If the buyer still does not transfer the title and you continue to receive notices or bills related to the vehicle, contact the DMV for further guidance on how to proceed.

Remember, once you have submitted the "Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability" form to the DMV, you are no longer legally responsible for the vehicle, even if the buyer fails to transfer the title into their name. However, keeping thorough records and following up with the buyer can help prevent future issues.

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